Preparing for RESTORE

County commissioners Grover Robinson and Gene Valentino reported to the board this morning on their venture to the Florida Association of Counties meeting last week. One topic of discussion during the Panama City Beach meeting was the money stemming from the RESTORE Act and fines derived from BP due to the company’s 2010 oil spill.

The RESTORE Act will send 80 percent of the eventual total of the Clean Water Act fines collected from BP to be sent to the Gulf Coast. Each state will see a share.

Florida has designated 75 percent of its share to go towards counties most impacted by the spill, a list Escambia tops. The remaining 25 percent is still being figured out.

Robinson reported that county officials discussed how to distribute the portion of money designated to go to Florida during the recent FAC meeting. Valentino said it was a “good briefing on the buckets of cash that will be coming forward.”

Commission Chairman Wilson Robertson told the board that he thought some of the RESTORE Act money heading to Escambia should be used to for road work in the north of the county—“since y’all brought up those pots of money.”

“I don’t think you could find a better economic development than that infrastructure up there,” Robertson said.

In September, the county commission will be further considering criteria for spending RESTORE money. The board will be putting together a committee to explore the issue.