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Government Digest

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  • | 9:13 p.m. March 26, 2009
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State stimulus dollars
tracked online

TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Charlie Crist recently announced a state Web site,, that allows citizens to review state and local governments' use of federal funds coming to Florida as a result of the federal stimulus bill.

The Web site is a clearinghouse of all public records and documents related to federal stimulus dollars, as well as a one-stop resource for learning more about assistance made available by the federal bill. The site connects to information about programs such as unemployment compensation, workforce training, food stamps and cash assistance.

Florida's share of the federal stimulus package is estimated to be more than $13 billion over three budget years. Crist has proposed using $4.7 billion of the funds for the 2009-10 budget.

A total of $1.4 billion will be spent throughout the state on highway and transportation projects, and $126 million will be spent on programs to promote energy efficiency. Another $165 million are programmed for workforce employment and training programs. As reported by the White House, the stimulus package is expected to create or retain 206,000 jobs statewide.

The first federal stimulus dollars coming to Florida pay for unemployment compensation benefits. On Feb. 20, Crist signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to increase weekly benefits $25 per week. That means the state will get $345 million during 2009, but it also obligates the state to keep the level higher.

St. Petersburg's
quick recovery plan

ST. PETERSBURG — St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker has revealed a quick-action plan to apply for and administer money generated from the federal stimulus. A key component is a new Web site that allows staff and community partners to research grant opportunities and track the city's progress in obtaining and administering them. For details, visit

Pinellas County approves land use categories
PINELLAS COUNTY — The County Commission passed a package of amendments to the county's comprehensive plan March 17. One of the nine ordinances affects Brooker Creek Preserve and created two new resource management overlay categories on the future land use map that allows potable water supply facilities.

The ordinance revisions were based on the commission recognizing that the environmental integrity of Brooker Creek Preserve should be balanced with the ability of Pinellas County Utilities and Tampa Bay Water to use lands they acquired to help meet Pinellas County's water supply needs. The change is the creation of two new resource management overlay future land use map categories (RMO-1 and RMO-2). The RMO-1 designation allows wellfields, below-ground structures and minor above-ground structures to provide water. The RMO-2 category allows vertical structures, including a reservoir. Any of these vertical structures would have to be approved by the commission at a public hearing after two public meetings.

Another ordinance incorporates approximately 784 acres of the recently purchased 878-acre Wilde property into the Brooker Creek Preserve boundary. The remaining land is designated for recreational purposes.

Business with government seminar available online
MANATEE COUNTY — The video from a Feb. 20 seminar designed to help local organizations do more business with government entities in the Manatee area is now online. The two-hour event also promotes a “Buy Local” program. The video from the seminar was created by Manatee Educational Television. Due to the size of the file, it has been split into two parts. For more information contact Carey Miller at (941) 748-4842, ext. 113.

Sarasota hires
redevelopment manager

SARASOTA — Lorna Alston is the new general manager of the North Sarasota Redevelopment Division. Her primary responsibility will be overseeing the development of strategies to attract and retain businesses in North Sarasota, a low-income, economically depressed area of the city.

Alston currently works for the City of Tampa coordinating the East Tampa Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), the second largest CRA in the nation. For the past four years, she has overseen all economic and redevelopment activities. Alston has more than 15 years of banking experience dealing with credit analysis, and loan risk management.


Lean, Efficient, Accountable Pasco, known as LEAP, is hosting a meeting for Growth Management and Economic Development Stakeholders on April 1 from 7-9 p.m. at Pasco-Hernando Community College West in the Performing Arts Building Auditorium, 10230 Ridge Road, New Port Richey. For more information go to

Hillsborough County's Tourist Development Council will meet at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 2 for its request-for-funding application review and selection workshop for the Tourist Development Tax FY2010-2011 funding cycle. The meeting will be held in Conference Rooms A and B on the 26th Floor of County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., in downtown Tampa. For more information, contact Marilyn Hett, Economic Development, at [email protected] or call (813) 272-6212.


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