PENSACOLA, Fla. (WEAR-TV) — The Escambia County Board of Commissioners passed a 4-1 vote during Thursday’s meeting to contribute another $5 million to the ST Engineering project.
The move brings the County’s total contributions to the effort at around $15 million. The funds are mostly coming from local option sales taxes.
The vote comes after a narrow vote by Pensacola City Council on Wednesday, putting another $5 million of its own towards the effort.
Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson is spearheading the initiative to expand the aerospace firm in the region. The plan is to add an additional three hangars to ST Engineering, projected to bring upwards of 1,300 jobs. Those jobs earning an average of $45,000 per year.
Robinson said there is urgent timing to secure the deal though, with a February 14th ST Engineering Board meeting, the Singapore-based company’s leadership needs to see commitment to bring the $210 million project to life.
Robinson said previously secured State funds have suddenly fallen through, leaving a $45 million gap in funding. He said the project will spearhead economic growth that would benefit not just the City but also the County and other groups involved.
“We are going to do things for our community, and our children going forward, so they can participate in the aviation industry. Which is a growing industry worldwide at this point,” Mayor Robinson explained.
During the County’s meeting, six public speakers approached the podium. Of those public speakers two spoke out against the project, expressing they would rather see the funds go to streetlights and other road improvements.
"We will remember you [County Commissioners] choosing a foreign national company over your people, your children, that are getting hit in the streets,” Jacqueline Rogers said during public comment.
Mayor Robinson is heading to Panama City on Friday to meet with the Triumph Gulf Coast Board. He will be asking them for $12.5 million and will also seek an additional $20 million from the State.