Gov. DeSantis nixes Southwest Florida projects, but will environmental trust bring some back?
From Dona Bay to Bonita Springs, budget slashes impacted the region.
Several Southwest Florida projects fell to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ veto pen. But there’s still hope state grants can fill in those losses, lawmakers believe.
Sarasota County saw quite a few water-related projects slashed. The most notable included $750,000 for a water booster station in Venice and $500,000 for the Dona Bay Watershed Restoration Project’s third phase.
But Sen. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican, said the vetoes were “somewhat expected.” He references a new structuring of trust funds this year that should make available significant environmental funding.
“With the creation of the new Trust Fund, these projects will be able to apply immediately for a DEP grant and I will work with them to help them through the process,” he said. “The funding is there and these are worthwhile projects, so I expect them to get the funding that they require.”
Other projects vetoed include $61,913 for a Longboat Key assessment of sea level rise and recurring storm flooding.
The City of Venice was also expecting $286,676 slashed by DeSantis.
Further south in Lee County, the Governor also killed $300,000 worth of funding for a home election and buyout program. Rep. Adam Botana called that outcome “disappointing for my hometown.” But ultimately, the Bonita Springs Republican said Florida is a fiscally responsible state, and restraint was part of why Florida dealt with $1 billion shortfalls this year and not $6 billion shortfalls.