Port St. Lucie asking for more than $12.5 million from state leg. budget

PORT ST. LUCIE — The city government here is seeking more than $12.5 million in state funding to help pay for multiple projects, as the legislative session enters its final days in Tallahassee.

Those projects include improvements at the Westport Wastewater Treatment Facility, a deep injection well at the Prineville Water Treatment Facility, a new police training facility and a new water-control structure.

Into the home stretch

Tracking whether those projects end up being funded can often be like following a moving target, city officials said, but the process is now in the home stretch.

The Legislature has until March 8 to pass a budget for next fiscal year, which could include the projects Port St. Lucie wants funded. The House and Senate are expected to begin final negotiations this week. In conference committees, members will reconcile differences between the budgets passed by the two chambers.

Even if a request makes it into the final budget approved by both chambers, Gov. Ron DeSantis has the ability to veto individual items from the budget.

What Port St. Lucie wants

As it does every year, Port St. Lucie is asking for a number of projects to be funded. That said, the $12.5 million figure is higher than usual, Senior Deputy City Attorney Ella Gilbert said. Last year, for example, the city asked for just over $8 million.

The higher figure is mostly due to two requests, each coming in at $5 million, Gilbert said.

“I will say that this year we had two $5 million requests. Those are large requests in comparison to our previous years,” Gilbert said.

One is for improvements at the Westport facility that include goals of reducing total nitrogen and phosphorus to comply with state guidelines. Those reductions could also help lessen the impacts of algae blooms in the St. Lucie River, according to the city’s state legislative program packet. The total cost is estimated at $55 million.

The second $5 million request is for the deep-injection well at Prineville. The well would be drilled to approximately 3,200 feet and could help the plant’s ability to produce water during hurricanes and tropical storms, according to the packet. The total project cost is estimated at $15 million.

The next largest…