Indian River County Commissioners Review

Florida’s Legislature’s 2017-2018 Session

by Adriana de Kanter

At their June 6th Board meeting, the Indian River County Commissioners released the “FY 2017-2018 State Legislative Final Report” highlighting how well our county’s priorities were addressed by the legislature. By all measures, it was a lackluster legislative session for our county.

Going into the legislative session, Commissioners set five priorities for Indian River County:

1. The Indian River Lagoon

The Commission supported legislation to appropriate funding for local government projects and programs that would enhance the economic well-being of Indian River County by treating and monitoring the health of the Lagoon.

2. Transparency, Accountability, and Oversight of the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA)

The Commission supported legislation to require greater oversight, transparency, and accountability by FMPA to its member municipalities and rate-payers.

3. All Aboard Florida

The Commission opposed any state funding for All Aboard Florida and its passenger rail project.

4. Canaveral Port Authority Foreign Trade Zone

The Commission supported an amendment to the Canaveral Port District Charter to remove the current language that limits the foreign trade zone boundary to Brevard County.

5. Beach Restoration and Nourishment

The commission supported the creation of a newly dedicated and recurring statutory funding source for beach restoration and nourishment projects, as well as a specific appropriation for Vero Beach.

These five priorities did not get the degree of legislative action hoped for by the county.

Additional Legislation

In addition, there were specific legislative appropriation requests supported by the Commission: Hurricane Mathew Beach Funding, Osprey Acres, and Sebastian Septic to Sewer.

Finally, legislation supported by the county that passed included:

  • incentives for local counties to meet their recycling goals, especially for recovered materials
  • reporting requirements for opioid abuse, as well as enhancing penalties.

Legislation supported by the county that failed included

  • safety and funding requirements for any high-speed passenger rail operating in Florida (the High Speed Passenger Rail Act)
  • an appropriation to offset property owner costs incurred in retrofitting septic systems polluting local estuaries
  • a matching grant program for local governments to implement flood hazard risk reduction policies and projects
  • a requirement for hospitals to connect patients who have experienced unintentional overdoses with substance abuse treatment services
  • a dedicated and reoccurring funding source for beach restoration and nourishment projects.

Other issues and projects are also provided in this report. It is well worth the time as a citizen of Indian River County to review our policy successes and failures.

As Democrats of Indian River County, we remain vigilant on the issues that affect our priorities:

  • Working for all working families.  We’re fighting for working families with a focus on living wages, middle class prosperity, quality public education and affordable higher education.
  • Demanding universal healthcare as an American right. We believe families and seniors need affordable healthcare to survive and thrive.
  • Championing a clean environment that supports economic growth.  Our county’s economy depends on it.

Here is access the complete report.