Bentina Terry, on Monday September 8th at 4:00 pm, will lead the discussion on the RESTORE Act funding of projects focused on the environment, workforce development, and infrastructure. The meeting will be held at the new Escambia County Central Office Complex at 3363 West Park Place off of East Fairfield Drive. Escambia County could receive an allocation from the federal government’s penalties on B. P. Oil in the range of $100,000,000 depending on the overall penalty determined by a federal judge in New Orleans in early 2015.
Terry, the Gulf Power Vice President of Customer Service and Sales, will put on her hat as the Chairperson of the Escambia County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee and convene the workshop in roundtable format. The change in location and format is to provide residents the opportunity to hear and become engaged in a dialogue with Dewberry Consultants LLC on the countywide strategic planning process that will determine the rules for receiving funds.
There will be an update on the interim U. S. Department Treasury Regulations governing the RESTORE Act process and the multi-year plan that the federal government requires. Keith Wilkins, the Escambia County Director of the Community Environment Department stated that he anticipates more meetings in the new format that will foster more conversation (rather than presentation) between the advisory committee, Dewberry consultants, and community residents.
A diverse coalition of minority, disabled, and underrepresented groups of Escambia County citizens led by City Councilwoman Sherri Myers will be present to continue their advocacy for fairness in the distribution of the funding. The loose knit group met for seven months to define their vision and make recommendations the funding criteria.
- Projects should benefit all citizens with an effort to increase access to traditionally under-represented residents and neighborhoods;
- The final projects submitted to the State should work collectively to leverage the overall impact of each and be presented as a “package” from the County;
- Every project recommended should address all three funding categories to a greater or lesser extent (i.e. economy, environment, and tourism);
- Workforce projects should be a collaborative effort among county, city, education, and business sector partners coordinated with other recommended projects for maximum community impact.