Thursday, January 20, 2011

Century Commission says it should develop Florida strategic plan

The Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida says it wants to help Florida develop a strategic plan as suggested by Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott in November told the Florida Council of 100 that the state "lacks a sufficiently focused strategic plan," according to a copy of a prepared speech.

The Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida was established by the Legislature in 2005 to recommend ways to accommodate population growth while maintaining the state's quality of life. In its annual report to the Legislature this week, the commission recommended that the state adopt such a strategic plan that provides for the state's social, environmental and economic future.

The commission also requested $1 million over the next two years to develop and complete the plan with public input. Upon completion, the commission recommends that the Legislature abolish the panel.

"The work of the commission could go on forever," said Tim Center, the Century Commission's executive director. "That is not technically its role. The commission felt by a date certain it should complete its work of helping the state plan for its future."

The Joint Legislative Sunset Review Committee last year nearly voted to abolish the Century Commission. Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Brandon, said other agencies now are overseeing growth management and water use. The Century Commission at the time also was working on a fact-finding report about offshore oil drilling.

Instead of eliminating the Century Commission, the Legislature continued reducing the commission's budget -- to zero.

According to Center, the commission received $450,000 in 2007-08 and $18,000 in 2008-09. Center said the Collins Center for Public Policy now provides staff for the commission and panel members pay out of their own pockets to attend commission meetings.

In addition to recommending completion of the strategic plan, the Century Commission recommended that the state develop an energy policy, citing the Legislature's failure to adopt comprehensive energy bills in recent years.

The Century Commission also recommended that priority recommendations from the 2008 Water Congress be adopted, including reinstating legislative funding for alternative water supplies.

(Story provided by the Florida Tribune. Story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Do not copy or redistribute without permission, which can be obtained by contacting

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