ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Election of Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Second Vice Chairman
Commissioner Wayne Dukes nominated Commissioner John Mitten for Chairman. “It is my distinct pleasure, based on his growth in his short time here, and the amount of effort he puts in to this job to nominate Commissioner John Mitten as our Chair.
BOCC Chairman Steve Champion asked for a second, for which there was none.
Commissioner John Allocco and Chairman Champion both asked Mitten if he was interested in being the Chairman. “Are you sure you want the job?” Champion asked.
“Yes, he wants the job,” said Dukes. “Pass the gavel, Chairman. If you want to second it, pass the gavel.”
Mitten then answered, “Frankly, I didn’t think about it at all, until recently. I would think that it would find perhaps better use for those who are running next year, if I were to do it … that being said, I am asked to serve, that’s why I’m here, and if I’m asked to serve, that’s what I’ll do.”
“I can’t of any reason why anyone even questions that. That’s not the process,” Dukes said, “If there’s no second, there won’t be any seconds for any, right? What is this?”
Champion stated, “We can have another nomination, if you want.”
Commissioner John Allocco nominated Commissioner Jeff Holcomb. “This is his fourth year. I’d like to see him there.
Champion said that he had no preference between Mitten and Holcomb, but asked Holcomb if he would be interested in the BOCC Chair position since he is Chairman of the RAC, to which Holcomb answered affirmatively.
Commissioner Mitten seconded Holcomb’s nomination.
Dukes called for a discussion.
“All of my career, I have worked in large organizations, and most of that time, I was in upper management with hiring and firing abilities. One of the things I would have never done is place someone in charge of an agency when there’s known bias against the people in that agency. There is no way I can support Commissioner Holcomb for Chair, because he hasn’t shown that he has a working relationship with our administrator. In fact, the rumor is that he’d like to fire (County Administrator Len Sossamon) today.”
(County Administrator Sossamon was terminated at the Jan. 29, 2019 meeting.)
Commissioner Jeff Holcomb was elected Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners in a 4-1 vote.
After a short recess to switch officers, the board reconvened. Chairman Holcomb called for a nomination of Vice Chair. Allocco began by saying, “I want to make it clear, I think Commissioner Mitten is very well qualified, however we just had an election, and he is appointed. However I would agree that great chairman in (Holcomb’s) stead, and I would like to make the nomination for Commissioner Mitten to be our Vice Chairman.”
Commissioner John Mitten was elected Vice Chairman 5-0.
Champion nominated Allocco for Second Vice Chair, which also passed 5-0.
County’s retained claim to minerals, gas and oil on property sold
Ahmed Hamed explained, “The reserved interest as it reads on my deed states, ‘Hernando county reserves an undivided ¾ interest in title and all phosphate minerals and metals that are or may be in, on or under said land, and an undivided ½ interest in all petroleum that is, or may be in or under said land with the privilege to mine and develop same.’ I’m here to petition Hernando County to release its interest and title in my lot. My right to make this petition, and your authority to release this interest claim is established in Florida Statute 270.113, which states, “A local government, water management district or agency of the state, at its discretion sell or release reserved interest in any parcel of land, except that such sale or release shall be made upon petition of the purchaser for such interests and with a statement of reasons justifying such sale or release.” He also found two petitions in July 2016, where the county attorney’s office recommended release.
Emails to County Officials
Bill Loomis continued an ongoing commentary about not having received a response to an email to commissioners that he sent on March 29, 2017. He said brought the issue up on Oct. 9 and Nov. 27, 2018 meetings as well as the previous meeting.
He closed by saying, “So, Mr. Coller, if you have any questions about my question, I’d be more than happy to answer them at the next meeting because I have used up my three minutes.
Please, Rick (Foti), I would like to order a copy of this meeting dated January 18, 2018.”
Self Fueling at BKV
Gary Schraut addressed the board on the matter of a self-fueling operator at BKV. “This is going to be strange coming from me because I strongly … oppose self-fueling at the airport. It’s an unprofitable venture for our FBO (Fixed Base Operator). The operating rules require that the FBO sell that gas, and if (the FBO) didn’t have to sell that gass, he wouldn’t. Selling jet fuel, he’s required to do. So, the odd part about my discussion today is that the best partner the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport has had for over twenty years, has been the FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation). To go this far to get the grant, if I agree or disagree … I think we should revisit that. Let them know you’re revisiting it. I’m requesting you do…
With the new board coming into place, they can do some investigations on how this may be proper to move forward. I’ll stress, I do not want Hernando County in the fuel business. You don’t want to be in the fuel business… Our fuel prices .. I cannot tell you how many studies we’ve done on fuel sales at the airport, we’ve always been medium-range. As far as the quality of your airport, we’re not medium-range, we’re the finest general aviation airport in the entire state of Florida, over and over again…
I ask that with respect to our partner, FDOT that we revisit this, look at it, and look at what would happen if we use these funds, create this new asset at the airport, and then search for a qualified operator with a history of doing this successfully. Because we can build it, if you don’t turn it on, yes, it’s a waste…”
(Commissioners voted in favor of moving forward on the aircraft self fueling facility in 5-0 vote on Jan. 29, 2019.)
Shauna Lloyd, Partnership Specialist for the Central Florida 2020 census addressed the board regarding the upcoming census. “Since 1790 the US has been taking a census of the population. It’s quite important, because that’s how the money is allocated, as well as our representation. We here in Florida actually gained two seats in the last census in 2010, so now we’re the third largest state after California and Texas. That was a very exciting development.
This has been strictly based on the number of people here in Florida. The census information is highly confidential. It’s sealed for 72 years, and there is Title 13 protection — we can’t turn it over to any governmental agency. The reason for this is because we want everyone to respond to the census. If people don’t respond, then the counties and the cities aren’t getting the proper allocated money and resources for the people of their constituents.
The census is currently reaching out… to let you know we’ve started the education process. We’re going to be reaching out to you in the current months to work with you to form what we call ‘Complete Count Committees.’ Your Complete Count Committee is going to decide how best to reach the constituents of your county. These are going to be people of the county, in different sectors; education, small business… whatever entities you think would better impact your constituents.
Our job is to basically support you, to provide you with all of the information that you’re going to need going forward for the count.
The other reason the census is very important is the dollars. Florida’s estimated to get over $29-billion for federal funds. The money that’s determined in the census is actually going to be used for the next decade. So, a miscount, or anyone that’s not counted severely impacts a county’s budget. We want to make sure Hernando County and every other county in Florida is getting an accurate and complete count.
So, I’m reaching out… to say ‘hello’ and introduce myself, and to let you know that I’ll be reaching out to you individually, and also leave a packet here with you as well.”
Commissioner Jeff Holcomb asked about important dates associated with the census, which Lloyd replied, “April 1, which is the actual census date. This is the day everyone is supposed to respond. There are a few things that are different with the census this time, it is going to be self-reported. Any electronic device, internet is how it’s going to be done. You’ll receive a mailer sometime this spring … two postcards that are geotagged for your address.
The census is not recording information for me, myself, they’re recording on 123 Maple Street. (The Census) will send a postcard to that address with a code, saying to please go online, enter this code with the number of people in this household.
Then on April 1, all the numbers are due. Whoever does not respond by April 1 will have an ‘enumerator’ come to the door … The enumerators will be hired locally, and will (reside within the county).
Commissioner Wayne Dukes asked for clarification on information he recently received online, “The census counts people who are not here legally?”
Lloyd answered, “Correct, we count everyone. Because the census money is going to be used for everything from school programs to Pell grants, to the money that you get for construction of roadways. So regardless of the actual status, what happens is they’re actually using the resources. That’s why the information has been protected. It’s been that way since (President) Truman. They want the actual resources to go to where the numbers of people are.”
Backyard Duck Hunting on Hunter’s Lake
Christopher Enger of Spring Hill said to the board, “On January first of this year, our neighborhood was woken with gunshots in our backyard. You guys have since gotten the emails and phone calls from me and my neighbors.
We found out that there was duck hunting in our backyards. With the rain that we’ve had this fall, we now water in our canal on Hunter’s Lake. I’ve lived here for now 31 years at the same address. Me, my 11-year-old daughter, and my 19-year-old daughter … we’re all there. In those 31 years, we’ve only had 1 issue, and that was an alligator about 25 years ago…
We’ve called the Sheriff’s department and found out they’re allowed to hunt back there. Then we called the Florida Wildlife Commission, and found out they’re allowed to hunt. Then we were stunned to find out that they can actually hunt within five feet of our property.
We found that all we can do is get them for a ‘reckless discharge of a firearm’ which is a felony in Florida. We have no idea how that works, because our Sheriff’s office had no idea that law was even there when they first (responded).
I’ve reached out to you, commissioners, and I’ve heard that you are going to get with legal to find out what you can do.
We have children in our neighborhood. We have veterans with PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder), and we have elderly neighbors who walk early in the morning. We were told that if you get shot … you can just go to the hospital, and get it taken care of. This was by a Sheriff’s deputy.
I have a petition signed by at least 103 neighbors asking you to do something about the duck hunting in our neighborhood. We’re not against hunting. We’re (also) gun owners … we just don’t want it in our residential neighborhood.
Michael Burmann said, “I am a hunter, and my parents reside on Hunter’s lake. So I’ve seen both ends of it. They do live on a canal, and we’ve seen people shoot right into the back yard … It’s not just the channels, there are houses right on the open lake, and people can go right up to the back of that house, as the law is written currently … Florida’s unique. Most other states require a 250-300 yard distance away from a property line.” Burmann reported an increase in the number of hunters in the last two years, when it hasn’t been an issue in the past.
Elton Ben Hammonds told the board that both he and his neighbor have service animals, and the dogs have been frightened by the gunshots heard in the area. Hammonds described the noise before and after sunset as “A re-enactment for the Battle of Fallujah. I’m not being funny about that. I was there.” He also reported that a neighbor actually had a glass sliding door shattered by a stray pellet.
Randy Kelly added that an elementary school and Pasco-Hernando State College is situated on Hunter’s Lake. Kelly added that residents of Hunter’s Lake feed the ducks, causing a legal problem since “baiting animals and hunting is against the law.”
Dawn Klein added that she was told by an HCSO Deputy that scaring the ducks away from residences was in fact, illegal, and that anyone doing so could receive a citation.
Sand at the State Park entering the Weeki Wachee river
Shannon Turbeville asked for the board’s support in sending a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Turbeville stated, “The letter would simply request that (DEP) take any and all measures to stop their sand that they installed at the state park from entering the (Weeki Wachee) river during rain events. I want to be clear that I don’t think it’s fair to blame the state park … for the sedimentation problem plaguing the river. However, we have to tackle one issue at a time, as we become aware of a problem, and not bury it in tax dollars.”
Turbeville went on to show a seawall installed in 2006 with damage allowing sand to flow through portions of the wall separated from the ground, and into the river.
Baker Act Facilities
Randy Kelly recalled his recent experience where a 10-year old child needed hospitalization under the Baker Act (Florida Mental Health Act of 1971 (Florida Statute 394.451-394.47891). Kelly said, “We’re here in Hernando County, and the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) picked up the child, then took the child to Pinebrook, which is an intake facility, to find the child a bed. Once the child got there, we were told that the two closest facilities were Ocala and Orlando. Now this 10-year old child is way off in Titusville, which is 128 miles away from where we live. I’m wondering if the commission can look into something for the juveniles, because this seems to be … a regular occurence. Children are taken, then sent halfway across the state to a treatment facility because we have no juvenile treatment facilities within our county.”
Kelly added that he has to travel to Gainesville to receive mental health services for another child.
County’s retained claim to minerals, gas and oil on property sold
County Attorney Garth Coller stated that the release would need to be put to a vote in a future meeting. Commissioner Wayne Dukes stated, “I think we should definitely do that, but I also think we should ask the legal department to take a look at this. If the lots are in residential (zones) and they’re only of that size, I think a limited sight should be on there so we don’t have to keep doing this.
Emails to County Officials
Commissioner Wayne Dukes asked County Attorney Garth Coller, “Isn’t it true, that as a city commissioner, if there was some sort of investigation about anything that you could come and get my personal email, and my county email, and my phone … everything?” Coller answered in the affirmative, “It’s all public record.”
Self Fueling at BKV
County Administrator Len Sossamon said that he’d already scheduled a discussion of the grant for January 29, 2019. “I did so after having a conversation with Airport Manager Kevin Daugherty, because he’d had a phone call from Ray Clark at FDOT, who promised us that we’d shortly be getting a letter stating that if the BOCC did not reconsider its rejection of the bids to build a self-fueling facility, that we would indeed get a follow-up letter that states in thirty days, they would expect repayment of that $89-thousand grant.”
The board came to a consensus that discussion for reconsideration would take place at the January 29th meeting. As noted before commissioners voted 5-0 to move forward on self fueling facility on Jan. 29.
Dukes replied, “The problem is with our sanctuary states now, you’ve got thousands of people who are here illegally, and they can actually get more representatives and more influence in Washington. That doesn’t seem right.”
Lloyd stated she couldn’t speak to the status of the individuals responding to the 2020 census. She did say, “If you have only enough money for 10 people to go to a hospital, but you actually have 20, then some people are not going to receive services.”
Commissioner John Allocco asked, “What is being protected? The fact that they are illegal, and they’re being counted, so we get representatives in the state to vote? I’m curious what the ‘protected’ part is, because to me it seems like, even though it’s been there since Truman, back when Truman was president, we had people trying to change the demographics of this country as well, and the voting records of the country. My concern is that if we’re using this improperly because of protected information, we’re growing government, and we’re increasing the cost to the citizens who are actually paying taxes. I know everybody pays sales tax, but we haven’t moved to a sales-tax-based system for our federal government, we’re still focused on ad-valorem taxes. I’m curious as to what this protected information is, if the whole purpose is to give information to organizations like ourselves.”
Lloyd responded, “(The information) is given at an aggregate level. You’re going to get the information on what’s called a ‘Census Tract.’ A tract is bigger than 2-3 city blocks, so you’ll know how many people reside in a tract. Lloyd also said that the only required information to provide is a name, but some respondents provide self-identifying information.
Commissioner Steve Champion asked, “What’s to stop the fraud from happening? Let’s say there’s motivated people for political reasons to gain seats, etc., what’s to stop them from putting ten names on there that don’t exist? Can you imagine the rampant fraud? In a state like California, they just start adding names. Then there are people who are motivated and get groups together, and they go around, adding names, ten, twenty, thirty people in a household… Is there any fraud investigation behind stuff like that?”
Lloyd answered in the affirmative, “They do cross reference the numbers with the numbers they’ve had, and they do internal (checks). I’m not privy to how and what they’re using to cross-reference.” Lloyd offered to get the information as a follow-up.
Allocco added, “If they were doing anything about the fraud, we wouldn’t have single residences with 25-100 IRS returns.”
Backyard Duck Hunting on Hunter’s Lake
Commissioner Jeff Holcomb clarified that the problem exists with the hunting in the canals, not hunting on the lake. This has become a problem this year because there is enough water for the first time to allow boats back into the canals.
Commissioner Wayne Dukes added that clearing 15 acres of Tussock finally gave the ducks a place to congregate. “When we got the emails, the first thing I did was reach out to one of our attorneys, and he actually sent me back verbatim, the state statute. It’s actually stated in the (Florida) Constitution that the only person who controls hunting is FWC … We don’t have any jurisdiction, by the Constitution.”
Dukes addressed County Attorney Garth Coller, asking how the situation could be addressed, to which Coller responded, “We don’t. In fact the legislature has made it crystal clear that not only does this board not have the authority to regulate firearms … but if you try to, you are committing a criminal act, and you can be fined and removed from office.”
Steve Champion said, “I own a gun store, I know the laws … I was afraid of that when it came to hunting, because we can actually be charged with a crime for restricting a gun range or any kind of activity. With that said, when bullet crosses your property line, that (shooter) is guilty of a felony. The reckless people out there hunting, we have to put a stop to that.”
Commissioner Jeff Holcomb said there are certain areas in canals, where no matter which direction a gun is being fired, it would be aimed at a private property.
Commissioner John Mitten reported that FWC is actually aware of the problem existing with residential lakes across the entire state, as well as in Hernando county. “It is my understanding that (FWC) is working on a way to mitigate the challenges that (Enger) is facing, as well as many others around the state. He went on to say, “With government, things are a process. There may be collaboration between the county and FWC as we go forward, but until they work their end out, it’s difficult for us to know where to begin and how much we can do until they tell us that.”
Commissioner John Allocco said, “The law says you cannot discharge a firearm within a certain distance of a home (where ammunition can cross one’s property line), so if an area doesn’t qualify for those distances, then FWC should be able to make hunting off-limits in those areas, because it does not fit the law. This is where we have to make sure we are enforcing or making our state departments enforce the laws the way they’re written.”
The board voted 5-0 in consensus to write a letter to FWC regarding the issue.
Baker Act Facilities
Commissioner John Allocco stated, “Senator (Wilton) Simpson has been spearheading a lot of the mental illness funding from the state… I would recommend that you first reach out to him and see if he has any plans for further funding for mental illness in the area.” Allocco also said that mental health care is expensive, and there is very little reimbursement to facilities and providers. “That’s why Baycare is no longer seeing (patients for mental health issues) as well.”
SHERIFF AL NIENHUIS
1. Budget Amendment Realigning Funds Within Sheriff’s Office Budget to Provide for Additional Full – Time Bailiff
Major Kirk Turner of the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) appeared before the board to discuss the submission of a budget amendment to allow for an additional full-time bailiff to provide security and assistance for Judge Barbee. Turner explained that the existing budget was submitted in late spring or early summer of 2018, and that the election was not decided until November 2018.
The allocation of $57,000 has not been budgeted, and was realized after the budget was defined, and the election was secured.
Reading from the submission, Commissioner John Allocco questioned the request to use General Fund Reserves, rather than reserves from HCSO’s budget. Turner explained that the recommendation came from, and was submitted by the Comptroller.
When asked when the new bailiff will begin employment, Turner answered that “He already has. The position is working and in place to protect Judge Barbee.”
County Administrator Len Sossamon advised the board, “If you don’t want to approve it today, next Tuesday (January 22, 2019), we will be having a budget meeting, not a budget workshop, so that you will be able to take action.”
It was so moved by Commissioner Allocco, and passed unanimously.
2. Budget Amendment Transferring Funds From Law Enforcement Trust Fund for Purchase of Interactive Application Development for Sheriff’s Office to Communicate With the Public for Use on Apple and Android Devices.
Approved 5-0 without discussion.
County Administrator Len Sossamon added Consent Agenda item H-28, for approval for Hernando County Fire / Rescue (HCFR) to purchase a boat and a trailer with a recent grant of approximately $34,402.58. Commissioner John Allocco asked if the grant was to be matched by the county. Jim Melott was present to answer, and said that any cost to the county would be minor, such as life jackets or equipment for the boat itself.
Mellot explained that the grant is “more of a donation” in the eyes of state government, since the money comes from private sources, such as Firehouse Subs.
Discussion and notes are below the topics pulled for discussion.
1. Appointment of Mike Ben Fulford and Michael J. Senker, Sr., to Port Authority Board Until December 31, 2022
Commissioner Wayne Dukes said, “Quite a few people applied to be on the Port Authority, and the members of the Port Authority reviewed all those things, and actually had all the people there at the last meeting. They appointed Mr. Fulford and Mr. Senker. Mr. Senker is actually a full-time captain out of Hernando Beach, Mr. Fulford worked with the Federal Government and Army Corps of Engineers. I think they picked some really good guys, and I was really thrilled with the number of quality applications that we had.
Fulford and Senker replace departing Board Members Valerie Shelter and Paul Pelletier.
2. Discharge of Order and Satisfaction of Animal Services Special Master Lien for Constance D. Troy
3. Donation of Property, Surplus Playground Equipment, and Waiver of Liability and Release With Family First Assembly, Inc.
4. Invoice From Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce for Small Business Development Center Funding for FY 2018 – 19
5. Memorandum of Agreement With Premier Community Health Group, Inc., for Certified Application Counselors to Provide Assistance With Healthcare Marketplace 2018 – 2019 Enrollment Period
6. Notice of Site Dedication and Limitation of Use in Accordance With Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program Grant Funding for Anderson Snow Soccer Fields Phases I and II Projects
7. Resolution Proclaiming January 14, 2019, Through January 18, 2019, as Severe Weather Awareness Week
8. Resolution Proclaiming January 20, 2019, Through January 26, 2019, as National School Choice Week
9. Resolution Proclaiming January 2019 as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
10. Resolution Proclaiming January 2019 as Human Trafficking Awareness Month
Regarding numbers 8, 9 and 10, Steve Champion mentioned that better planning would be needed to attend the appropriate meetings where these proclamations and resolutions are presented. County Attorney Garth Coller cautioned that, “Understand that until this board meets and votes the resolution, you cannot sign it, otherwise it will be an improper Sunshine Law violation because you will have communicated through signatures prior to the hearing.”
11. Revisions to Holiday Policy
12. Satisfaction of Mosquito Control Nuisance and Pestiferous Arthropod Special Assessment Lien Filed Against Property Owned by Heather A. Eluziario and Bobby Desousa
13. Satisfaction of Mosquito Control Nuisance and Pestiferous Arthropod Special Assessment Lien for Clifford R. and Doris L. Burch TTEE Life Estate
14. Satisfaction of Mosquito Control Nuisance and Pestiferous Arthropod Special Assessment for Enrique M. LaRosa and Rosa E. Hormaeche
15. Satisfaction of Mosquito Control Nuisance and Pestiferous Arthropod Special Assessment Lien for Ronald D. and Judith A. Jones
16. Satisfaction of Mosquito Control Nuisance and Pestiferous Arthropod Special Assessment for Theodore F. and Sharon L. Grantz
17. Settlement in Case of Gary Miller vs. Hernando County
18. Settlement of Workers’ Compensation Claim in Case of Edwin Wernicke vs. Hernando County
19. T-Hangar Lease Agreement With Joshua Garfield for Hangar 32 at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport
20. T-Hangar Lease Agreement With Todd Moerchen for Hangar 42 at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport
21. Transmittal of List of Accounts Payable Disbursements for Weeks Ended December 14, 2018, December 21, 2018, December 28, 2018, and January 4, 2019
22. Various Code Enforcement Public Nuisance Abatement Special Assessment Liens
23. Various Discharges of Order and Satisfactions of Code Enforcement Special Master Liens
24. Various Satisfactions of Code Enforcement Public Nuisance Abatement Special Assessment Liens
25. Write-Off of Uncollectible Utilities Department Accounts
26. Approval of Minutes for Regular Meeting December 11, 2018
27. Approval of Minutes for Regular Meeting December 18, 2018
CORRESPONDENCE TO NOTE
1. Correspondence Between Hernando County and Southwest Florida Water Management District Regarding Recreation/Beach Complex Within Weekiwachee Preserve
Correspondence between Hernando County and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) regarding the recreation/beach complex within the Weekiwachee Preserve. In response to ongoing correspondence and meeting held between County and District staff, the County sent a letter to the District indicating it is committed to pursuing a Resource-Based Outdoor Recreation area within the Weekiwachee Preserve for the citizens of Hernando County.
The District replied it has similar arrangements with numerous state agencies and local governments that have proven to be successful and welcomes County staff to meet with District staff to get a better understanding of ideas and begin developing the main concepts of a future lease agreement.
2. Letter of Appreciation From Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority for FY 2019 Funding Support and Updated Accomplishments
Received the a thank you letter from the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA) for funding support from Hernando County for FY 19 along with a list of updated accomplishments.
3. Transmittal of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Trust Fund Monthly Report for November 2018
Pursuant to Hernando County Ordinance 2014-13, which established the Hernando County Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Trust Fund, the Clerk of Court and Comptroller is providing to the Board of County Commissioners the monthly activity relating to costs and assessments imposed by the courts, collections and deposits into the Trust Fund and expenditures from the Trust Fund.
4. Transmittal of Letter From Florida Power Development LLC, to Department of Environmental Protection Regarding Notice of Intent to Transfer Certification Brooksville Power Plant to Brooksville PP Assets Holding Company, LLC, and Cemex Construction Materials, LLC, as Co-Licensees
The county received a copy of the attached letter from Florida Power Development LLC and Notice of Intent to Transfer Certification, which has been executed by Florida Power Development LLC, Brooksville PP Assets Holding Company, LLC, and CEMEX Construction Materials Florida, LLC. Upon FDEP’s approval of the requested transfer, Brooksville PP Assets Holding Company, LLC and CEMEX Construction Materials Florida, LLC will be the co-licensees of the certified facility.
5. Transmittal of Letter From Hernando County School District Regarding FY 2018-19 Five-Year Work Plan
Received a letter from the Hernando County School District transmitting its 2018-2019 Five Year Work Plan, approved by the School Board at their regular meeting held December 11, 2018. Based upon the best available data in a long-range planning study currently being drafted by the District’s professional consultant, Tindale-Oliver, a number of capacity projects have been included in this year’s Work Plan. It should be noted, however, that none of these capacity projects are currently funded.
PLANNING AND ZONING DIRECTOR RONALD PIANTA
Standing in for Ron Pianta was Omar DePablo, who presented the following items.
1. Rezoning Petition Submitted by Metro Storage LLC (H1832)
The request is for rezoning from PDP- general commercial to PDP- general commercial with specific C2 use, namely warehouse and outdoor storage. The property is located on the east side of Barclay Ave, approximately 740 feet north of Minnie Drive, and is essentially an expansion of Metro’s existing operations. Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) voted 5-0 to approve the rezoning petition. Staff recommended approval as well.
2. Rezoning Petition Submitted by Joshua Whitney, POA for Gloria Williams, Trustee (H1819)
The board voted 5-0 to deny the petition based on intended density, increased traffic causing safety issues, and inconsistency with neighboring Oakwood Acres.
Commissioner Steve Champion advised the board that this item is part of his neighborhood, and that he’s avoided HOA (Home Owner Association) meetings and communicating with neighbors regarding the topic. He asked County Attorney Garth Coller for direction during this meeting.
Coller advised, “The standard of review as to whether a commissioner can vote on an item is whether or not the decision that you are hearing imbues to you special private gain or loss, either for you or a member of your immediate family. In this case, there is a general commonality that is so broad that this isn’t a ‘private gain or loss’, therefore you are required by statute to vote.”
Champion also disclosed that he is “very familiar with the property … and the owners,” and is aware of at least a decade’s worth of history. Coller further advised that wherever relevant, Champion would be required to solicit that information “on the record by some witness that would be knowledgeable about the same issues.”
Omar DePablo presented the item; a rezoning petition (continued from the November 5, 2018 BOCC hearing) for a 37.3 acre area which begins on the Northwest corner of Powell Road and Gloucester Road, and spans northward, almost to the end of Gloucester Road. Currently zoned as AR2/(Agricultural/Residential 2), the petitioner seems to rezone to PDP(SF)/Planned Development Project (Single Family) with deviations. Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approved 4-1 in a December meeting.
Alan Garman, representing Whitney and potential buyers first pointed out Planned Development areas near the property, Deerfield Estates to the south and Silver Ridge to the East. Tangerine Estates is another residential area to the West.
A property similar in size and orientation is situated on the opposite side of Gloucester Road, and was sold by Gloria Williams at some point before this property came into question.
According to Garman, prospective buyers of the property determined that the county’s land-use map designates the property as residential, even though it’s zoned agricultural (AG). When inquiring about density, the buyers were told to stay under four units per acre.
Traffic Engineer Michael Raysor presented the results of the traffic analysis, which included the need for a left-turn lane from Powell Road eastbound. Raysor reported no other traffic issues.
Commissioner John Allocco asked if part of the analysis involved physically being at the site and observing the traffic, especially when students are being picked up and dropped off at Chocachatti Elementary. “I can’t believe when you say that there wasn’t an issue (during peak school hours), because it’s an issue now.”
Raysor explained that the quantitative analysis often doesn’t align with observable events seen by the general public. Commissioner Steve Champion asked Raysor if he had seen the “stacking” lane, explained as “cars stacked onto Powell” before and afters school sessions. Raysor responded that that area of Powell road was not included in the study.
Garman added that a traffic study was not required at this time, however the developer had it completed to show good faith. Allocco asked why homeowners in Oakwood Acres were not told at the time of their purchases that the property in question could be developed to the specifications up for a vote at this meeting.
Garman explained that this property, as well as the properties on either side of it were never platted as being a part of Oakwood Acres, even though owned by the same individual.
A considerable number of residents came to the board to offer their concerns and histories.
Sandy Roth and her husband, Dr. Doug Roth purchased their property in Oakwood Acres in 2003.
“We appreciate the obvious attention the commissioners have already paid to this issue and your willingness to listen to our concerns and reservations about the proposed rezoning, which would allow a developer to put 103 individual homes on 40 lots which were originally planned as full-acre or greater lots, as are all of the properties in Oakwood Acres.
“While we understand the county’s commitment to development for growth and prosperity, we believe that growth must be balanced by the impact such developments would have on safety, infrastructure, existing home values and quality of life for all.
“The designer of this proposal initially proposed a density of 144 units on this ‘bowling alley’ patch of land. When property owners challenge this and the proposed exit onto Gloucester Road, along with predictable traffic issues on two-lane Powell Road, they presented a new proposal which would have resulted in 119 units, indicating that any lower density would simply be unprofitable for a developer.
“Planning and Zoning staff denied this proposal, and the Planning and Zoning board was presented with the plan for 90 units, which they approved for your consideration, although, this has been changed again, as you’ve heard this morning, with a few modifications.
“During that meeting, however, property owners learned that is unlikely that Powell Road would be considered for additional lanes and safety modifications for at least 10 years, likely more. We also learned this morning as well, that the incomplete, and really deceptive traffic study that had been conducted, still would likely put many children and the safety of many drivers at risk.
Those concerns are magnified by the twin patch of land on the East side of Gloucester, which the owner is likely to want to develop in a similar manner.
“For these reasons, we appeal to you, and ask you to as a board to deny this application. It cannot be our concern, or yours for this matter, whether any individual piece of property can be made profitable for a developer. Their challenge is to find a property that is better suited to their needs. Rather, our concern is the safety of our residents, the disruption to the quality of life of existing residents and what we have a right to expect.”
Joanna Korocado, is a resident who purchased property in Oakwood Acres abutting the property in question. Koracado contends that she was told personally by Gloria Williams that the property in question would consist of one-acre lots. She displayed an early map depicting the same.
“This was intentional fraudulent real estate sales to those of us in Oakwood Acres, and I do not feel the commissioners should reward people … that do such things.”
Darryl Johnston spoke on behalf of the HOA, explaining that it is not the position of the HOA to prohibit any development of the property, but to ensure that any development is congruent and consistent with Oakwood Acres. The current plan almost doubles the housing density compared to that of Oakwood Acres.
Deerfield Estates resident Tom Valley spoke about the current traffic problems exacerbated by student pick-up at Chocachatti Elementary. Valley is concerned that adding additional students poses additional risk to those walking to the school.
PLANNING AND ZONING DIRECTOR RONALD PIANTA
Final Plat for Sherman Hills Phase V
Rebecca Garrett of the Zoning Department presented the item in place of Ron Pianta. The plat is described as “A 107 single-family lots located at the southern terminus of Crested Orchid Drive. Staff recommended to defer action on the plat until the water-sewer agreement is completed, executed by the developer and approved by the board, or until such time that the county has completed its off-site improvements.”
There is a lot of history regarding this topic, dating back to 2017. The board moved to table the modified documentation presented at the meeting.
DEPUTY COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR JEFFREY ROGERS
State Appropriations Funding Request
Chinsegut Retreat – Senator Wilton Simpson has been working with Chinsegut, and is sponsoring a request for upgrades and improvements.
Melissa Kehler, Executive Director of Chinsegut Hill Retreat listed these as ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) equipment and regular maintenance and modifications to prevent buildings and grounds from falling into disrepair.
Deputy County Administrator Jeff Rogers stated the request is for $437,000 without a local match.
Hernando County Fire / Rescue (HCFR) Chief Scott Hechler reported that Fire Station 2 is in need of renovation. This station houses more firefighters than it’s designed for, and also houses special equipment. The local match for this request will be $375,000.
These funding requests were approved unanimously.
PURCHASING AND CONTRACTS MANAGER JAMES WUNDERLE
All of the items were approved, and none of the items were pulled for discussion.
1. Approval of Requisition No.190541 for Utilization of Contract No. 17-P00144/CH With City of Eustis FL, Contract No. 005-17 for Financial Investment Manager Services to Fiduciary First, LLC (Estimated Yearly Cost: $70,000.00)
2. Award of Sole Source Purchase From Econolite Control Products, Inc., for Traffic Signal Equipment and Accessories for Department of Public Works (Total Cost: $151,620.00)
3. Award of Term Contract No. 19-T00033/TPR to Green Dream International, LLC, for Department of Transportation Compliant Limerock Stabilized Base for Department of Public Works (Estimated Cost for One (1) Year Contract: $198,450.00)
4. Award of Term Contract No. 19-T00037/DK to FL Sunshine Services of Tampa, LLC, for Mowing Services and Grounds Maintenance of Various Utilities Department Properties (Estimated Expenditure of $59,484.88 Per Year With Award Amount of $123,944.76)
5. Final Close-Out of Contract No. 18-C00126/BH and Change Order No. 1 with Daly & Zilch (Florida), Inc., for Hushpuppy Lane Culvert Installation Project (Final Payment Amount: $40,750.80)
6. Sole Source Purchase of Construction Services and Construction Agreement to CSX Transportation, Inc., for Crossing Surface Replacement at Ayers Road for Department of Public Works (Estimated Cost: $255,775.00)
7. Sole Source Purchase of Construction Services and Construction Agreement to CSX Transportation, Inc., for Crossing Surface Replacement at Yontz Road for Department of Public Works (Estimated Cost: $260,581.00)
8. Utilization of Tampa Bay Water Contract With Rowland, Inc., for On-Call Civil Contractor Services for Replacement of Force Main at Stoney Brook Lift Station (Contract No. 2018-02 – File 18-P00031) (Cost: $212,753.13)
REAL PROPERTY SUPERVISOR PAUL MOLLE’
First Amendment to Office Lease With City of Brooksville Incorporating Language Pertaining to Electric Bill Cost Share for Office Space Located at City Hall Occupied by Property Appraiser’s Office
The board unanimously approved the amendment with modification of the language which stated, “Shall pay $1000..” to “Shall pay up to $1000.00”
PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR/COUNTY ENGINEER SCOTT HERRING
1. Budget Amendment Realigning Funds From Parks Impact Fees for Feasibility Analysis of Property Located at Hernando Beach Boat Ramp for Additional Boat Trailer Parking
There was discussion regarding the sequence of events involving the appraisal, feasibility study and overall project.
2. Budget Amendments Realigning Various Operating Expenditures From Reserves for Road and Traffic Departments
UTILITIES DIRECTOR GORDON ONDERDONK
1. Budget Amendment Transferring Funds Within Utilities Department Budget for Fleet Replacement Program
2. First Amendment to Agreement With Southwest Florida Water Management District for US 19 Reclaimed Water Transmission Project (N696)
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
1. Commissioner Wayne Dukes
“It was brought up again how much money we wasted on the (St. Petersburg) Times building (currently HCUD). The commission at that time, (which most of you weren’t here) directed Susan to move Utilities… and have a building designed closer to where she works. She paid a lot of money and they designed her a 10,000 square-foot building, and it was going to cost us $3-million to build it.
At the same time, this piece of property came available, and they wanted 4.2 (million) I think. We offered them 3.7 to 3.9, whatever it came out at the end. But at the same time, it was more room, so she was able to move her people out of the Forest Oaks area … You couldn’t have built that building for half of what we paid for it.
I know there are people out there who pull this out of the hat at one of our Republican things, trying to give me the ‘half-a-donkey’ and I took it gladly because my conscience is clear.”
2. Commissioner John Allocco
Responding to Dukes about the current Hernando County Utilities building, Allocco said, “I think we should be negotiating. That was my point.”
On a different subject, Allocco said, “We’ve heard a lot of HR (Human Resources) cases during my tenure so far … Our legal department seems to be inundated, taking a long time to come through. In our Shade-Tree executive sessions, we’re also going to be talking about some executive marketing. We can’t be experts at everything. I really think we need to move forward and … possibly discuss a contract with an HR firm to move forward with our union contracts.
I’d also like to consider having DPW (Department of Public Works) contracting out to different attorneys … I know it helps with defraying some of the costs.”
Allocco again stressed that the Legal department needed more focus on BOCC issues.
He also suggested a monthly budget update from the Clerk to be emailed to all commissioners.
3. Commissioner Jeff Holcomb
Thanked the board for allowing him to serve as the Chairman in the coming year.
4. Commissioner John Mitten
Congratulated newly elected chairs.
5. Chairman Steve Champion
“When I was running for office, I thought the same things about the Times Building, until I toured with Gordon (Onderdonk). I was very impressed with that building.
“I’m pleased that (the board) is open to looking at that self-fueling thing, especially if we’re going to get a private business to come in and bid it out. At least we don’t lose that money, and we accomplish … infrastructure at the airport. I don’t want to hurt the FBO. I don’t have anything personal against them. The fueling is not competitive.
6. County Administrator Leonard Sossamon
“Regarding the boat ramp… we’re going to bring back the multiple parcels for your consideration, and then we’ll move forward.” Sossamon also announced a meeting that took place on the following Tuesday regarding four Airport Advisory presentations.
7. Deputy County Administrator Jeffrey Rogers
A Sheriff who works in the Community Arts system received a grant to purchase more art supplies.
Weeki Wachee River update: “The project we have for the Carrying Capacity study is still ongoing. They’re still monitoring kayak use. The kayak use has obviously dropped since the State Park system has reduced the number of kayaks on the river.” Results will be presented at some point in the spring or summer.
“The sedimentation study … is in draft form. When we have a final copy, I will get (the commission) a final copy.”
8. County Attorney Garth Coller
Announced Executive sessions not open to the public.
1. Executive Attorney/Client Session to Discuss Proposed Settlement
Related to Case of Christopher Soto vs. Hernando County
(Docket No. 19-01-BCC)
2. Executive Bargaining Agent/Client Session Regarding Professional
Firefighters Local Union 3760 to Discuss Collective Bargaining