The Bridge, at 421 S. Palmetto Ave

On June 15, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a record $116.5 billion budget into effect for the 2023-24 fiscal year. However, cuts made to the budget between when the Legislature passed it to the governor and when it was signed into law affected West Volusia.

Florida’s top executive holds the power to go line by line in the budget and eliminate individual items. That means that when the Florida Legislature passed along a $117 billion budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year, the governor trimmed $500 million worth of expenditures, including funding for DeLand’s homeless shelter, improvements to Orange City’s municipal facilities and a flood control study in Deltona. 

In DeLand’s case, Mayor Chris Cloudman said losing out on $500,000 from the state for The Bridge — the homeless shelter operated by The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia but paid for partially by the City of DeLand — will leave the city looking around for additional funding streams. Especially, Cloudman said, since the City of Deltona is no longer contributing to the shelter’s operation.

“We had a lot of support both on the Senate side and the House side,” Cloudman said during the June 19 DeLand City Commission meeting, “so that means we’re going to have to look at that.”

To ensure funding is found for the homeless shelter, he said, the city may have to look to the community for help, or add additional funding to the city’s budget next year.

Other cuts to West Volusia area operations and municipalities included a veto of $96,000 for Volusia Recovery Alliance, a nonprofit organization focused on substance abuse recovery. While the organization gets federal funding for other programs, they were hopeful to get the additional funds to expand existing programs.

“Of course we’re disappointed, but I understand that Governor DeSantis needed to make some cuts, because there is other funding for recovery coming down the pike,” Volusia Recovery Alliance Executive Director Karen Chrapek said. “We were going to use it to expand our recovery program in the county jail in Volusia.”

Other high-profile cuts to the budget include, per the News Service of Florida, a $100 million cut of Conservation and Rural Land Protection easements. Those easements help maintain protected environmental land while protecting the livelihoods of farmers.

The final passed budget was signed into law by DeSantis June 15. Dubbed the “Framework for Freedom Budget” by the governor’s office, it includes $1.1 billion in funding for increasing teacher salaries across the state, $130 million to increase public safety salaries across the state and $102.5 million to launch an initiative to build training facilities for the Florida National Guard.

To view the full list of items vetoed from Florida’s 2023-24 fiscal year budget, click HERE.


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