The Bay County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee met in Panama City on May 13, 2014. The purpose of the Committee is to solicit public input, draft a plan, and set goals for Bay’s County’s use of funds received from the RESTORE Act. Tuesday’s meeting was the second time this committee has met since its creation in January, 2014. And there was one important part of the equation missing that day…an ample number of interested members of the public in the audience!
The Committee is striving to have a draft implementation plan ready to present to the Bay County Board of County Commissioners in July and is approaching that assignment in a thoughtful, deliberate manner. While many other counties are simply listing desired projects to be funded with a strategy to work out an implementation plan afterwards, Bay County knows the better approach is to devise the framework by which those projects will be chosen and establish a more cohesive approach to addressing the County’s needs. And besides that, the U.S. Treasury regulations will be requiring an implementation plan before any RESTORE Act funds can be spent.
To help in determining what priorities go into the plan, numerous “State of Bay County” presentations have been scheduled to give committee members an overview of the issues. At Tuesday’s meeting, the topics included the promotion of tourism and recreational fishing, the consumption of Gulf seafood and workforce development and job creation.
At the next meeting, scheduled for June 10, 2014, the presentation topics will focus on: the restoration and protection of natural resources, infrastructure benefitting ecological resources and coastal flood protection and related infrastructure.
If you live in the Bay County area, please plan to attend the June 10th meeting and lend your voice to the much needed support for environmental expenditures. This Committee needs to know what matters to the residents of Bay County and potential visitors to the County.
Gail Carmody is the environmental representative on the Committee and we know she would like nothing better than to look out in the audience at the next meeting and see every chair filled with people who understand the need to restore environmental damage from the oil spill if the economy is expected to have long term improvement.
Bay County Public Hearing
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Bay County Government Building
840 West 11th Street, Panama City