The Florida House and Senate have ended their session this year and Jackson County and in the words of Representative Brad Drake hit a home run with the windfalls coming our way.
The funding for the second phase of the new K-8 school in the amount of $19,059,807 was approved. The City of Marianna will receive $500,000 for the Marianna Public Safety Administration Complex. Jackson County Fire and Rescue will be the recipient of $150,000 towards their new building with the town of Jacob receiving $50,000 for their park. Alford also received $50,000 for Donald Smith Park.
Gainer said in an interview Saturday with the Times, “I think we had a pretty good session considering so much was taken for the school safety bill. I was just as pleased as I could be. At first, it looked like we weren’t going to get that second phase of the K-8 school over there but we did.”
Senator Gainer praised Representative Brad Drake for his dedication to the panhandle, “Representative Drake for all the work he did to help make this happen. He was working hard for Jackson County and it paid off.”
Senator Gainer also praised Jackson County NAACP’s president Ronstance Pittman for her work, “That little Ronstance, she was as fair as anyone I’ve ever seen and she worked hard for Jacob. I’m really proud we got them some money for their park. They have a nice little park there and it’s a nice town.”
Senator Gainer said, “I was very pleased and, of course, I think I worked hard enough to get us a hundred million but I think we came out really good. We have five other counties that I think we did really well in. What I hope, moving forward is to get some of these projects that we really need, prioritize them and have everyone agree on the direction we are moving in so that when I go over there, I know it’s for the leadership in Jackson County and what they really, really want. And that we can meet their needs.”
When asked about Jackson County Schools specifically on the school safety issue, Senator Gainer said, “That comes out of a different fund that comes out of the bill that was passed in the last few days. They will share up all the schools. They will evaluate what they need to do there and the superintendent will meet with them and let them know their needs. So that $400 million will be thrown into the education account. I’m real proud of everything we have accomplished, real proud of our Governor who said he was going to help northwest Florida and he’s trying to. I feel like the Senate was being a lot fairer than it has in the past. Representative Brad Drake helped a lot with all of this, we couldn’t have got it done without him. We have a lot to look forward to and I’m really excited about it.”
Representative Drake said, “Another Home Run for Jackson County with the passing of this year’s budget that was signed by Governor Rick Scott. Senator George Gainer and I worked till way in the night most every night in the last week of the regular Session to secure these projects for our community, and I thank the Governor for his final approval. I know that every dollar in these projects will be invested locally to provide safety, essential services and educational opportunities for our people, and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Marianna City Manager Jim Dean was all smiles when he received the news, “The City of Marianna received a phone call from Senator Gainer and Representative Drake this past weekend, to make the City aware funding in the amount of $500,000 had been budgeted and approved towards funding of the City of Marianna Public Safety Administration Complex. We are fortunate to have Senator Gainer and Representative Drake working on our behalf in Tallahassee, and we are grateful for the work they have done to help secure funding for another portion of this project which will move our Police Department and Fire Department out of a department store and 80-year-old facility, and into a facility that meets all local, State and Federal facility requirements.”
Ronstance Pittman was well pleased both with the news of the $50,000 and the fact that Senator Gainer made the trip to Jacob to visit the area and personally see the need, “We do appreciate Senator Gainer for taking an interest in the City of Jacob. He came out here and saw not only our park which we are so proud of but the city itself. He saw why we were asking for certain things to get Jacob to where we should be. We are going to do some renovations, the walking trail is one thing, the basketball courts, an update to the old pavilion which is the first one that we had. Then we are going to renovate the old bathrooms. The community is very happy and we do take pride in our park that is used not only by the city of Jacob but by others so we are very happy that we get a chance to renovate and make it better for all.”