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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pinellas County wants to hear from you on how to spend $7.1 million of BP settlement money



Pinellas County officials are asking for public input on what to do with $7.1 million of BP oil spill settlement money.

The online feedback form, available here until April 29, has several questions mainly dealing with where the money should be concentrated and whether it should go toward one big project or a bunch of smaller ones.

County commissioners met this month to brainstorm what to spend the money on. Some ideas that came up were helping Clearwater build gondolas to fly passengers over the Intracoastal to Clearwater Beach, contributing to a high-speed ferry connecting St. Petersburg and Tampa, and supporting fledgling businesses through the Tampa Bay Black Businesses Investment Corp.

The commission agreed to schedule a meeting in the next few weeks to hash out the options in more detail.

The county accepted the settlement last July. It's a one-time revenue source, which means once it's gone, it's gone.

“I want to mention how unprecedented this is to have these kinds of funds to invest in our community without restrictions, without federal or state tie downs, without previous commitments,” Commission Chairman Charlie Justice told the Times this month.

[Last modified: Thursday, April 14, 2016 12:44pm]


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