Tensions mount between Palm Bay City Council, Rep. Fine over funding
PALM BAY, Fla. - A funding fallout in Palm Bay now has city leaders getting the governor involved.
The Palm Bay city council is calling out State Representative Randy Fine, claiming he pulled his support of critical bills that would help with infrastructure and public safety improvements.
The state representative is denying those claims, saying he’s securing millions of dollars for the entire county.
A letter is now on its way to Gov. DeSantis’s desk outlining the growing issue. In the letter, Palm Bay leaders say the city was recently made aware Representative Fine pulled his support for projects in the city including widening the St. Johns Heritage Parkway, the regional police training facility, septic-to-sewer conversions, and P-25 compliant radios for the fire department.
"These are the people that voted you into the office to advocate on their behalf and to represent them, not misrepresent them," said Kenny Johnson who brought up the issue at their March 16 City Council meeting.
The state representative is fighting back and defending his record.
"I’ve not pulled one dollar of funding for the city of Palm Bay," said state representative Randy Fine. "Every dollar that we’ve procured for them in the budget in the past, they’ve gotten."
Representative Fine shared the house’s new budget breakdown with Fox 35 on Friday, showing millions of dollars on the way across the county. The list includes money for the robotics lab at Palm Bay academy and Sacrifice Park safety improvements, but those aren’t the projects city leaders were worried about in the letter they sent.
"If it was earlier on, we could have garnered support from another representative or somebody else, but the timing of which he pulled support for the funding also is what hurt us as well," Johnson said.
"This is a council that is just in disarray right now," Fine added. "I honestly don’t know what they’re talking about."
This funding fallout is now fueling tension between local and state elected officials in the county.
"We can disagree on policies, procedures, and whatnot, but what we can’t disagree on is serving our community," Johnson concluded.
"This government in Palm Bay is such a disaster, one wonders if they should even exist," Fine concluded.
In addition to sending a letter to the governor, Palm Bay also sent a letter raising these concerns to the speaker of the house.