Walton County Local RESTORE Act Committee reconvenes; new applications to be accepted beginning Jan. 15

In 2013, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) appointed the County’s first Local RESTORE Act Committee. At that time, the committee of 11 unpaid volunteers from various constituencies in the county was appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. It was tasked to solicit, evaluate and recommend projects and programs to be funded directly to the county (Pot #1).

Following the development of a local Walton County Pot 1 Application, the Committee recommended the approval of their first round of funding that totaled $5,269,712.55 that was distributed amongst 16 projects. Their recommendations were approved by the BCC. The Walton County Direct Component Approved Funding List can be found on the County’s website at https://www.co.walton.fl.us/DocumentCenter/View/11496.

Beginning in October 2017, the Committee was reconvened by the BCC with the same mission in mind, as well as some new additional direction. On Oct. 4, 2017, the Committee held their first meeting to introduce new members of the Committee, to give an overview of initiatives and guidelines the Committee must follow and to receive background information on the RESTORE Act and the County’s Multi-Year Implementation Plan.

The Committee is being led by District 4 Commissioner Sara Comander who is acting as a non-voting Chair of the Committee and also represents the BCC as their RESTORE Act Liaison for Pot 3 funding. A full list of Committee members can be found on the County’s website at https://www.co.walton.fl.us/964/Local-RESTORE-Act-Committee.

The approval of the initial $5 Million+ of funds in 2016 represented the first of many disbursements that the Committee and County will approve as part of the $39 Million in Pot 1 funds the County will be receiving over 15 years.

While the mission will be the same, the Committee will also now be looking to find ways to try to leverage the Pot 1 funds with the TRIUMPH funding that will be available to the County. Along with the County’s Local TRIUMPH Committee, the RESTORE Committee will work to collaborate, leverage and match all Pot 1 funding to have a larger impact in the local community. Local TRIUMPH Committee information can be found at https://www.co.walton.fl.us/1217/Local-TRIUMPH-Committee.

Also, as part of this process, Commissioners have traveled to Washington DC to meet with representatives of the US Treasury Department, as well as hosted a U.S. Treasury Department contingent local visit in Walton County.

During the Committee’s most recent meeting that took place on Dec. 13, 2017, the Committee received updates on the following items:

Current Project Status Walton County RESTORE Multi-Year Implementation Plan – Presented by Melinda Gates, Walton County Coastal Resource Liaison

RESTORE Act & Triumph Overview, A Collaborative Model – Presented by Billy Williams, Walton County RESTORE Act Coordinator

Economic & Environmental Collaboration – Presented by Darryl Boudreau, Watershed Coordinator for the Nature Conservancy

Strategic Planning- Mission, Structure, & Deliverables Moving Forward – Presented by Austin Mount, Director of the West Florida Regional Planning Council

Following the presentations, the Committee voted to approve the opening of new application period for the next round of Pot 1 Funding. This application will come in two forms:

The completion of a full application for any new project submissions or for the re-submission of any projects that did not receive funding in the first round.

A short 1-page bridge application for those who applied for TRIUMPH funding and were approved to move forward through the TRIUMPH process.

These two different application processes will allow those who have been approved to move through the TRIUMPH process the opportunity to work to leverage the two different funding mechanisms, while still allowing for the submission of new projects to begin working their way through the process.

The Local RESTORE Act Committee application acceptance period will open on January 15th, 2018 and will end on March 16th, 2018. Project application links are as follows:

Application Fillable PDF – https://www.co.walton.fl.us/DocumentCenter/View/29650

Application Print and Complete – https://www.co.walton.fl.us/DocumentCenter/View/29651

TRIUMPH Approved Project Bridge Funding Application – Coming Soon

Completed applications must be emailed to RESTORE Act Coordinator, Billy Williams, at wilbilly@co.walton.fl.us and received by the application deadline of 4:30pm CST on Friday, March 16th, 2019.

If you should have any questions, please contact RESTORE Act Coordinator Billy Williams at (850) 892-8155 or via email at wilbilly@co.walton.fl.us.