House panel pushes forward 20 local appropriations bills

septic tanks
The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee weighed in on those bills Wednesday.

The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee approved 20 local appropriations during a Wednesday morning meeting.

The bills ranged in aim from projects to upgrade sewer systems to requests to relocate a local fair in Martin County.

State Rep. Toby Overdorf made that latter request (HB 2175). He’s asking for $1 million to move that fair to a new property, which involves setting up public bathrooms, security fencing and walkways accessible to those with disabilities, among other requirements.

The panel also took up a measure from state Rep. Jennifer Webb that would expand the St. Pete Beach Wastewater Transmission System.

The bill (HB 2421) would add a sanitary sewer force main under Gulf Blvd. which would “minimize future sanitary sewer overflows,” according to Webb.

Hers wasn’t the only bill dealing with local sewer systems. State Rep. Tina Polsky presented a measure on behalf of state Rep. Geraldine Thompson (HB 2291) that would aim to push septic tank users near Lake Apopka onto an expanded sewer system.

Studies have pointed to leakage from septic tanks as a trigger for toxic algae blooms in the state.

“The expansion of the sanitary sewer system will allow continued septic-to-sewer conversions and have positive economic, environmental, and even educational implications,” Polsky told the committee Wednesday.

“This initiative will reduce leaching of septic waste into groundwater and nearby lakes, including Lake Apopka — the fourth-largest lake in Florida — which has an extensive history of pollution that surrounding communities have been working to resolve.”

A full list of projects advanced by the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee Wednesday is available on the Florida House website.

The funding inquiries will be debated during the upcoming 2020 Legislative Session, as lawmakers wrangle over the final budget. That document will then be submitted to the Governor, who has the power to veto individual projects.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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