Tuesday, November 21, 2017
News Roundup

Pinellas officials worry about availability of federal funds for beach renourishment

RECOMMENDED READING


CLEARWATER — This June, the county will start the first of $16 million in beach renourishment projects on Treasure Island's Sunshine and Sunset beaches before moving on to Upham and Pass-a-Grille in St. Pete Beach, all of which have been damaged by erosion.

Over the next 10 years, and not including this summer's work, the county and state are expected to spend roughly $65 million repairing Pinellas' coastline.

On Tuesday, Pinellas County officials worried about the future of the beaches without federal earmarks or its long-serving congressman to turn to for help.

"We no longer have Bill Young to help us along and champion funding for our beaches, among other things," coastal manager Andy Squires told Pinellas commissioners. "Federal budgets are tightening and sea levels are rising."

In a report to the commission, Squires — who recently spent several days in Washington, D.C., meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other coastal managers — said the Corps' priorities may shift away from beach restoration as the agency tries to pare down its budget. This could become especially problematic in the coming years, when major tourism destinations like Treasure Island's beaches have to be reauthorized in order to get federal aid.

"Continued federal funding may decline in the near term and end upon the authorization expiration dates," Squires wrote.

Typically, the federal government has paid for 60 percent of Pinellas County's beach restoration projects, with the remaining 40 percent split between the county and the state. And while most county commissioners support the idea of spending more on Pinellas' beaches through the sales tax levied on motel and hotel room rentals, there are no assurances that lawmakers in Tallahassee will increase their contribution.

On Tuesday, commissioners and Squires struggled to think of a single Florida state senator who has championed spending on beaches.

To keep the money from D.C. flowing, Pinellas recently hired Harry Glenn, the former chief of staff for the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, as its lobbyist.

On Tuesday, Commissioner Janet Long, a Democrat, said perhaps the first person Glenn should lobby is Young's successor, Rep. David Jolly, a Republican who has said that climate change doesn't require "a significant shift in federal policy."

"Maybe our new lobbyist, who isn't so new, could schedule some kind of an educational moment with our congressman," Long said. Climate change and rising sea levels are "a pretty big issue for us."

Comments
Hometown Pasco for Nov. 24

Hometown Pasco for Nov. 24

We want your news! Hometown Pasco is devoted to everyday life in our county, whether it’s snapshots from your family reunion, recreational sporting event, news from your last club meeting or just a few lines thanking someone for a job well do...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Call Missouri jinxed, but Michael Porter Jr. injury is its own story

Please repeat after me: There is no such thing as jinxes, hexes, ghosts or cartoonish black clouds looming with personalized curses for select targets.Honest.But, boy, are there coincidences — even if some say there is no such thing as those, either....
Updated: 2 hours ago
Cambridge Christian’s Caleb Young makes up for lost season

Cambridge Christian’s Caleb Young makes up for lost season

TAMPA — For Cambridge Christian, last Friday’s Class 2A region final against Indian Rocks Christian represented a hurdle that the Lancers couldn’t quite clear a year ago. For one Lancer in particular, it was the Golden Eagles themselves that brought ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

TAMPA — Third and long, normally an ideal situation for an NFL defense, continues to be a problem as the Bucs try to get opposing offenses off the field.In the second half of Sunday’s game, the Dolphins converted six third downs when they needed 8 ya...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Has this former Buc become a pass-rushing force?

Bucs-Falcons: Has this former Buc become a pass-rushing force?

TAMPA — The Bucs face the defending NFC champions twice in their final six games. As they prepare to go to Atlanta on Sunday, former Tampa Bay first-round pick Adrian Clayborn is enjoying quite a two-week run.Clayborn, 29, had six sacks Nov. 12 in a ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Fennelly: USF-UCF rivalry needs more than directional disrespect

Fennelly: USF-UCF rivalry needs more than directional disrespect

TAMPA — It’s the biggest football game in USF history.It’s two days and 90 miles away. USF at UCF. The 9-1 Bulls against the 10-0 Knights. It’s USF coach Charlie Strong against UCF/Florida/Nebraska coach Scott Frost. It’s the best these two programs ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Chip Kelly is not the best candidate for Florida job

For the sake of a beleaguered and bedraggled fan base, here’s hoping Chip Kelly becomes the next head coach of the Florida Gators even though I think he’s not a great fit — culturally, geographically and philosophically — at UF.Gator Nation needs som...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Lane Kiffin knows speculation about his future grows with each victory

BOCA RATON — Lane Kiffin already knows what profession he will choose once his coaching career ends.Kiffin, in his first season at Florida Atlantic, thinks he is destined to join the sports-media ranks. It will provide him opportunity to switch roles...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Strong’s slip about UCF’s Griffin seen as motivation for Knights

Strong’s slip about UCF’s Griffin seen as motivation for Knights

TAMPA — While saying nothing to purposely fan the flames of the USF-UCF rivalry during his weekly news conference Tuesday, Bulls coach Charlie Strong provided fuel for the Knights’ best player.He used the H-word when discussing Knights senior outside...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Miami up to No. 2, behind Alabama, in College Football Playoff rankings

Miami up to No. 2, behind Alabama, in College Football Playoff rankings

Miami moved up to No. 2 behind Alabama in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night, with Clemson slipping one spot to three and Oklahoma holding at four. Wisconsin and Auburn remained next up behind the top four in a week when the...
Updated: 3 hours ago