The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council hosted the Florida Regional Councils Association’s (FRCA) semiannual meeting for the first time in many years. The meeting, which took place on July 27th, included speakers from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
The FDEP addressed the Senate Bill 1954 and their program Resilient Florida. This comprehensive legislation will ensure a coordinated approach to Florida’s coastal and inland resiliency. The new program will enhance our efforts to protect our inland waterways, coastlines and shores, which serve as invaluable natural defenses against sea level rise. The legislation will yield the largest investment in Florida’s history to prepare communities for the impacts of climate change – including sea level rise, intensified storms and flooding.
The U.S. EDA discussed the CARES Act appropriation, mentioning that each regional planning council has been awarded a two-year, non-competitive grant of $400,000. As EDA designated Economic Development Districts, RPCs have well established economic development programs focused on regional resilience. This investment provides RPCs with critical resources necessary to develop or update disaster recovery and resiliency economic development strategies and fortify those programs which assist communities in responding to and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, the meeting addressed topics such as the FRCA 2019-20 Financial Report, the 2020-21 Proposed Budget, and the Legislative Report and 2021 Legislative Agenda. During the meeting, the election of officers for the 2020-2021 Policy Board Executive Committee was also proposed. The nominating committee presented the nominations as follows:
President Commissioner Peter O’Bryan, Indian River County (TCRPC)
1st Vice President Commissioner Kristin Dozier, Leon County (ARPC)
2nd Vice President Vice Mayor Robert Wilford, City of Alachua (NCFRPC)
A motion was made, seconded, and passed unanimously to elect the officers as presented.
Finally, each regional planning council provided a brief update on current projects which included:
• Apalachee RPC – Long-term Recovery Plans for Calhoun and Liberty counties
• Central Florida RPC – Heartland Rides
• East Central Florida RPC – East Central Florida Regional Resilience Collaborative
• Emerald Coast RC – Rural Transportation Planning Organization
• North Central Florida RPC – Long-Range Transportation Plan
• Northeast Florida RC – Northeast Florida Economic Resilience Taskforce
• South Florida RPC – CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund
• Southwest Florida RPC – Local Technical Assistance
• Tampa Bay RPC – COVID-19 Recovery Task Force
• Treasure Coast RPC – Martin County Land Development Code Rewrite