Mardi Gras beads out, corroded pipe in for Palm Beach County Day in Tallahasseeby George Bennett | March 5th, 2014
TALLAHASSEE — Palm Beach County used to be known around the state Capitol for the Mardi Gras-style beads it handed out during the county’s annual lobbying blitz.
Now the county hopes its signature tchotchke will be a segment of aging, corroded water pipe from the Glades.
County Water Utilities Director Bevin Beaudet and others toted the pipe segments around the Capitol for today’s Palm Beach County Day to dramatize the county’s request for $2 million a year in state money to help replace the crumbling water system in the Glades. Beaudet said the pipe he was displaying was between 40 and 70 years old.
The money has been approved by lawmakers in the past, but vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott. But that was before the county made use of the visual aid.
About 140 people from Palm Beach County — officials from municipal and county governments, civic and business leaders — made the rounds today to press legislators for a variety of county concerns, including the Glades pipes, tax incentives for film and TV production, money for a western-county Palm Beach State College campus and more regulation of “sober houses” for recovering addicts.
Former Palm Beach County Commissioner Jeff Koons was on hand to lobby for money for homeless programs. It was Koons’ first Palm Beach County Day since he resigned in 2010 and pleaded guilty to an extortion charge. Subscribers to MyPalmBeachPost.com can read more about Koons and how he was received by clicking here.
The county’s efforts were commended by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who met with three commissioner and others in his office.
“It’s quite impressive. I was laying in bed last night thinking about 150 people being here from Palm Beach County and wondering why we don’t do that in Pinellas County,” said Latvala. “It’s very important. You guys will go to the head of the line. And part of the reason you’re at the head of the line in this office is how good your staff is.”
Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, met with a contingent of more than 30 people from the county in the morning.
“Who’s left in Palm Beach?” Gaetz asked. “Who’s running the county?”