Clay County commissioners discuss top priorities ahead of Florida legislative session

Julie Morgan
Photo byClay County

The 2023 Florida legislative regular session convenes Tuesday, March 7, and continues through Friday, May 5.

The Clay County Board of County Commissioners met ahead of the session to discuss its top priorities. If you remember, the Clay County legislative delegation met with key county stakeholders before the start of the new year in December.

The county has identified six priorities for legislative appropriations projects. Four of the five commissioners met last week along with key staff members to hash out the list.

  1. SWEAT Program - $250,000
  2. Fire Station #20 Construction - $750,000
  3. Substance Abuse Recovery Center - $1,000,000
  4. Regional Sports Complex Construction - $1,000,000
  5. NE FL Greenway Trail - $1,000,000
  6. County Warehouse Facility - $750,000

When they met last week, they discussed several items on their radar, such as trails and parks, infrastructure including roads, jail capacity, and a substance abuse facility, to name a few.

One large ticket item mentioned by fire rescue, number 2 on the list, was to request appropriation to build a new fire station. Acting Fire Chief David Motes said they were set to receive $750,000 toward the cost of a new station, but when COVID hit, the money disappeared.

"We have a lot of facilities to build. The cost of those facilities is increasing dramatically. We still have to build them," said Motes.

Recently the board was updated on the progress of the regional sports complex, number four on the list, and a prospective tourism driver. Kimberly Morgan, the county's director of tourism and film development, didn't ask for money specifically but requested that her department's money be shielded from rumored changes.

"It's definitely important that we protect the TDT (Tourism Development Tax) and the way it's used," said Morgan. She's concerned that some counties are pushing to broaden the use of those tax dollars for things like infrastructure projects. She says Clay County, a burgeoning tourist area, will suffer if that happens.

The board meets Tuesday, January 24, for its regular meeting. One item on the agenda is to approve the list above or make changes.

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