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A DIP INTO THE OIL MONEY? Florida Gov. Rick Scott says he wants to work with a consortium of counties that will divvy up BP oil spill funds. Photo courtesy of the governor's office. SCOTT WANTS A HAND IN RESTORE ACT STATE POT By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor The Sarasota County Commission voted last month to join a coalition of Gulf Coast coun- ties affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill that will oversee how Florida's pot of BP fine money is spent. However, according to Sarasota's delegate, Gov. Rick Scott is asking for a big say in where those dollars are directed. The money in question will come from pen- alties paid by BP to the federal government, which could add up to anywhere from $5 bil- lion to $20 billion. Bipartisan federal legisla- tion known as the RESTORE Act divvies up that money among national grants, a state fund and direct assistance to counties. The Florida Association of Counties spearheaded the creation of the Gulf Coast consortium to direct where that state pot goes. Last Tuesday, Oct. 23, Commissioner Nora Patterson — picked as Sarasota's represen- tative in the new consortium — gave a brief recap of the group's first meeting to her fellow board members, announcing that Scott wants the right "to appoint 25 percent of the consor- tium members and appoint its chairman." Say- ing she was "not all that surprised" at Scott's request, Patterson added that Florida Associ- ation of Counties leaders are planning to meet with Scott to discuss what his role might be.

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