Governor Rick Scott left an appropriation for beach renourishments in the budget while scratching several projects to save money.
That caps several weeks of uncertainty whether the new governor would support beach renourishments. Before the budget was finalized, word got out that he would likely veto the appropriation, which goes toward several projects around the state, saying the state could not afford it. Manatee County Commissioners Carol Whitmore, John Chappie and Robyn Sabatini met with the governor in April, and they impressed upon him how renourished beaches support the state's tourist industry, which means jobs for residents. Scott was voted into office after making job creation a goal during his campaign. During their meeting, Scott told them to keep an eye on the appropriation as it makes its way to his desk, but he would not make any promises of whether he would support it.
Whitmore told The Sun she was very happy with the result.
"It was hard work, and we had to stay with it after our one-on-one with the governor," she said.
Another visitor to the governor during that meeting was Manatee County Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker.
"It was a long-awaited affirmation that sprang through the governor's office of the transitional value of the beaches to the state's economy as well as Manatee County's," Hunsicker said. "We realize we are very much a part of the Florida picture to the world, and the governor's office grabbed a hold of the big picture."
Hunsicker said it is a relief to know they can continue to plan for a huge renourishment of the Island's beach in 2015, one that would put the county on track to renourish the beaches on a regular basis. He said the money coming to Manatee County in this coming budget would be to take out permits and make plans for the 2015 renourishment. The state will eventually pay $6,219,400 of the $28.27 million renourishment, the same as the county, which will get its money from the tax on vacation room rentals.