Gulf County Prepares for RESTORE Act Funds

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Members of the Gulf County RESTORE Committee are still trying to figure out how to best use money the county is getting as a part of the RESTORE Act. It's money being given by BP to help restore areas affected by the 2010 BP oil spill.

Members have a couple different factors to take into account though. Those factors include everything from where the money can go to rules on how it can be spent.

In today's meeting the committee discussed its proposal process which will give residents and business the opportunity to tell officials what matters to them and how they believe the money should be spent.

"I think that's the number one issue for the citizens of Gulf County," said Loretta Costin, member of the committee, "to make sure these dollars, since they really are a once in a lifetime opportunity to do some things that are really important in Gulf County."

However, there's one big problem: the rules for how projects are to be submitted haven't been established by the federal government, so representatives aren't sure of the criteria for how money can be spent.

"We have federal guidelines that are very ambiguous," said Bill WIlliams, Gulf County Commissioner and Chairman of the Gulf County RESTORE Committee. "They've identified 9 to 10 criterion points, but what we're trying to do is take that criterion like a workforce or tourism and link it to the strategic plan of the county."

The meetings are open to the public and take place every Tuesday at 11 am at the EOC building behind the Gulf County Courthouse.

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