Rural counties benefit in state budget

Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 11:58 AM.

The Florida Legislature adjourned Sine Die on Friday, May 2 concluding its normal business and passing a balanced state budget. On Monday, June 2, Gov. Rick Scott signed the largest budget in Florida history which contained significant education funding, investments in infrastructure, and also included $400 million in vehicle tag registration fee roll back.

In House District 7, we were able to secure funding for numerous water, infrastructure, and education projects while also protecting or increasing funding for fiscally constrained counties and our Rural Areas of Critical Economic Concern.

State Rep. Halsey Beshears (R-Monticello) and State Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee) working together brought home $134 million for their district. District 7 covers all of Calhoun, Franklin , Gulf, Jefferson, Lafayette , Liberty , Madison, Taylor, and Wakulla counties, and parts of Leon County .

 “I am very proud of the state dollars we were able to keep here in North Florida ,” said Beshears. “Certainly it can be challenging to advocate fiscally conservative ideals while also representing so many fiscally constrained rural counties. However, these infrastructure and education projects are critical and I believe our state government should invest in these areas.

“I sincerely believe it’s my responsibility to represent all of the residents in House District 7, to remain cognizant of every dollar spent, and to ensure we do not waste citizens hard earned dollars,” he said.

Of particular interest to Franklin County were the following projects: $16,950 for the Dixie Theatre Foundation, Inc.; $25,000 each to the City of Apalachicola and Franklin’s Promise Coalition, Inc.; $50,000 each to Vrooman Park, the historical rehabilitation of Carrabelle Old City Hall, and the re-roofing of Chapman Auditorium; $350,000 to the rehabilitation of Fort Coombs Armory; $497,000 to the City of Apalachicola for work on the Chapman School Building; $404,342 for the School Readiness Program; $127,539 for the Voluntary pre-Kindergarten program; $73,155 for Workforce Development; and $8 million for oyster shelling, best management practices, research, and upgrades to oyster processing facilities.

 “I will continue to do all I can to help House District 7 and protect our way of life here,” said Beshears. “I am honored and proud to represent Franklin County . Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to represent you.”

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