Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Pinellas commissioners turn to staff to evaluate ideas for BP money

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

After two surveys and a two-hour workshop spent listening to ideas on spending $7.1 million in BP settlement money, Pinellas commissioners turned everything over to the county staff.

Once staff members have evaluated the ideas, they’ll bring everything back to commissioners. But it won’t happen before July 19. That’s when commissioners are scheduled to get the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year and staff is tied up with those preparations.

Charlie Justice
Charlie Justice

“At some point, we will have to start whittling them down,” Commissioner Charlie Justice said.

Justice was speaking at the end of a workshop Tuesday designed for residents to present their ideas and make their cases for pet projects.

Among those: a charging station for electric buses, dredging of the Anclote River, seed money for the Solar Energy Loan Fund, help for kids who are aging out of foster care and funds to help build a “fire education station” in the Palm Harbor area.

The $7.1 million in BP settlement money arose from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Pinellas County and other local governments filed suit against BP for damages sustained from the spill. The $7.1 million was the county’s share of the settlement after taxes and attorneys’ fees were deducted.

Because the money is from a one-time source, commissioners wanted to do something special and lasting with it. They asked Pinellas residents for their ideas. The first time they asked, more than 800 people responded with general ideas. Then, they went back to residents for more concrete ideas and more than 300 responded.

Bob Matthews
Bob Matthews

“It’s a challenge for you,” Seminole commissioner Bob Matthews said. Matthews was at the workshop to plead for funds for water park, crosswalks at 102nd Avenue N and 113th Street, and help preserving the water tower at the intersection of Park Boulevard and 113th Street.

Latest from The Bay and the 'Burg

Go to Top