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Grading our 2018 predictions

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As we started the year of 2018, The Hernando Sun made six predictions. We are checking back to see how we did with the predictions.

Development is heating up again. We expect more growth in 2018 than has been in any of the previous 5 years. This past year saw significantly more growth than previous years. The lack of subcontractors (plumbing, electrical, block, etc) is one of the limiting factors on growth in Hernando County. When speaking with contractors they are having to delay projects, because they are not able to find subcontractors with availability in the near term. Many of the subcontractors are booked for months in the future. After the last housing crash, many of the subcontractors either found new careers or left the area.

How’d we do? Development in Hernando County has shifted into high gear. The rate of building permits for single family homes increased substantially. There are several large developments that are working though the process including: Milk-A-Way Farms (999 dwelling units and commercial space) and Spring Center (3000 dwelling units and commercial space) are a couple of the larger developments. We were correct on this prediction.

 The City of Brooksville has had significant budget struggles. One of the issues that has been brought up is that the Sheriff’s Office provides services that overlap with the city police department. The taxpayers of Brooksville are paying for both the county and city for patrol and investigation services. There are several options that have been discussed. One option was opting out of the county provided services, but this would most likely require the Sheriff’s Office to have their funding source changed to a Municipal Service Taxation Unit (MSTU), rather than being funded directly from the county. The Sheriff opposes the MSTU and the political will to create an MSTU without the Sheriff’s blessing does not seem to exist. Another option would be to have the county provide the services for the city and for the city to stop providing these services. Even researching this option was quickly met with resistance from many Brooksville residents. They felt that if Brooksville stopped providing these services, it would be only a matter of time until the city was no longer seen as necessary. Recall petitions were circulated, putting pressure on city council members to keep city police. It looks like next year the City of Brooksville will have another tough budget where they put off all but the most dire discretionary spending.

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How’d we do?
The City of Brooksville has ceased operating their own police force, they have contracted with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office to supply policing services. The City of Brooksville made a tough choice to close their police department and contract with the Sheriff’s Office. Although, they still had a contentious budget with the city budget passing by a vote of 3-2. We were only half right on this as the city made a tough decision to use the County Sheriff for policing, but still had a difficult budget which dipped into the reserves.

After the Florida Blueberry Festival plans fell through, the former Quarry Golf Course property was left in limbo. As part of the Florida Blueberry Festival plans it was intended to be a venue for events. These plans were complicated by the lawsuit filed by the former lessee of the Quarry Golf Course. The Quarry is home to a frisbee golf course. We do not foresee development of the  Quarry until after the lawsuit from the former lessee is adjudicated, so we predict nothing will happen with it this year. The first step will be the passing of a master plan for the Quarry Golf Course which we do expect to happen this year.

How’d we do?
The Quarry Golf Course has been largely dormant in this year’s discussions. There was a closed session of the City Council in late 2017 to discuss the lawsuit. There does not appear to have been significant movement on future plans for the quarry. We are taking full credit on this prediction.

The county government is working on the first major overhaul of the comprehensive plan, since 1990. It was not passed in 2017, because of some objections of business leaders. We expect only minor changes to the comprehensive plan in 2018, with these changes passing.

How’d we do?
The County’s Comprehensive Plan updates passed in March. The major change was the approval of the land use change that will allow the expansion of the CEMEX mine on the property off of State Road 50 across from Bayfront Regional in Brooksville. We are taking full credit on this prediction.

We do not expect Hernando County to be greatly affected by a hurricane in 2018. Last year, Hernando received a direct strike from Hurricane Irma. This caused a major disruption in electrical service that lasted more than a week and flooding along the Withlacoochee which lasted more than a month.
The previous year the coastal communities including Aripeka, Hernando Beach, Weeki Wachee, and Pine Island saw flooding levels from Hurricane Hermine that had not been seen since the No Name Storm of 1993. After two fairly active local hurricane years, we are optimistically predicting a quiet 2018.

How’d we do?
Hernando County was not majorly affected by a hurricane in 2018. After two years in a row of hurricane impacts we received a reprieve this year. We are taking full credit on this prediction.

Over the past couple of years we have seen a number of new stores open their doors in Hernando. We are predicting that one of the following retailers will make plans to open in Hernando County: Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods. The reason for this prediction is that we see these stores expanding their presence in the near future and we would love to have them.

How’d we do?
Costco is expanding out from the Tampa area with their new store in Wesley Chapel/Lutz. Aldi’s which is a cousin store to Trader Joe’s recently opened in Hernando County. Whole Foods was recently purchased by Amazon and this may lead to an expansion.
This was our wild prediction and not unexpectedly it was completely wrong. Although we do plan to continue predicting this until it actually happens. We were wrong for this year and will receive no credit.
Overall we managed a score of 4.5 correct out of 6 predictions or 75% correct. In school that would be a C, but in baseball that batting average would get you into the Hall of Fame.

Stay tuned for our 2019 predictions.


Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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