The Pensacola City Council and Escambia County Commission voted in September to fund a portion of the Pensacola Airport’s Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Triumph Gulf Coast Project. The Triumph Gulf Coast Board of Directors voted earlier this summer to commit $56 million to the project pending the securing of additional state and federal government funding.
The initial request to the Escambia County Commission was for $12 million to support the MRO project. The commission spent a great deal of time discussing the amount of funding and when the payments should be made. Commissioner Doug Underhill spoke against the funding, stating that the cost per job was too high to justify the expenditure. Commissioner Lumon May stated he would support the project but wanted that contingent on all other government funding partners fulfilling their commitments by the year 2023. City consultant Dave Penzone stated that the city has been working to front load as much of the funding as possible.
The commission voted 4-1 to support the project with $10 million from Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) funds. The $10 million payment will be spread over four years and includes a forgiveness of city debt to the county for funding of Phase One of the ST-Aerospace project. So the county will not be making any payments for at least two more years.
The city council voted unanimously to support a $10 million contribution to the project. Mayor Ashton Hayward presented the proposal at the September council meeting. Hayward thanked all the parties that have been involved with the project including personally thanking each county commissioner for their support. Councilwoman Jewel Cannada-Wynn stated that she would support the project but wanted to see an effort to employ citizens from some of the underprivileged communities at ST-Aerospace.