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Government Digest

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  • | 6:51 p.m. April 9, 2009
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Gulf Coast roads
ready for $333 million

FLORIDA — With $105 million of road funding from the federal stimulus recommended for the Interstate 4-LeRoy Selmon Expressway connector in Hillsborough County, and $45 million for U.S. 19 in Pinellas County, Gulf Coast counties are slated to receive more than 25% of the federal funds intended for Florida for roads. The list of projects has been submitted to the state's Joint Legislative Budget Commission.

The 14-member commission is stacked with five Tampa Bay area legislators: Rep. Kevin Ambler, R-Tampa, Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, Senate President pro tempore Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey and Sen. Charlie Justice, D-St. Petersburg. Action by the commission is expected after April 15. The list will then be sent to the Federal Highway Administration for approval.

Other Gulf Coast counties funding recommendations for “shovel-ready” roads are: Charlotte ($3.3 million); Collier ($28.5 million); Lee ($66.1 million); Manatee ($15 million); Sarasota ($22.8 million); and Pasco ($26.7 million).
Charlotte, Collier, Lee, Manatee, Sarasota, and Pasco counties are also in line to receive funds for transit system improvements totaling $3 million. Lee County is to get the largest share — just more than $1 million for buses and bus shelters.

In addition, Gulf Coast counties could get $5 million of transportation enhancement funding, with Pinellas County getting the largest share. Pinellas is to receive $1.4 million for a multi-use trail project in Clearwater.

$39 million for
energy conservation

FLORIDA — Gulf Coast counties from Pasco to Collier will receive $38.7 million of the $168 million in federal economic stimulus funds to be allocated to Florida and its local governments through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program. The $3.2 billion federal program will provide grants to local governments, states, territories and Indian tribes for projects that reduce energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency.

Only Charlotte County is left out of the program. Manatee County is considering using the funds for upgrading water and wastewater pipes to solar energy, LED lighting, retrofitting chillers and generators, and reflective roof coverings.

The state government share of this federal stimulus funding is subject to appropriation by the Florida Legislature. For more information about Florida's use of the federal recovery dollars made available through the federal ARRA, go to

Plan submittals
done in a flash

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY — Hillsborough County's Planning & Growth Management Department has streamlined its process for receiving development plans. All plans and applications now will be submitted electronically on a flash drive.

The idea is to save time and ensure all of the information is provided the first time.

Developers or engineers can follow instructions to format a flash drive when they access the Web site and choose and upload the forms they need. They are then able to place their plan files directly onto the flash drive. The flash drive can then be submitted to the department with just seven sets or less of hard-copy plans instead of the 19 hard-copy plans and forms previously required.

Before the developer or engineer leaves the department, staff can review the submission on their computers to ensure everything is correct. Also, now one staff member guides each new project through its review and approval, instead of several staff handling a portion of a project.

Training sessions are planned for those who would be using the new system. Staff also will be providing instruction on how to use the PGM Store, an online tracking system on the department's Web site.

For more information, go to and click on the “Planning and Growth Management's New Electronic Plan Submission” link to access directions and the required forms and files to download. For additional help, call Planning & Growth Management at (813) 272-6309.

Local businesses needed
to stem foreclosures

PINELLAS COUNTY — The Pinellas County Housing Finance Authority is seeking professionals to participate in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The following residential services will be selected through a competitive process: remodeling contractors, landscape companies and a real estate agency. The program attempts to stabilize neighborhood housing values in the hardest hit areas of Pinellas by acquiring and rehabilitating foreclosed and abandoned homes and returning them to the resale market. To submit qualifications, or for more information, visit Pinellas County Community Development at


The Industrial Development Authority is holding its regular meeting Wednesday, April 15, at noon at the SunTrust Bank building at 18501 Murdock Circle, Suite 502. For more information, call Kathy Knee at (941) 627-3023.


Proposed changes to the Sarasota County Addressing ordinance will be explained by Sarasota County Chief Building Official Paul E. Radauskas Tuesday, April 14. The meeting will be held at the Sarasota County BOB Building, 1001 Sarasota Center Blvd. from 8:30-9:30 a.m. The ordinance applies to only to the unincorporated areas of Sarasota County. The municipalities may be subject to the same provisions of the ordinance should they adopt it. For more information contact Cheryl Swenney at [email protected]


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