Dear CFO Sink:
I look forward to talking with you today at 3:00 pm EST. In advance of our phone conversation I would like to talk with you about the advertising dollars provided by BP. I would like to propose a fair and less arbitrary and political structure for the distributing those monies to TDCs. I provided an initial proposal to Senator Gaetz over the weekend in hopes of providing some fair mechanism.
However, with that said, it is vitally important that some of that money be distributed now as we continue to operate under this environmental stain. Our hoteliers and tourist providers are not receiving reservations for the summer, which is our peak season. We need advertising as quickly as possible to let our tourist know that we are still open and available as a tourist destination.
As for a fair proposal, I propose the following. Of the $25-million the State received for advertising, nearly a quarter goes to the first declared disaster area which still lives under the greatest and most imminent threat. That declared area would be the six westernmost coastal counties of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay and Gulf. In an effort to ensure that each community receives something, half of the $6-million ($3-million) should be equally split between the six counties. The remaining $3-million should be distributed based on each county’s percentage of gulf front coastline.
In other words the total coastline from the Florida-Alabama state line to the county line between Franklin and Gulf should be the denominator and the numerator would be each county’s miles of gulf front. If you take the numerator and the denominator you get a percentage which is then multiplied by the $3-million for that county’s portion of the coast line. All numbers would be definitive figures which could not be manipulated politically. It would also ensure that each county would get something while those counties with more to spend would receive more allocation.
My greatest fear at this time is that decisions will be made politically which is not fair for those communities and the way they are affected. I also would like to stress that this plan forces regions to work together. You may stipulate that a portion of the funding going into a regional advertising for that region.
Please review and I look forward to discussing with you this afternoon. Thank you for your time, assistance and leadership.
Grover C. Robinson, IV
Escambia County Commissioner