Pinellas Co. asks public for input on spending oil spill money

- Pinellas County commissioners want ideas from the public, its employees and other local governments before deciding how to spend one-time settlement money it got from the 2010 BP oil spill.

Last summer, the county received a $7.1 million settlement for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. 

The cash has been sitting in a bank account for months, and county commission chairman Charlie Justice stressed the unusual opportunity. 

"Normally, in government, you get funds through the taxation process or grants from the federal government or the state government, and they have to be spent a very certain way," Justice told FOX 13 News, "This is wide open.  Has zero restrictions.  We can spend it anyway we see is best, and so (do?) I think we don't want to blow this opportunity."

To gather ideas, the county has posted a form on pinellascounty.org for residents to give input.

"We've made this clear to our county employees: If you see a need in the community that we're not seeing, please share that as well," Justice said. 

The deadline for submitting suggestions is April 29. 

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