Okaloosa to form committee for RESTORE Act (DOCUMENT)

Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 11:27 AM.

For example, if BP were assessed $10 billion in fines, Okaloosa, Walton, Santa Rosa, Escambia, Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla counties would receive about $420 million. Of that total, Okaloosa County’s share would be about $63.9 million.

The RESTORE Act requires that every county establish an advisory committee and distribute its funds according to specific rules set forth by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Under a tentative consensus, Okaloosa commissioners decided that its advisory committee will include representatives from cities, education, economic development, chambers of commerce, the lodging and tourism industry, the seafood and fishing industry and environmental protection.

Committee members will be selected by the commissioners through an application process except for the city representatives, which will be selected by the Okaloosa County League of Cities, and the economic representative, which will be chosen by the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County.

Commissioners are set to approve the committee’s structure at its Feb. 5 meeting. The board also will discuss whether to hire a company to help guide the county in allocating the RESTORE Act money or use a new contracted staff position.

Most of the commissioners voiced support for hiring a consulting firm to help develop its spending plan.

When Commissioner Nathan Boyles noted that a staff position might be cheaper, Commissioner Kelly Windes said that shouldn’t be the county’s top concern approaching the RESTORE Act funds.

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