Pensacola mayor wants a piece of Triumph pie

Mayor Ashton Hayward doesn’t want the Escambia Board of County Commissioners to be the sole body that decides how the county’s share of the BP oil spill settlement, also known as Triumph dollars, is spent locally, according to City Administrator Eric Olson.

At Monday’s Agenda Review, Olson told the Pensacola City Council that the mayor has proposed cities be included directly in any distribution of funds. He said, “That is what we’re pressing for in Tallahassee.”

The mayor has sent letters to House Speaker Richard Corcoran and members of our legislative delegation asking them to consider it. Olson said the mayor has been working to get the City of Pensacola inserted in the legislation being considered by the House Select Committee on the Triumph Gulf Coast.

“… you all know the difficulty we have with RESTORE, that we now have to go to the county if we want some of these funds,” said Olson. “So, we missed out on leveraging opportunities. We can’t pledge it as a match for another grant, so we would really like to have that some guarantee that we’re getting some of that money.”

He added, “And remember there’s $400 million in the bank; $300 million would go to the eight counties. That means $75 million is in the bank (for) Escambia County if we went by the formula used for RESTORE…Our mantra is we want to make sure we get our fair share of the money.”

To date, all BP funds directed to the impacted counties has been handled at the county-level.

Mayor Hayward suggested in his Feb. 14 letter to Speaker Corcoran that the formula used to allocate local option sale taxes be used with the Triumph dollars. He wrote, “Regardless of the final distribution formula, the point I want to stress is that cities must be guaranteed a seat at the table.”

Inweekly obtained a copy of the letter to Rep. Corcoran – LTR_Triumph Fund_Mayor_to_Corcoran.


4 thoughts on “Pensacola mayor wants a piece of Triumph pie

  1. Exactly, Keith Wilkins has probably already told them this also. However, the Mayor is ALWAYS “short” when it comes to doing the prerequisite work needed to succeed in his efforts at economic development. Consequently, he is constantly trying to use “political influence” to accomplish good governance. However, he hasn’t realized he blew his “political influence” when he tried to go after Collier Merrill. Now the Mayor wants to use “influence” in Tallahassee, where Collier has been a major donor and fundraiser for the FL GOP for more than a decade- you do the math.

  2. The comical part of this: there is someone now working at the mayor’s office who helped facilitate the RESTORE allocation review for our county who can explain why the city won’t get a direct allocation, the city appointed the eventual Chair person for the RESTORE committee and had city residents serving on the committee and the city has projects that were reviewed by that committee for allocation of funds.

    It sounds like they are upset that they don’t get a lump sum of money they can arbitrarily spend, most likely to make up for the short-comings in their budgetary planning for the city’s projects in the future.

  3. If anyone cares to hear from and about Speaker Corcoran firsthand, he will speak to the Panhandle Tiger Bay Club on Friday, March 17th. Following his remarks, Speaker Corcoran will also answer direct questions from the audience. We fully expect Speaker Corcoran to address Triumph Gulf Coast and other regional economic issues.

    Please see Panhandle Tiger Bay Club’s website for more information:

  4. Obviously, Olson nor the Mayor has ACTUALLY read the RESTORE Act. Clearly, that FEDERAL legislation hasn’t made provisions for the City to receive the “direct component” portion of RESTORE funding. Maybe if the Mayor had worked with Grover and have participated in the “funding allocation process” from the beginning (like Grover Robinson, who led the local efforts to secure the funding) he would have a secured a Pensacola allocation for this funding.

    Clearly, the Mayor and Olson have a very poor record for prudent fiscal management or fiduciary transparency and this will discredit their “too little, too late” lobbying efforts. Also, if two years ago he would have had “something to present” to the State, Triumph and RESTORE committees and committed resources and staffing in planning for RESTORE as was required, he would have had a direct allocation., instead the Mayor spent his time and resources trying to screw Merrill and Russenberger.

    As usual, Ashton is a dollar short and a day late, trying to “politic” his way into some funding instead of “putting in the needed work to qualify.”

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