Escambia County’s RESTORE Act Advisory Committee met Monday November 3rd to receive an update from Dewberry Consultants LLC on the preparation of the draft needs assessment for the Escambia County RESTORE Act planning process and proposed deadlines for steps leading to the adoption of project criteria. The meeting was chaired by Alan MacMillan, the Advisory Committee Vice Chairman in the absence of Chairman Bentina Terry. The draft needs assessment document had been circulated to the advisory committee and the public by email from the Escambia County Office of Environment and Community. There was a deadline for comments set for October 30th preparing for the November 3rd Advisory Committee meeting.
Upon review of the report there is an introduction that summarizes the process that includes the input from chambers of commerce, the Community Action Program, and the Center for Independent Living for Disabled Persons, Visit Pensacola, various programs of the University of West Florida, environmental programs, the NAACP, even independent citizens and many others. The recognition for these presentations is listed in the “References” section of the report validating the process that Dewberry utilized to determine the statements of need.
According to the consultants the needs assessment is basically a “comprehensive list of issues/challenges facing Escambia County which should be considered for holistic planning purposes”. It has been divided into four broad categories: environment, economy, infrastructure and social issues. However, Dewberry Consultants did distinguish that the social issues category, “represents issues that may not be eligible for RESTORE funding, but eligible for other sources of federal and state funding.”
The presentation by Mike Hanson, Dewberry’s Project Manager, moved next to a list of proposed deadlines for the activities leading to the adoption of RESTORE Act project criteria. Al Coby, former City of Pensacola City Manager, commented on the accelerated pace of the recommended steps moving toward an adoption of the project criteria. Coby felt that the initial schedule of activities needed a face-to-face meeting date for their committee members to review and discuss the criteria. After a brief discussion it was decided that the RESTORE Advisory Committee meetings in January and February will be dedicated to the review and discussion of the project funding criteria.
- December 1st Advisory Committee Meeting for Recommendation of Project Criteria
- December 18th Online Response by the Advisory Committee to the Project Criteria
- Jan. 5 & Feb. 2nd Advisory Committee Meetings for Project Criteria Discussion (Additional Meeting Dates Set for Review of Criteria)
- February 24th Adoption of Project Criteria by County Commissioners (TBD)
The committee is still taking comments from citizens. You can email them to RESTORE@myescambia.com