Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Celebrates Legislative Accomplishments
June 21, 2019
TALLAHASSEE – On its 30th anniversary, the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs continues to be the premier point of entry for Florida veterans to access earned services, benefits and support. The agency’s budget resulting from the recently concluded 2019 Florida Legislative Session was signed into law today by Gov. Ron DeSantis and continues its legacy of excellence.
“I’m proud of Governor DeSantis, our Cabinet and legislature in supporting FDVA and the 1.5 million veterans of our state,” said Danny Burgess, executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “Together, we will work to ensure Florida continues to lead the charge as the most veteran-friendly state in the nation.”
The legislature approved an agency budget of approximately $132 million for the state fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019. More than $120 million comes from trust funds established to support the agency. The remaining $12 million comes from general revenue.
Supporting Florida’s Veterans in Their Communities
The budget supports the daily operations of Florida’s six state-run veterans’ nursing homes and one assisted living facility. These facilities provide essential services and care to veterans throughout Florida.
- $1,741,940 for 21 registered nurses and senior certified nursing assistants to keep adequate staffing levels in compliance with mandated minimum daily staffing requirements for skilled nursing, direct care full time equivalent employees within the nursing units in each veterans’ home.
- $739,164 in the Other Personal Services (OPS) and $4,815 in the HR Assessment Appropriation Categories. This will allow the department to hire approximately 45 additional OPS employees to support the State Veterans’ Homes direct care requirements and pay for their group health insurance coverage.
- $1,136,000, to support the replacement and purchase of furniture and medical/non-medical/recreational equipment necessary for the daily operations of the State Veterans’ Homes.
- Operating Capital Outlay Category – $1,094,300 from the Operation and Maintenance Trust Fund to replace furniture and old or obsolete medical and non-medical equipment that have reached or exceeded its useful life.
- Expenses Category – $41,700 from the Grants and Donations Trust Fund to purchase recreational equipment and furnishings that improve the quality of life for the resident veterans.
Robert H. Jenkins Jr. Veterans’ Domiciliary Home in Lake City:
- $260,000 for interior bathroom upgrades for residential rooms.
Emory L. Bennett State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Daytona Beach:
- $160,000 for painting of interior spaces, the replacement of heat pumps regulating room temperatures and upgrade to the parking lot lighting system.
Baldomero Lopez State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Land O’ Lakes:
- $215,000 for the replacement of heat pumps, mechanical pumps, cooling towers and hot water tanks regulating the building’s air and water temperature.
Alexander “Sandy” Nininger State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Pembroke Pines:
- $240,000 for interior bathroom upgrades for residential rooms, and the replacement of a heat pump and air handlers which regulate building temperatures.
Clifford C. Sims State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Panama City:
- $210,000 for the installation of underground drainage pipes around the property, replacement of fan coil units helping regulate temperature, and the replacement of ceiling tiles in common areas throughout the facility. $85,000 has also been allocated for a replacement resident transport vehicle.
Douglas T. Jacobson State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Port Charlotte:
- $270,000 for the replacement of the home’s hot water heaters, and replacement of copper water piping throughout areas of the home. $85,000 has also been allocated for a replacement resident transport vehicle.
Clyde E. Lassen State Veterans’ Nursing Home in St. Augustine:
- $200,000 for painting of interior spaces and replacement of air handler units throughout the veterans’ home.
Ardie R. Copas State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Port St. Lucie:
- The budget provides continued funding for the completion of the Ardie R. Copas State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Port St. Lucie. The 120-bed skilled nursing facility is scheduled to open in early 2020.
Lake Baldwin State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Orlando:
- The 112-bed skilled nursing facility, which previously had been a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs community living center, is scheduled to open in early 2020. Funding for annualization and start-up operational costs are included in the budget.
Benefits and Assistance
- $209,000 for two additional program specialists in the Division of Veterans’ Benefits and Assistance, Bureau of State Approving Agency for Veterans Education and Training. SAA is an agency within the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs and is responsible for approving and monitoring programs of education and training offered within the state to those who are eligible for GI Bill® education benefits. The funding for these positions is 100% federally reimbursed.
- $20,000 to support women veterans’ programs, including presentations, outreach events and women veterans’ symposiums around the state of Florida.
- $174,000 to support the five-year replacement plan of the department’s computer equipment and $339,000 for the modernization of the department’s network backbone and appropriate network security.
- $1,500,000 to meet the duties and responsibilities established by the legislature for the Veterans Entrepreneur and Training Services (VETS) Business Training Grants Program.
- $1,000,000 to meet the duties and responsibilities established by the legislature under s. 295.22, F.S. for the Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETS) Entrepreneurship Program.
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