Signaling a possible improvement in intergovernmental relations, the Indian River County Commission yesterday voted to seek admission in the Indian River Lagoon Council.
Newly elected Commissioner, Susan Adams, was joined by Lagoon advocate, Tim Zorc, and Peter O’Bryan in reversing the Commission’s staunch resistance to participating with Brevard, Saint Lucie, Martin, and Palm Beach Counties, along with the St. John’s Water Management District, the South Florida Water Management District, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protect in a multi-county, intergovernmental effort to address the Indian River Lagoon crisis.
To more aggressively address the Lagoon crisis, these counties an agencies, absent Indian River County, joined together to participate in the National Estuary Program. The group oversees and helps fund projects designed to improve the health of the Lagoon.
In early 2015, following the advice of Commissioner Bob Solari, the County Commission declined to join the regional effort to save the Lagoon. By choosing not to participate, the Commission was left without representation and input into how local, state and federal money is be spent in a regional effort to save the Lagoon.
Commissioner O’Bryan explained that he had heard from many county residents who were concerned about Indian River County’s absence from the program.
In the Commission’s absence, Fellsmere, Sebastian and Vero Beach leaders sought and received membership in the Lagoon Council. If the County Commission is now hold the county’s seat on the Lagoon Council, the group’s board will have to approve the request, and the County will need to reimburse Fellsmere, Sebastian and Vero Beach the $50,000 in annual does paid to participate.