Projects in Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties failed to escape the veto ax wielded by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday.
Requested funds for a fire station in Niceville, an industrial park near Milton and the new Santa Rosa County Courthouse in Milton were among more than $131 million worth of items slashed from the state budget for the next fiscal year, which starts in July.
The new budget totals $90.9 billion.
It won’t include $500,000 requested in a bill sponsored by state Rep. Mel Ponder to help pay for construction of an Ocean City-Wright Fire Control District fire station/training facility on Northwest Florida State College’s main campus in Niceville.
The total cost of the station is a little more than $2.1 million.
“Most, if not all fire house requests around the state were also vetoed,” said Ponder, R-Destin.
He added that he would gladly help Ocean City-Wright officials should they decide to seek state funding again next year.
DeSantis also denied $500,000 in state money sought by Santa Rosa County for its industrial park and $250,000 for its new courthouse.
The money for the industrial park near Interstate 10 and State Road 87 would have been used to expand its infrastructure, County Commissioner Bob Cole said.
He said former Gov. Rick Scott had approved $1 million in state money to start the park.
“I hope (the veto) isn’t an indication that this governor isn’t as interested in growing jobs as our former governor was,” Cole said.
If given the choice, he said he would have rather seen the money requested for the courthouse get slashed than the funding sought for the industrial park.
Santa Rosa officials plan to use borrowed funds and money from its reserves to pay for the $35 million courthouse. Cole said the $250,000 requested from the state probably would have been used to help pay for up-front costs, such as preliminary engineering tasks.