Panama City, FL – The Triumph Gulf Coast board of directors voted on Friday to establish the Hurricane Michael Major Disaster Recovery Program (the Program.) Hurricane Michael is the most intense storm on record to hit the Florida Panhandle, and is among the top four most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the United States. The Program sets aside $15M to address loss of ad valorem property taxes or an identified priority for economic recovery, diversification, and enhancement in Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla counties which were declared major disaster areas after Hurricane Michael.
Hurricane-related expenses incurred by local governments within Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla Counties from Hurricane Michael are immense. The increase in expenses, combined with the anticipated drop in the taxable value of assessed assets further constraints the ability of these counties to move forward with post-oil spill recovery efforts.
By statute, Triumph Gulf Coast is authorized to “make awards from available funds to projects and priorities that meet the priorities from economic recovery, diversification and enhancement of disproportionately affected counties.” Triumph Gulf Coast recognizes that the impacted counties’ ability to maintain or reduce ad valorem tax rates is a priority for economic recovery, diversification and enhancement of the disproportionately affected counties.
Through their respective County Commissions, the Michael impacted counties may apply to Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., for an award of funds to address the projected loss of ad valorem property tax asset value or otherwise identify a recovery expenditure which meets the statutory and/or board established priorities for economic recovery, diversification, and enhancement of the said Counties.
In other business, the Triumph Board also agreed to grant the City of Pensacola an additional $10M toward the expansion of the Pensacola Airport MRO Aviation Campus. This transformative investment will enhance Northwest Florida’s position as a leader in the aviation and aerospace industry.
Triumph Gulf Coast’s transformational $66M grant to the City of Pensacola in Escambia County follows the opening of the first new MRO hangar at the Pensacola International Airport. At full buildout the MRO Aviation Campus’s four MRO hangers, administrative building, warehouse and shop space will have the capacity to house over 1,725 new jobs and cost $334,825,000.00.
Current project funding partners include the City of Pensacola, Escambia County, the State of Florida/Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering, and the Industry Recruitment, Retention and Expansion Fund. Local economic development agencies, educational institutions, and tenant companies will work together to implement training programs to create a sustainable workforce. Job functions at the MRO Campus are expected to include Master Airplane Technicians, Aircraft Inspectors, Master Structures Technicians, Sheet Metal Mechanics, and Avionics Technicians.
Triumph Gulf Coast’s board of directors is appointed by the Governor, Chief Financial Officer, Attorney General and presiding officers of the Legislature. The appointees to the Triumph Board are Allan Bense, Stan Connally, Jr, Dr. Pam Dana, Chair Don Gaetz, Ben Lee, and Stephen Riggs, IV and Jason Shoaf. All meetings of the board are public.