Which local projects in the state budget will survive? It’s up to Gov. Scott’s veto

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When the largest state budget in Florida history crosses Gov. Rick Scott’s desk, he is expected to use his line-item veto power, as he has in past years, to trim spending by up to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Scott’s pen is the final hurdle for hundreds of local projects sponsored by lawmakers for constituents back home — but it is a high hurdle to vault. The governor has slashed more money from the budget — about $2.3 billion in line-item spending, not counting last year’s school budget — than any other Florida chief executive, calling much of that spending unnecessary or wasteful.

Many of those local projects are standard municipal fare, including money for water and sewer projects, housing, transit, emergencies, and local cultural and educational projects. They are also a fraction of the projects proposed by legislators every year during session — others never even make it into the state budget, blocked by legislative leaders who have final negotiating power on its contents before it is sent to the governor.

That was especially true this year because of the additional money needed for a variety of last-minute expenses, not least of which was the state’s $400 million response to the Parkland shooting. The projects that made it in this year, in large part, were those sponsored by lawmakers who supported the narrowly passed Parkland bill in the final days of session.

“It could have been a lot worse as to the budget,” said Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, who headed the Miami-Dade delegation. “I think everyone [in the delegation] had a good showing.”

Among this year’s projects for South Florida: $2.1 million for senior housing in Hialeah, more than $8 million for the free-to-attend SEED School of Miami for low-income students and a spate of water and drainage projects from Miami Lakes to North Miami. Smaller projects made it in too: $45,000 for fixing HVAC units at WPBT-TV in Miami and even $150,000 for a cattle call — the Miami International Agricultural, Horse and Cattle Show — though the latter was vetoed last year.

Monroe County, in particular, landed several local projects aimed at further recovery, from the damage Hurricane Irma wrought last fall. Legislators agreed to nearly $6 million for its new emergency operations center, $15 million in affordable housing and $5 million for sewage and water projects across the Keys.

“I got a very fair amount considering our state’s priorities and the priorities of [my district],” said Rep. Holly Raschein, who represents the Keys. “Given a perfect world, we’d be in a different situation right now, but that’s not what we’re dealing with.”

Raschein said she had requested $15 million for the emergency center, though it was knocked down to $5.9 million in the final state budget. “There are other sources of funding we can complete that with,” she said.

Just because they’ve made it into this year’s budget isn’t a guarantee — though funding for Irma-related expenses, a stated priority of Scott’s, is likelier to escape a veto. Projects in this year’s package have been included in past budgets and rejected.

Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, whose district includes economically distressed neighborhoods in South Broward County, got $650,000 in the budget for 42 pedestrian street lights on the east side of U.S. 441/State Road 7, as requested for the last two years.

Jones said the state Department of Transportation put in lights on the west side, which borders Miramar, but not on the east side in his hometown of West Park.

“How can you put lights on one side of the street and not the other?” Jones asked. “There’s no equity in how dollars are given.”

Jones said the project, which benefits a predominantly African-American community, has been vetoed repeatedly, but he’ll keep asking for it.

Miami-Dade projects

These tables include a selection of programs or projects receiving funding in the 2018-19 state budget.

Project description

City or agency

Amount

HVAC repairs at WPBT-TV, Miami

Miami

$45,000

Lighthouse for the Blind

Miami

$150,000

Biscayne Park infrastructure

Miami

$400,000

Biscayne Green

Miami

$1,000,000

SEED School of Miami

Opa-locka

$8,173,678

Holocaust Memorial

Miami Beach

$333,499, plus $66,501 in recurring base appropriations

Homeless Trust

Miami-Dade County

$250,000

Agape Village community health and residential treatment facility

Miami

$500,000

Community Smiles, partnering with the Miami Children’s pediatric dental residency program

Miami Children’s Hospital

$283,643

Fire station

Sweetwater

$200,000

State Road 826/N.E. 163rd Street Improvements

North Miami Beach

$1,000,000

Multi-modal transit station

Palmetto Bay

$328,912

Opa-locka Airport service center

Opa-locka

$2,500,000

Master force main installation

North Miami Beach

$400,000

Arch Creek north/south drainage improvements

North Miami

$496,750

West drainage improvements Phase 3

Miami Lakes

$500,000

Royal Oaks drainage improvements

Miami Lakes

$500,000

North Beach business incubator

Miami Beach

$200,000

96th Street drainage improvements

Medley

$500,000

Activities & nutrition center

Little Havana

$100,000

Senior Center – Jewish Community

Services of South Florida

Miami Beach

$158,367

Canal bank stabilization Year 7

Doral

$950,000

Cuban-American Bar Association

$200,000

Fire station at Cartagena Park

Coral Gables

$1,500,000

Emergency operations center

Coral Gables

$1,500,000

Village infrastructure improvements

Bal Harbour

$500,000

NE 183rd Street seawall restoration

Aventura

$200,000

Alonzo Mourning Family Foundation

Miami

$500,000

Homebound meals for at-risk elderly

Allapattah

$361,543

Miami Military Museum and Memorial Education Center

$800,000

Miami Beach coastal flooding hazard research project

FIU

$327,227

Fire-Rescue Department mobile command vehicle

Miami

$400,000

Casa Familia housing for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Miami

$250,000

Design district infrastructure improvements

Miami

$500,000

Improvements to city-owned elderly housing buildings

Hialeah

$2,100,000

International Agriculture, Horse and Cattle Show for promotional activities

Miami

$150,000

Voices for Children Foundation

Miami-Dade

$100,000

Miami Project to Cure Paralysis

$1,000,000

Florida Stroke Registry

UM Miller School of Medicine

$500,000

Citrus Health Network

Miami-Dade

$750,000

Institute for Child and Family Health

Miami-Dade

$750,000

Adults with Disabilities Program

Miami-Dade

$1,125,208

Jackson Memorial Hospital for the South Florida AIDS Network

Miami

$719,989

Engineering building

FIU

$10,641,537

Jewish Community Center

North Miami

$39,468

St. Ann’s Nursing Center

Miami

$65,084

Broward projects

Project description

City or agency

Amount

Emergency Operations Center

Dania Beach

$100,000

Lauren’s Kids

$1,500,000

Fire Station No. 58 Replacement

Margate

$1,000,000

Sewer piping rehabilitation project

Margate

$500,000

Memorial Healthcare all hazards response & recovery

$1,000,000

Natalie’s Cove at Flamingo Gardens

Cooper City

$500,000

Pompano Beach Blount Road streetscape improvements

Pompano Beach

$250,000

Green Meadows drainage project

Southwest Ranches

$500,000

Emergency lift station

Sunrise

$734,764

Commercial Boulevard gateway improvements

Tamarac

$500,000

Urban League

Broward County

$2,437,835

Urban League Regional Entrepreneurship Center

Broward County

$710,000

African-American Memorial Park

Deerfield Beach

$400,000

West Park pedestrian lights on 441/SR 7

West Park

$650,000

Austin Hepburn Senior Mini Center

Hallandale Beach

$82,080

South Florida Holocaust Museum permanent exhibition

Dania Beach

$500,000

Lippman Senior Center

Hollywood

$228,000

Monroe projects

Project description

City or agency

Amount

Association for ReMARcable Citizens

Monroe County

$100,000

Mobile vessel pumpout program funding

Monroe County

$277,650

Sewage and water projects

Islamorada, Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District, Marathon, Monroe County/Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, Key West, and Key Colony Beach

$5,000,000

Emergency Operations & Public Safety Center

Monroe County

$5,900,000

Building moderate income housing

Florida Keys

$15,000,000

Keys Area Health Education Center

Florida Keys

$250,000

Florida Keys Community College — Key West Collegiate Academy classroom & storm shelter

Florida Keys

$5,000,000

Florida Keys Community College Hurricane Gap Funding

Florida Keys

$250,000

Temporary modular hospital at Fishermen’s Community Hospital

$500,000

Herald/Times research


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