St. Petersburg City Council met Thursday afternoon to approve legislative priorities for the upcoming federal and state sessions.
The city’s priorities, approved via a resolution to be sent to the appropriate delegations, list the council’s supported policies and funding priorities.
On the federal level, the city is supporting legislation by U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, which was filed last year as the HUD Inspection Oversight Act (HR 3745), but died in committee. The bill would provide physical standards and reform the inspection process for Section 8 housing.
The city also wants to see a refiled bill by U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist pass. The State Flood Mitigation Revolving Fund Act (HR 1610), which failed last year, is designed to lower flood insurance premiums by creating a low-interest loan program to help property owners better flood-proof their homes and businesses.
The city wants to see more federal funding for transportation, and supports a robust infrastructure bill that would fund public projects.
For federal funding, the city is requesting appropriations for the St. Pete Science Center, which is currently vacant after the city acquired the property from the county. The city wants the center to be used for STEM education.
From the state legislature, the city would like to protect the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund from being used for needs unrelated to housing. For years lawmakers have raided the funds for expenditures outside its intended scope. The city would also like to see funding issued for utility, rent and foreclosure assistance in response to the COVID-19 economic impact.
Transportation funding is also on the city’s wish list, with the council objecting to the removal and deferral of projects by significant funding cuts, saying it will “hurt the economic vitality and roadway safety of St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay region.” Some project examples include the Westshore Interchange, 1-275 improvements and overpass additions north into Pasco County.
The city lists the following as specifically funding priorities: the Carter G. Woodson Museum, the St. Pete Science Center, St. Petersburg Collegiate High School and the 2nd District Court of Appeals.