Cities and counties told there could be no parks money again this year

Representatives of Florida cities and counties were warned Tuesday that there may not be state grant money again this year for their park and open space purchases.

The Florida Communities Trust (FCT) program in 2008 received $63 million for matching grants with cities and counties. But the program didn’t process grant applications last year after the Legislature provided no money for the Florida Forever land-buying program for the first time since 1990.

FCT had been receiving 21 percent of the $300 million in bonds approved annually by the Legislature for Florida Forever. The Senate last week put $15 million in its proposed 2010-11 budget for Florida Forever but the House so far has not provided any money for the program.

FCT program manager Ken Reecy told city and county officials and consultants that the program would receive $3.15 million if the Senate budget proposal wins approval from the Legislature. That may be enough for one FCT project depending on the size of the top-rated grant request, Reecy said. The program received 91 project grant applications in 2008.

Under the Senate budget proposal for 2010-11, the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Program would receive $375,000, Reecy said.

The grant applications are due May 26 and the deadline was pushed back to give applicants time to find out whether the Legislature will provide money for the program.

For more information or for a list of FCT workshops around the state, go on the web to .

(Used with permission from The Current, produced by The Florida Tribune. Do not copy or redistribute without permission.)