Dredging permit process inches forward

Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 09:39 AM.

Further, county administrator Don Butler indicated county grant administrator Towan Kopinsky could handle the administration of the FDOT grant the Port Authority received, and for which St. Joe is providing the local match, to pursue the permitting.

White added that Barry Sellers, executive director of the Gulf County Economic Development Alliance, Inc., could continue to assist the Port Authority as an on-the-ground marketing point of contact for the port.

“We are trying to cover all the bases,” said board chair Leonard Costin. “We appreciate what (Pitts is) doing and would love to keep you, but we have no money.”

Pitts has worked off and on this year for $1 per month, receiving a small stipend for a few months as part of a state grant to craft a Master Plan update. It was discussed last week that Pitts may soon be in a position of accepting another job.

Board member Eugene Raffield, who has been speaking with state officials about identifying funding for Port Authority operations, said he had no news to report and he was making progress, but slowly.

The consensus on the board was to reach out to the BOCC and city of Port St. Joe for potential assistance in meeting pressing expenditures, particularly liability insurance for port officers and fees to the Florida Ports Council, which are critical to maintaining a place in the mix for state funding.

“We need to focus on that,” said board member Jessica Rish. “The county doesn’t want us to not have a board. The county and the city, those two need to step up before we go to the neighbors for that.”

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