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

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

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 monies.

This is not the first time the county has asked residents for their thoughts on spending the money. Commissioners received more than 800 responses from a citizen engagement survey. Now they hope to get more defined ideas with this second survey.

Project ideas should be closely tied to these following guiding principles:

  • Funded projects should be aligned with the commission’s Doing Things Strategic Plan, and should be planned or funded by Dec. 31, 2017.
  • BP funds will be used for one-time-only expenditures that have a substantial and visible community impact.
  • Funded projects should support Pinellas’ economic and environmental sustainability, and/or create a sense of place.
  • Unincorporated area projects throughout the county will be given priority.
  • Use of county funding for projects within a city will require city participation.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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