By Jessie R. Box
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Governor Rick Scott signed the largest budget in Florida history of $77.1 billion, on Monday, June 2, which contained significant education funding, investments in infrastructure and included $400 million in vehicle tag registration fee roll back.
As District 7 Representative Halsey Beshears tells it, he and Senator Bill Montford together were able to bring home a combined $134 million for their respective districts. District 7 covers all of Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Jefferson, Lafayette, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla Counties and parts of Leon County.
“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,” Beshears emailed Madison County
Of that $134 million, Madison County will receive $28,548,615.
Madison County projects that Beshears says were funded, and the amounts that each received were: $7,600,000 for the Madison County High School renovation project; $7,273,808 for North Florida Community College, which is funding for operations from the College Program Fund; $50,000 for Cherry Lake Beach, which is a Florida Recreational Development Assistance Program grant that goes through Department of Environmental Protection; $52,833 for Performance Adjustment to School Districts, this is described as a bonus for school districts that followed the legislature’s direction in the 2013-14 budget and provided teacher salary increases from the $480 million provided for teacher salary increases based on performance; $1,217,161 for the School Readiness Program, an after-school program run by Early Learning Coalition for families that are on some form of government assistance; $264,166 for the Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program, also ran by Early Learning Coalition; $70,155 for Workforce Development; and $12,020,492 for road improvements and resurfacing as part of the five-year DOT Comprehensive Plan.
“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.”