Niceville is one step closer to knocking down its wastewater treatment plant with $1.5 million in state money after a favorable vote in the state legislature on January 31st.

The Agricultural and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee voted 10-0 to move HB 4545 (the bill that would appropriate that money for the abandonment and removal of the plant) into the appropriations committee for another up or down vote.

Five members were not present for the subcommittee vote.

Next up, the bill still needs to get a thumbs-up vote from the appropriations committee.

From there, it will head to the house floor for a vote by the entire Florida State House of Representatives.

Then, the bill must also get passed in the Florida State Senate – or the conference committee of the house and senate must approve it in what’s called a ‘conference committee bill.’ After that, it would head to the governor’s mansion.

If it escapes the blade of the governor’s line-item veto pen – the money will be appropriated to remove the wastewater treatment plant.

Then, the City of Niceville will be able to knock the wastewater treatment plant down and use the land for something else, such as a park or green space.

The idea of using this land as a park or green space was brought up eight times in the appropriations application.

Long story short, Niceville still has a good shot at knocking down the old wastewater treatment plant and shipping wastewater to the county facility near Fort Walton Beach.

If the bill gets through all of these hoops in Tallahassee, we could get green space for a park or something similar on the land the treatment facility currently sits on.

Worth rooting for, right?

Making It Rain – This is How Appropriations Bills Work:

There is still a pretty long way for the bill to go before the money becomes a reality. There are five steps before a bill can become law (cue this music):

Come on, you knew that was coming, right?

  1. The bill passes through the relevant subcommittee(s) – in this case, the Florida State House Agricultural and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee.
  2. The bill passes through the relevant committee(s) – in this case, the Florida State House Appropriations Committee.
  3. The bill passes a vote of the entire Florida House of Representatives.
  4. The bill is reconciled with its counterpart bill in the Florida State Senate – in this case, there is not a State Senate Bill, so this would have to make it through the Conference Committee Process.
  5. The governor does not use his line-item veto on the appropriation that would give the money to make this happen. He then signs the budget, which includes this appropriation into law.

Here’s the official rundown on how this process works in Tallahassee

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