Gov. Ron DeSantis stopped in Lafayette and Gilchrist counties on Wednesday and handed local officials checks for $6.5 million and $23.3 million respectively while also announcing a statewide $400 million to tackle broadband.
DeSantis visited BubbaQue’s BBQ in Trenton to announce the funding and said the state wanted to look out for fiscally-constrained counties. Large counties that sell lots of million dollar homes can finance many of their own projects, he said, but rural counties need state funds.
“We make a point to visit the rural communities and to support our rural communities in a variety of ways, so today, we’re continuing on those efforts,” DeSantis said in Trenton.
The Gilchrist County funds will support salary increases for law enforcement, resurfacing portions of State Roads 26 and 47, along with a Small County Outreach Program.
The resurfacing projects will take up the majority—$18 million—of the money, and the funds will come from the Legislature’s 2022-23 General Appropriations Act once DeSantis signs it.
Florida is also rolling out a $400 million Broadband Opportunity Grant Program and $30 million for its Rural Infrastructure Fund, and DeSantis announced another $1,000 bonus for law enforcement and firefighters throughout the state for next year.
DeSantis also reiterated that Florida stood in a strong place as the nation weathers inflation with a $20 billion surplus by the end of June.
He restated comments he made in Williston two weeks ago concerning President Joe Biden’s Disinformation Board, Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover and the federal government’s spending habits.
In Lafayette County, DeSantis announced the following funds for local projects:
- Salary Increase to Local Law Enforcement Agencies in Fiscally Constrained Counties—$296,000
- Lafayette District Schools Safe and Secure Schools Electronic Access Control Key System (HB 9341) (Senate Form 2646) Fixed Capital Outlay Public Schools Special Projects—$400,000
- Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office Communications (HB 9343) (Senate Form 2507) Law Enforcement – Department of Management Services—$500,000
- SR 20 (US 27) from Taylor County Line to Buckville Resurfacing—$4,586,550
- Lafayette Blue Springs State Park State Park Repairs & Maintenance—$22,000
- Suwannee River Wilderness Trail State Park Repairs & Maintenance—$28,000
- Troy Spring State Park State Park Repairs & Maintenance—$680,000
DeSantis continued his visits in rural Florida areas in recent months. On April 18, he presented Dixie County a $10 million for infrastructure projects and delivered a $3.5 million check to Lake Butler on Jan. 7 earmarked for hurricane preparedness projects.