Council delays vote on spending BP money for sewers
The City Council postponed a decision Monday to spend $1.5 million in settlement money from the BP oil spill on the city's aging sewer system.
The decision came on the heels of passionate statements from advocates for the arts and residents of some of the city's southern neighborhoods, each with their own designs on the money.
Of the $6.5 million St. Petersburg has received from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill settlement, the council agreed only to designate $250,000. That money will help the Florida Institute of Oceanography buy a new $6 million marine research vessel.
The current vessel, which helped the Florida Institute of Oceanography study the effects of the spill, is more than 40 years old and on its last legs, said Bill Hogarth, the center's director. He told council members that the project has $3.2 million in pledges from 14 member institutions, including the University of South Florida, Eckerd College, Florida A&M University and the Florida State University.
Mayor Rick Kriseman has presented a slate of spending proposals for how to spend the BP money, from supporting the arts to contributing toward commuter ferry service across Tampa Bay. The mayor had suggested $1 million get spent on sewer system repairs in the wake of massive discharges after heavy summer rains.