With a sweep of the Governor’s veto pen, more than $3 million in funding for water handling in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties circled the drain.
The $3.14 million in reductions — all having to do with flood control and drainage — were among the half-billion that Gov. Ron DeSantis excised from the 2023-24 budget Thursday.
An appropriation for $800,000 to improve Lauderhill Maple Run drainage that Democratic Rep. Lisa Dunkley proposed accounted for the biggest chunk felled in the tri-county water-handling vetoes. It would have provided pipes and discharge control structures to remove water from roadways in the Maple Run neighborhood.
Next came an appropriation Republican Rep. David Borrero requested to resurface Southwest Fifth Street between Southwest 112th and 113th Avenues and add new drainage structures.
The requested $600,000 for drainage would improve the area near the Dolphin Mall.
“Extreme flooding and inaccessible roadway conditions drastically affects this area’s room for economic and commercial growth,” the request reads. “These issues limit the movement of vehicles and merchandisers in the area.”
Apparently, the Governor was not moved there either.
Improving drainage on Southwest Ranches roads failed in two places. DeSantis vetoed the $340,200 Democrat Mike Gottlieb requested to improve Southwest 69th Street, as well as the same amount for drainage improvements Democrat Robin Bartleman requested for Southwest 57th Court.
Gottlieb is incredulous that DeSantis is nixing water projects in South Florida, given the disaster potential that water and flooding have only recently presented. President Joe Biden declared Fort Lauderdale and other parts of Broward County a disaster area in April because of flooding from historic rainfall.
“This is a way to mitigate the property insurance crisis,” said Gottlieb, who also saw his request for $450,000 to rehab pump stations at the Old Plantation Water Control District culled in this round of vetoes.
Bartleman was dismayed the Governor cut $262,500 that would have rehabilitated deteriorating drainage culverts along the South Broward Drainage District’s (SBDD) C-1 Canal.
The state appropriation would have been matched dollar for dollar through the SBDD, she said.
“It’s disappointing,” she added.
Flooding around the area, after heavy rain events, has trapped people in their homes, according to the request.
A $200,000 flood mitigation project in Parkland that Democrat Rep. Christine Hunschofsky requested was stripped from the budget as was $150,000 Republican Rep. Rick Roth requested for South Bay stormwater and flood control management.
Roth also saw the Governor veto his request for $1.5 million that would have improved sanitary sewer overflows for the Glades Community, but that’s not just water that falls from the sky. It would have involved better stormwater handling too, however, the request said.
“Project will result in improved drainage for the citizens for the Glades region of Palm Beach County,” the request reads.