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Northeast Florida wasn't spared.

Jax

Northeast Florida not spared in the budget massacre

Cuts across the region.

With more than a billion dollars in vetoes, every region in the state took some hits … even Northeast Florida, from where the two budget chairs hail.

A lot of local projects that made it through budget conferences in March ended up on the cutting room floor, including initiatives that Gov. Ron DeSantis might have signed off on if state coffers had been more flush.

While these aren’t major projects, they are major for those who need them — everyone from veterans contemplating suicide to low-income people in need of dental care.

The timing could not be worse, especially given that 2021 is uncertain, and the reality that the budget chairs will almost certainly be from a different part of the state.

In Duval County, even Gary Chartrand couldn’t get state money — $2 million was axed from the KIPP Charter School, funding that has materialized in previous years but not this time.

University of North Florida’s Jax Bridges Competitive Small Business Initiative likewise will not be getting its $350,000.

And Jacksonville’s homeless population will absorb its own cuts, with $100,000 earmarked for the Clara White Mission eliminated from the signed budget. Meanwhile, low-income people reliant on Agape Health Services for dental care will not have the expected $750,000 from the state to help fund that work.

And Jacksonville’s pretrial release program will have to wait at least another year for $500,000 in state money.

In St. Johns County, the perpetual ask of renovation at the Ponce de Leon Hotel at Flagler College will be a problem for another year, with $750,000 tabled. Likewise, the recurrent ask for $250,000 for lighthouse remediation didn’t make the cut.

The same held true for the 21st Century Workforce Development project, slated for $950,000 that isn’t coming. And for St. Johns Schools Classroom to Careers program where $50,000 requested will not be coming.

Even Clay County, the homes of Sen. Rob Bradley and Rep. Travis Cummings, took some hits, with the Governor turning off the spigot on a $1.5 million spend for a water treatment plant and cutting $350,000 for a river access project in Green Cove Springs. Additionally, a $1.25 million appropriation was cut for a fire station building in the county.

Likewise in Nassau County, it wasn’t a good year for the local Boys and Girls Club with $750,000 previously approved for Camp Deep Pond in Hilliard deep-sixed by DeSantis. Also cut was $900,000 for the septic tank phaseout in American Beach.

Regional projects, including the Northeast Florida Fire Watch, came up empty. The $250,000 veterans’ suicide initiative didn’t make it.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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