Tampa Bay’s budget sundae comes with some sprinkles

The Senate was especially generous in its sprinkling this year.

The Tampa Bay area drew down more than $21 million for special projects from the House and Senate’s annual sprinkle list.

The Senate handed out nearly $17 million for special projects in the region, excluding the Sarasota/Manatee area, far more than the House’s $4.3 million in project funding. The proposed sprinkles are still subject to Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ veto pen.

The disparity should come as little surprise. The sprinkle fund is a bucket of holdover funding for legislative leadership to dole out to special projects. Senate President Bill Galvano’s district includes parts of Hillsborough County, making those projects primed for legislative funding.

The biggest sprinkle showered Pasco County with $4.85 million for a Handcart Road water and wastewater project. Pasco County also received $850,000 for improvements too Quail Hollow Blvd.

Hillsborough Community College also scored big with Senate sprinkles with $2 million allocated for operational support.

The University of South Florida St. Petersburg fell just short of that with $1.93 million for operational support, though that funding gap was bridged with another $567,500 from the House sprinkle fund.

USF Tampa also landed $627,500 in the Senate’s appropriations projects list for its cybersecurity program.

Meanwhile, St. Petersburg College nabbed $1.75 million for its plan to expand its collegiate high school program. The House doled out $125,000 for the school’s nursing simulation expansion.

The Italian Club in Tampa also scored with $1 million from the Senate.

The Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club landed $958,000 from the Senate for a water conservation project.

The Senate included in its sprinkle projects $750,000 for the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. The Senate had included $1 million in a budget offer during budget conferences, but the House was only willing to put up $250,000.

The Straz Center had requested $4 million from the state to compliment a $70 million renovation project to its downtown Tampa facility.

Other winners in the Senate include:

— The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office: $546,250 for a new explosive ordinance disposal team response vehicle

— St. Pete Beach: $500,000 for a sanitary sewer expansion project

— Florida Holocaust Museum: $300,000

— Plant City: $275,000 for the McIntosh Park integrated water master plan (the House offered another $25,000)

— ZooTampa: $250,000 for a Florida Panther rehabilitation facility expansion

— Hillsborough County: $200,000 for a short term residential treatment facility (the House matched that with another $200,000)

— Pinellas Park: $100,000 for Orchid Lake improvements

— Tampa Museum of Art: $50,000 for education and community outreach

— Hillsborough County: $25,000 for a high risk adoption support program (the House matched that with another $25,000)

The House’s largest sprinkle appropriation went to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital for a pediatric alternative to opioid treatment program with $750,000. The House doled out another $450,000 to the hospital for a patient academics program.

Other House sprinkles include:

— Pinellas County Schools: $500,000 for a joint-use Highpoint recreation facility

— Polk County: $500,000 for the Polk Water Cooperative

— Directions for Living: $250,000 for the mental health care group’s BabyCAT program

— Florida Aquarium: $250,000 for a coral reef research lab and visitor’s center

— Tampa Jackson House: $250,000 for preservation to the historic structure

— Feeding Tampa Bay: $155,000 for the group’s Engage and Empower program

— City of Tampa: $150,000 for a wastewater lateral lining project

— Tampa Bay Water: $100,000 for the Cypress Bridge wellfield improvements

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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