A 13-member RESTORE Council has been approved by the county commission.
At the Jan. 2 meeting, Director of Administrative Services Alan Pierce proposed a structure for the much debated RESTORE Council that was unanimously approved with some changes.
The board will consist of a nonvoting chairman, to be appointed by the county commission and representatives of the cities of Apalachicola and Carrabelle, the school board, the Tourist Development Council (TDC), the seafood dealers and seafood workers associations, the Realtors Association and one environmental group. In addition, each county district will have one representative appointed by its commissioner.
Pierce said he tried to factor in economic influences when suggesting a structure for the proposed council
The RESTORE Council will vet projects within the county, but under this plan, the county commission has the ultimate say in who receives funding.
The RESTORE Act does not outline a process for what happens after money reaches Florida’s affected counties, but the Florida Association of Counties has suggested the creation of these RESTORE councils to decide where to spend the local funds, a suggestion echoed by U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland during a recent private meeting with some local officials.
Neither Apalachicola nor Carrabelle has named a representative to the council and both held Tuesday night meetings to discuss whether they would choose to participate.
Paul Parker has been chosen to represent the TDC. Newly elected school board member Pam Shiver will represent the schools. Franklin County Seafood Workers Association President Shannon Hartsfield will speak for the association. The Seafood Dealers Association has chosen Lynn Martina as spokesperson. Mr. Rick Watson will represent the realtors’ association.
Pierce said he received four applications to represent an environmental group, including Robin Vroegop, Leslie Cox and Riverkeeper Dan Tonsmeire. Tonsmeire was chosen as the environmental representative at the Jan. 15 meeting of the county commission with Robin Vroegop picked as a nonvoting alternative. At the same meeting Commissioner William Massey announced Carrabelle City commissioner Cal Allen would represent his district on the council. Noah Lockley tapped local activist Carol Barfield for his position.
During the discussion, Pierce outlined RESTORE Councils appointed in the other seven most impacted counties. Okaloosa, Walton and Bay have not created councils.
Gulf County has the largest RESTORE Council with 15 members. Five were appointed by county commissioners including one commission member and four commission staff members. The TDC, Chamber of Commerce/Economic Development Council (EDC), Gulf Coast State College and the Gulf Coast Workforce Board each have a representative. Wewahitchka and Port St. Joe each have a member and the construction and fishing industries as well as local environmental groups have a seat on the council.
Wakulla has a 13 member council. The county commission, chamber of commerce, TDC, EDC, school board and Tallahassee Community College are represented. Panacea Waterfronts and each of the county’s three unincorporated communities has a seat. There are natural resource and fishing industry representatives and one at large member with a finance background.
Santa Rosa County’s 11 member board has one representative from each of the county’s five districts and one representative from each of the three incorporated cities. The Navarre Beach Chamber of Commerce sits on the board along with the chairman of the county commission and one other county board member.
Escambia County has a seven member council. The City of Pensacola is represented and there are members designated as financial, government experience, environmental, economic development and business leader along with one at large member.