Budget conference: Everglades City scores $13M for emergency center
Collier County Emergency Services Bureau. Image via Facebook.

The center will serve Florida's largest county by land mass.

Everglades City just secured $13 million for a new emergency operations center and fire station. That’s a big win in Senate President Kathleen Passidomo’s home county.

The House and Senate agreed to the seven-figure expense as part of negotiations on the Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development budget. That’s one of the biggest line items in the budget that will go to a specific facility serving a region.

Everglades City, located in Collier County, has often sought assistance from the state. While the community has less than 400 residents based on the most recent Census estimates, first responders must deal with emergencies throughout the Everglades and unincorporated Collier County.

The county’s Bureau of Emergency Services is notably based in Naples. But the county covers 2,300 square miles, and has more land area than any other Florida county.

Funding for the location will come from nonrecurring general revenue.

That wasn’t the only major regional win. The House and Senate set aside $9 million for an expansion of an emergency center in Cape Coral, the most populous city in neighboring Lee County.

Around the state, there’s also almost $2.7 million allotted for a Franklin County center and $3.4 million for a public safety complex in Gadsden County. Lafayette County will get $3 million for an emergency operations center, and $700,000 will go to a center at Chattahoochee City Hall.

The chambers settled in on $3.35 million for an emergency center in Wakulla County. Nearly $5.9 million was set aside for a hurricane shelter project in Hilliard.

Lawmakers must reach an agreement on a final spending plan by Tuesday to meet the 72-hour “cooling off” period required by the state constitution before they can vote on the budget to avoid pushing the Regular Session past its scheduled May 5 end date.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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