UPDATE: The County Commission voted 4-1 to award a $1.4 million no-bid grant contract to the EDC with Commissioner Trudie Infantini being the sole no vote. Infantini said that she did not believe that the grant to the EDC was legal because the County did not place the grant contract, which she considered to be a services contract, out for a competitive bid pursuant to the County's procurement policy.
VIERA, Florida -- On the Brevard County Commission September 16, 2014 Meeting Agenda is a proposal from the County Attorney's Office to substantially modify the existing service contract between the County and the Economic Development Commission of Florida Space Coast (EDC) in an attempt to evade the responsibilities of the new requirements of Florida's Sunshine Law.
According to documents filed with the Commission, County Attorney Scott Knox is recommending that the County Manager's Office be designated the economic development agency of the County. "The effect of the resolution will be to formally require requests for economic development confidentiality exemptions from the public records laws to be filed directly with the County Manager, thereby expressly leaving the EDC in its current role as a private economic development agency," Knox wrote in a memo to Commissioners.
Knox also proposes that the current service contract between the EDC and the County be changed to a grant contract. "The grant agreement is proposed in lieu of renewing the services agreement which could possibly bring the EDC under the public records law in accordance with the recently enacted s. 119.071, Florida Statutes," Knox wrote. "Though the EDC must still conform to public records laws and exemptions thereto with regard to EDC record[s] specifically related to a county project, as defined in the agreement, all other records of the EDC - including contact lists, telephone records, and leads would remain private records free from disclosure to competing economic development agencies in Florida and other states, as well as to competitors with EDC projects."
The proposed grant amount from the County to the EDC is $1,400,050 - the same amount as last year's service contract between the County and the EDC. According to the County Manager's proposed budget, County spending on economic development will nearly triple in the 2014-15 fiscal year because the County will spend an additional $3.2 million on the newly-created North Brevard Economic Development Zone.