At the Dec. 19 meeting of the Franklin County commission, Restore liaison Alan Pierce told the board he attended the Dec. 8 Triumph board meeting in Panama City.
He said the Triumph board has hired Dr. Rick Harper as its economic advisor and is seeking administrative staff to review pre-applications, but so far none of the proposed projects has been evaluated.
He said 122 pre-applications are currently in the Triumph system.
At the end of the Dec. 8 meeting, all of the Triumph board members gave short statements regarding the criteria they each think will be important in reviewing the pre-applications. Pierce said there was a great deal of agreement concerning criteria for a successful proposal.
Triumph proposals should not involve repairing infrastructure that should been maintained, or funding projects normally funded from other sources.
Grant seekers should provide matching funds so that Triumph is a partner and not a “cash cow.”
Proposals must show the project has long-term sustainability and will benefit the community in the future.
Successful projects should promote better paying jobs than are available in the community, and broaden the community’s economic base. Expanding the tourist base is not considered diversification, Pierce said.
A successful project will have benchmarks for job creation and if those benchmarks are not met, then Triumph will exercise its “clawback” ability and request funds be returned through the redemption of performance bonds or personal guarantees.
Pierce said Kim Wilmes, executive director of Florida’s Great Northwest, is putting together a pre-application for some $15 million of Triumph funds to be available for property tax abatement for successful businesses wanting to relocate to the eight counties. If Triumph awards FGNW with funds, then each of the eight counties in Triumph will have an opportunity to decide if they want to participate.
Pierce said the Triumph meeting planned for Apalachicola has been postponed until either Jan. 29 or 30, with the exact date not yet announced.