June 3, 2022 by David Silverberg
Updated June 4, with addition of Sanibel, Venice, Charlotte County Utilities and new totals
On Thursday, June 2, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) vetoed $7.825 million for projects in Southwest Florida communities.
The vetoes were part of an overall line-item cut that sliced $3.1 billion from the $109.9 billion state budget that takes effect on July 1 for the next fiscal year. The budget was the product of extensive legislative work and negotiation. (The full list of vetoes can be seen here.)
Of all of Southwest Florida’s communities, Cape Coral lost the most with $1.625 million in cuts. Those cuts were:
- $1,000,000 for North Wellfield Expansion, a project to improve water treatment;
- $375,000 for a Tactical Intelligence and Analytics Center to improve police response times and fight crime;
- $250,000 for boardwalk replacement at the Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve along the shore of the Caloosahatchee River, so residents can enjoy the wild local environment.
Fort Myers Beach lost $1 million for Times Square renovation, a project to improve and upgrade the town’s prime gathering place, commercial center and tourist attraction.
Marco Island lost $1.5 million for the Marco Island South Water Treatment Plant West High Service Pump Station, which processes brackish well water into potable water for residents.
Bonita Springs lost $750,000 for Phase 2 of the Bonita Springs Community Park Baseball Complex, which builds on prior upgrades to landscaping, storm water management and pedestrian access.
Sanibel Island lost $100,000 for slough dredging and muck removal.
Venice lost $850,000 for a water treatment plant 2nd stage membrane phase 1.
Charlotte County Utilities lost $2 million for improving communications and cybersecurity.
Another regional recipient was not tied to a specific community: Fakahatchee Strand State Park lost a $3 million appropriation.
Some $350 million was taken from appropriations for unspecified grants and aids to local governments for water quality improvements and Everglades restoration.
The region may also feel indirect impacts from a $750,000 cut to training for the Florida Association of District School Superintendents and a $250,000 cut for teacher retention.
When DeSantis unveiled the vetoes at a press conference at The Villages, a retirement community northwest of Orlando, he did so in front of the Republican House and Senate leaders who had constructed the initial budget. He told them “that’s just the way it goes” as they applauded his vetoes of projects for the communities they represent.
Liberty lives in light
© 2022 by David Silverberg