Investigation leads to $2-million in savings - FOX 13 News

Investigation leads to $2-million in savings

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Farmers need sunlight and water to make their crops grow, but they didn't need a new internet-based calendar to help them figure out the best way to go about their business.

However, Florida lawmakers planned to push forward spending $4-million to build a new online calendar called PADLOC, an acronym which stands for Precision Agriculture Daily Logistics Online Calendar. But a FOX 13 investigation earlier this year exposed the waste, and state leaders in Tallahassee put the brakes on the project, which will save taxpayers millions.

"The final outcome was that half of it was redirected to water efficiency and nutrient reduction technologies and the other half was redirected to the Department of Environmental Protection by the legislature, and then ultimately line-item vetoed by the governor," explained Adam Putnam, Florida's commissioner of agriculture.

Putnam says the $2-million savings is a good for the people of Florida.

"I think anytime you can have a smarter use of dollars that will yield a tangible result, that's a win for the taxpayers."

State Senator Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, agrees with the commissioner of agriculture. Back in February, he showed our story to fellow lawmakers in Tallahassee.

"I know your story that came out on FOX 13 was a bit embarrassing, I think, to the entire legislature," said Fasano.

He created an amendment to move the money approved for the farm calendar to the Department of Forestry to buy firefighting equipment, but the idea never caught fire with lawmakers.

Still, Fasano told FOX 13, he's very happy with the final outcome.

"The calendar was a perfect example of a vendor-driven appropriation and it never should have been approved in the first place."

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