The highly anticipated 2018 State of Florida Budget was signed by Governor Rick Scott on June 2, but not before a comprehensive list of line item vetoes totally $409 million. The nine pages of line item vetoes include the City of Gulfport's request for $127,000 for the innovative "Private Lateral Sewer Lines -- City Replacement Program" for Gulfport homeowners. I was excited to see that our request made it through both the Florida House and Senate, placed into the budget on our behalf by Florida Senator Darryl Rouson (who represents the City of Gulfport in Tallahassee). As you may know, the Legislature submitted a budget to Governor Scott that did not provide sufficient appropriations for programs such as Visit Florida, the Florida Job Growth Grant Program and increases to Public School Funding. Therefore, the state budget compromise between the Legislature and the Governor was to fund the Governor's programs with monies from local programs via line item vetoes.
Although we are a disappointed, Senator Rouson personally called me to tell me what was happening with out $127,000 budget line item. More importantly, his commitment to re-introduce our request and proposal (I will again seek City Council consensus) as early as this fall when the Legislature convenes for early 2018-2019 legislative planning.
The good news is that we already have a potential back-up plan to move our residential lateral lines replacement program forward. The details and the budget are in preliminary stages. I will report later when we know if we are good to move forward with the project. Please see link below for greater details on how a residential lateral program works, why we would want to offer this to Gulfport residents, etc.
I have been championing this program at City Council meetings, have discussed with various members of the Pinellas County State Delegation, have also discussed it with the DEP (Regional Director) and am working closely with our City Manager. He has done a great job in preparing the materials submitted to the state. I am committed to see a residential lateral sewer line program here in Gulfport. Again, see link below for more details.