St. Augustine, Fla. -- July 19, 2011
In the midst of budget cuts and talk of the government running out of money...
Sen. Bill Nelson says:
"We have to raise the debt ceiling so the United States government can pay its bills."
The oldest city in the nation, the city of St. Augustine, is throwing one more bill the government's way.
A 450th Birthday party extravaganza.
"This is the kickoff of not only the celebration for St. Augustine, but for Florida and the United States."
Since 450 only comes around once, the city is putting a lot of work and money into it.
The commemoration commission is authorized to receive $500,000 in federal funding each year from 2012 until the anniversary in 2015.
And it doesn't stop there.
Congressman John Mica's office has drawn up blueprints for a new visitor orientation center in the Spanish quarter with a price tag between $10 million to $17 million depending on the final design.
Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, says:
"It will be up to the commission here locally to help us figure out what the budget is going to be and how much money is going to have to be raised to get the celebration accomplished."
The hope is the festivities will create jobs and bring in tourism dollars, something dear to local tour guide Gayle Jenkins' heart.
Tour Guide Gayle Jenkins says:
"Look what they spend millions on anyway. Why not? Why not give something to people that appreciate it."
But others argue there are better options.
"I mean we could probably spend it on other things."