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Rick Scott approves plan to hand out BP oil spill money

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Northwest Florida counties are going to finally get a share of money given to the state for damages related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed a bill (HB 7007) that guarantees the distribution of $300 million to eight counties hardest hit by the spill. In 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, leased by energy giant BP, killed 11 workers and caused a blow-out that began…

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After delay Florida will finally hand out oil spill money

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After keeping the money locked up for nearly a year, Florida legislators have finally agreed on a plan to hand out millions of dollars given the state for damages related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Florida Senate on Monday voted unanimously for a bill that would guarantee that $300 million be distributed to eight Panhandle counties hardest hit by the spill. The bill heads back to the Florida House, which is expected…

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Cross-Bay Ferry pilot project to end on April 30

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The Cross-Bay Ferry’s last trip from St. Petersburg to Tampa and back is scheduled for Sunday, April 30. The pilot project was always planned to last for just six months, and as that deadline approaches, the service has become increasingly popular. Ferry officials announced last week they had sold a record 7,990 tickets in March. That marked a 31-percent increase over its previous record, which ferry officials said was in February. The private partnership between HMS Ferries and St. Petersburg, Tampa,…

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Bob Buckhorn makes the pitch for a stormwater tax while presenting budget to City Council

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Although Bob Buckhorn has been known to quote Alicia Keys in saying that his city of Tampa is “on fire” when it comes to its economic development and overall dynamism, the Mayor was noticeably more sober in assessing the city’s economic future on Thursday. Buckhorn spent more than 75 minutes in front of the Tampa City Council to in presenting his fiscal year $904.9 million 2017 budget. He spent an exhaustive 40 minutes to elaborate all that is going on with the…

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St. Pete council agrees to spend millions to fix sewer problems

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In the wake of a tropical storm that saw St. Petersburg dump millions of gallons of partially treated wastewater into Tampa Bay, City Council members agreed Thursday on several initiatives designed to start replacing and repairing a deteriorated sewer system. But council members agreed repairs won’t come quickly enough to prevent another overflow. “We will be dealing with serious spill events over the summer, and we need to be straightforward about that,” council member Darden Rice said. The sooner something…

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Pinellas County asks for suggestions on spending $7.1 million in BP funds

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Pinellas residents have another chance to tell county commissioners how to spend $7.1 million in BP settlement money. The county has created a website, pinellascounty.org/BPideas, to gather ideas. The site, which will be available until the end of June, has a short survey for residents to fill out. In July 2015, the county accepted a settlement from BP of $7.1 million. The agreement represents a one-time revenue source. Once these funds are expended, there will not be any additional related…

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Here’s what to expect in St. Pete City Council’s bike share discussion

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The St. Petersburg City Council will likely set a date Thursday to decide whether to fund the first phase of a bike-share program in the city. At a council workshop, city staff is set to deliver a more than 60-page slideshow laying out how the program will work, how much it will cost, where bikes would be available, and benefits likely to be achieved. But don’t wait for the meeting to get those details. According to Evan Mory, the city’s…

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