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Governor vetoes some local funding priorities but restores school funding

Photo courtesy of the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 budget today and also announced an extensive veto list, totaling $3.1 billion, setting a new record “by a wide margin.”

Among the local projects vetoed were the City of Gainesville’s Community Resource Paramedic Program at $260,000. The program was one of the City of Gainesville’s priorities at the 2021 legislative delegation meeting.

Senator Keith Perry’s $11,500,000 request for 9.7 miles of pavement restoration on CR 232 between CR 241 and the county line was also vetoed.

Additional local vetoes included $30,000,000 for the University of Florida Music Building, $1 million for a Payne Prairie Bald Eagle Commemoration Statue, and $350,000 for restoration of the Gainesville Women’s Club.

However, the Alachua County School Board will be breathing easier after the governor restored School Recognition Program funding that the legislature cut from school districts that imposed mask mandates on students. The legislature cut $200,000,000 statewide, and the school district did not specify how much of that would have been withheld from Alachua County Public Schools, but the governor restored the money, stating in a letter that the existing statute designates the funds for schools that earn high grades, not for districts: “My approval and your subsequent implementation of this funding must rely on the plain language that districts’ actions do not impact schools’ eligibility.”

  • It’s crazy that it costs $30 million to restore a music building, and $11.5 million to repave 9.7 miles of scenic, essential, yet neglected country road…
    Could it be that the state was quoted a ridiculously high amount by those who didn’t realize that we have a wise governor?
    (I wonder how much they spent just filling in the potholes on NW 94th Ave. near Forest Grove, last year?) 🤔
    Those are both projects that I would support doing, but not at those prices…
    I hope that those things get accomplished before too long, but with more care and consideration for the those who will be paying the bills…
    I wish I knew more about the paramedic program…
    The veto of a ridiculous $1 MILLION for an eagle statue was spot on…
    As was the veto of a $350,000 donation to the leftist women’s HQ. (Let the leftist women find that money in their own checkbooks.)

    • I think the UF Music funding was for a NEW building, not renovation? They’ve been wanting a new classical concert hall at the corner of 13th and University, where the closed gas station and Leonardo’s slice was. But I’m not sure of latest plans.

  • The $30 million for the Music Building was to build a new facility, not restore the very old, inadequate, and dilapidated existing building.

    • The existing music school is architecturally significant and should have been maintained, as all public assets, and renovated. Demolition has too often become the default. Meanwhile UF is spending $250 million on a new dorm. UF taking property off local tax rolls also hurts. UF music school belongs on UF’s own 2,000-acre campus, not the SE corner of University and 13th.

      • Also UF plans to demolish two on-campus grad and family brick apartment villages of 348 units, trees, playgrounds, and all, to make recreational athletic fields, wasting the infrastructure and sending hundreds of tons of materials to a landfill and tenants to compete for more expensive housing elsewhere. Many people protested to no avail. In the campus development agreement the mayor supported UF in the demolitions and displacement. Anyway, that’s another story. Curious to see what UF will do about the music school now that it demolished Leonardo’s and the convenience store.

        • Update. Just learned that UF now plans to build the music school somewhere on campus. That might explain the cut from this budget. No word on next plans for that corner.

      • I agree, the current Music bldg. for classes and practice is great. Wasn’t it being renovated recently?

    • UF can build it themselves or have some wealthy donor pay for it. If they need a new place to build it, build it on the 720 acres that came off the tax rolls a couple years ago.

    • Herr Sexton…How much more do the taxpayers of Alachua County have to foot the bill for the University? It should have plenty of money in it’s dowry to cover the costs. Better yet, add it to the student usage fees instead of sticking it to the taxpayers.

      Speaking of dilapidated and inadequate…when are you going to promote Single Member Districts instead of the city populace electing commissioners who do not have rural residents’ best interests in mind?

      • This appropriation would have been paid through State funds paid by taxpayers throughout the State. I appreciate Senator Perry’s support for the Arts over the years.

  • Anyone know if the county road Perry wanted repaved goes thru conservation lands? If not, then any future development there would generate local tax revenues the county could use instead. If so, then it should be repaved with the promise adjacent lands stay in conservation (so they won’t be widened for a developer later). In other words, DeSantis knows this but our local pols don’t.

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