Lucille Morano of Forest Oaks is still having difficulty with trash pickup. According to Morano, her trash was picked up at “the last commissioners meeting,” which was February 12, 2019.
Morano reported her weekly pick-up days to be Monday and Thursday. Morano reports an incident when she called Republic Services about a missed pick-up, and was told Republic had no available trucks in the area, yet soon after the call, Morano reported seeing a Republic vehicle nearby.
Sarge Dendy of Hernando Beach announced SwampFest this weekend. So far, 124 vendors have signed up to attend. Dendy said it’s expected to be “bigger and better than what we’ve had…” Dendy invited the public to find him at the hot dog booth, where he’s not certain if he will be selling or eating the hot dogs. Dendy also mentioned the upcoming Mermaid Chase that will be held on April 13, 2019.
Dendy also spoke about Jenkins Creek parking, and displayed a photo reportedly from July of 2018. “Every vehicle that’s in that park … there may be one or two that don’t have a trailer behind it. The fishing dock area- there’s a sidewalk there for the single vehicles to park. Well, there were so many boat trailers that they back the trailers over the sidewalk at the fishing dock, and there wasn’t room for the single vehicles to go in.”
Dendy reminded the board that they were considering more boat ramps for Jenkins Creek. “I contend that there’s no need for a new boat ramp. If you already have the place overfilling with use, why would you spend the money when we could use the money throughout the county on our parks and (recreation) facilities that we have.”
SwampFest will be held at Linda Pedersen Park on Friday and Saturday 9-5 (March 1 and 2) and Sunday 9-4 (March 3).
Bill Loomis addressed the board further about ongoing email concerns.
Joe McClure spoke about trash pickup. McClure stated, “It’s really just a continuation of old problems. It’s not any worse now than it was.” McClure reported that when he called Republic about missed a missed pickup, it was handled. “I don’t feel I should have to call to get service. I think the problem is, as long as only one of you (commissioners) is responding to Republic, they don’t see a problem with the board. The board has to be more active and responsible. ”
Ann Krause-Keenan also reported trouble with trash. Krause-Keenan said, “Republic received a ‘sweetheart deal’ with a no-bid seven-year contract extension. They benefited greatly; they’re able to reduce their manpower costs by going to one-person automated trucks, they’re able to reduce their workman’s comp cost … and they were able to eliminate their billing and collection costs for the 48,000 residents in the mandatory zone.
In addition to the all the cost reduction, Republic received a 76% rate increase … without competitive bidding.
In contrast, the residents have been left holding the trash-bag, when continuing to receive poor service from a known poor-service provider. Since Hernando County was able to improve Republic’s profitability, the county should require that the residents be provided what the service was contracted for.”
Richard Ross spoke about Hernando Beach boat ramps. According to Ross, the ramps are not listed as “a park under Parks and Recreation. Hernando Beach boat ramps is under Public Works, Aquatic Services, Waterways Maintenance. Not Parks and Recreation, where the impact fees lay.”
Ross advocates fining illegally parked vehicles, eliminating the honor system and raising fees for parking.
Jimmy Lodato – School Board Liaison to the BOCC updated the board on the ½ cent sale tax projects, and provided documentation.
Lodato reported that a vocational school is moving forward, albeit slowly. “I think it’s going to have to be a joint venture where we all work together to accomplish this goal. It’s going to be outstanding to get a vocational school… to get our young people coming out of high school … to go to work… and on take on the expense of college.”
Paul Benedetti asked the commission, “Why is the county split?” (In regard to trash collection, the most densely populated area of western Hernando County, which spans from Highway 19 and eastward to the Suncoast Parkway, and County Line Road, northward to Cortez Blvd / Highway 50 is considered the ‘mandatory area’.)
Jay Barr of Edridge Road in Spring Hill said, “I’m addressing Wayne Dukes specifically, because I trust that man with my life. Who was it that gave them the no-bid contract on Republic? They have demonstrated their ineptitude.”
Regarding the supplied trash bins, Barr said, “Bad idea, dumb idea, dangerous idea.” Barr, who reported he was a hazardous waste truck driver for thirty years postulated that at hazardous waste could be put into a bin unnoticed, and turn a garbage truck into a “rolling time bomb in less than an hour.”
According to Barr, personnel collecting trash were to take notice of any hazardous materials.
Barr also reported that one of his 85-year old neighbors has been injured while trying to maneuver his trash bin.
Acting County Administrator Jeff Rogers announced that Republic Services is present to address the issues posed. Rogers stated he will follow up with Dendy on parking price increases going forward. Addressing Richard Ross, Rogers reported that a feasibility study is underway, and that the county will follow up on further fee changes. Rogers acknowledged the benefits of the ½ cent sales tax for school-related projects.
Commissioner John Allocco suggested Hernando County IT may want to meet with Mr. Loomis to discuss email irregularities.
Commissioner Wayne Dukes stated regarding the designated mandatory trash collection area, “There was a referendum put on the ballot. It was voted for by the people. Having said that, if the people want to work hard, get out there and raise a petition, they can take it back off. But commissioners are not allowed to take a referendum that was passed by the citizens — off the books.”
The board called Solid Waste Director Scott Harper for clarification, who stated, “The vote (to establish the mandatory areas) was back in (19)88, then it was in ‘91.” It was established that no one on the current Board of County Commissioners was sitting at the dais in 1988 or 1991.
According to Harper, the seven-year automatic renewal took place when Republic ‘went automated’ due to the capital investment.
Mary Kassbaum and Terrence Dotson of Republic Services recorded the addresses of the citizens present and assured follow-up. Kassbaum reported a decrease in the number of problem calls received in each week since automated service started. She also stated that there is a “learning curve” for both residents and drivers for aligning the new bins.
BOCC Chairman Jeff Holcomb said, “Your stats are showing that you’re fixing it,” In light of repeated complaints by citizens, Holcomb said, “You … have been responsive when I’ve contacted you. Other commissioners have felt the same way. I should get the same response as John or Jane Citizen.”
Commissioner Steve Champion expounded on what Holcomb said, and added that email is the best way to reach Republic Services. The Hernando Sun has tried to find an email address for Republic Services, however, we have not confirmed an email address as of this writing.
1. Application for Subsequent Designation as Local Workforce Development Area for Pasco-Hernando Workforce Board
2. Budget Resolution Recognizing FY 2018-19 Bureau of Justice Assistance Grant Funding for Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program
3. Reappointment of Jerry L. Lawson to Board of Construction and Regulation Until December 31, 2022
4. Resolution Commending Tristan Carreiro for Achieving Rank of Eagle Scout
BOCC Chairman Jeff Holcomb
5. Resolution Congratulating Hernando Audubon Society Upon Occasion of 60th Anniversary
6. Transmittal of List of Accounts Payable Disbursements for Weeks Ended February 8, 2019, and February 15, 2019
7. Approval of Minutes for Regular Meeting January 29, 2019
8. Approval of Minutes for Regular Meeting February 12, 2019
H. CORRESPONDENCE TO NOTE
1. Letter of Appreciation From Pasco County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Ron Oakley for Assistance Provided by Hernando County Fire Rescue District Staff on January 18, 2019.
Oakley wrote, “Dear Chief Hechler: On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners, I would like to express a special thanks to you and your crew for your assistance in battling and successfully containing and extinguishing our two-alarm fire this past Friday at Bon Metals in the Dade City Business Center. I truly believe the combined efforts of all that participated helped to insure there were no injuries.
Your expertise and willingness to help certainly is appreciated by this board and the citizens of Pasco County.”
2. Notice of Conditional Use Permit Actions Taken by Planning and Zoning Commission on February 11, 2019
A memorandum was submitted from Planner II Omar De Pablo regarding Conditional Use actions taken by the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) on February 11, 2019.
On that date, the P&Z voted to approve a conditional use permit for a second residence, as petitioned by Ernest Hall, Jr. (File No. CU-18-12). In addition, the P&Z also voted to approve a conditional use permit for a second residence, as petitioned by Sandra Smithand Michael L. Smith (File No. CU-18-11).
According to Appendix A, Zoning, Article V, Section 4(H) of the Hernando County Code of Ordinances, the Board, by a majority vote, may decide to review any conditional use decision rendered by the P&Z. If at least a majority of the governing body do not vote to review the P&Z decision within thirty (30) days, the P&Z decision shall be deemed final and subject only to review by the circuit court.
3. Notice of Special Exception Use Permit Action Taken by Planning and Zoning Commission on February 11, 2019. This is also a memorandum from Planner II Omar DePablo regarding Special Exception action taken by the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) on February 11, 2019. On that date, the P&Z voted to approve a special exception use permit for a place of public assembly, namely a venue for special events, as petitioned by Alan Beauregard and Daryl Saunders (File No. SE-18-16).
4. Notification From Economic Development Administration Regarding FY 2018-19 Disaster Supplemental Grant Application
The attached letter was received on February 11, 2019, regarding Hernando County’s application for the FY 2018 Economic Development Administration (EDA) Disaster Supplemental Funding Opportunity.
On September 18, 2018, Hernando County submitted an application to the EDA for the realignment of Corporate Boulevard and Aerial Way; and the extensions of Technology and Telecom Drives. $4,507,856.00 was requested from the EDA, with a local match of $959,323.00 and Florida Department of Transportation of $625,000.00.
Due to lack of funding, the application was not funded.
BOCC Chairman Jeff Holcomb read a letter sent by former Commissioner Nick Nicholson to Governor Ron DeSantis:
“I recently received correspondence stating that if I wish, I can request a hearing be set to determine the final disposition of my case regarding my suspension from the Hernando County Board of County Commissioners.
I have made the difficult decision to advise you that because I have no desire for additional taxpayer dollars to be expended on my case, I am officially requesting that my suspension become permanent. I do not wish for a hearing to be set regarding this issue, even though I feel the charges and circumstances surrounding my suspension were unfounded, they were settled in court, and I was not found guilty of misdemeanor charges. I simply do not want the taxpayers to bear the brunt of those charges.
I wish you well and hope that your tenure as Governor for our great state is productive and significant. I am proud to say I voted for you. Best personal wishes, Nick Nicholson.”
Holcomb received the letter via email after the February 26, 2019 agenda was prepared.
ZONING COORDINATOR REBECCA GARRETT
Petition Submitted by Jamie J. Vega to Vacate Easements Located in Royal Highlands Jamie J. Vega has submitted a petition to vacate two internal 7.5’ easements within his Lots 4 and 5, Royal Highlands, Unit 5, Block 357, as recorded in Plat Book 12, Page 45- 59 of the Public Records of Hernando County, Florida. The vacation is sought in order to construct a single-family dwelling on the lots utilizing that easement area. All affected utilities and County departments have indicated no objection to the request.
Commissioner John Allocco expressed concern over future requests of this type, for the reason that sewer requirements may be circumvented. Allocco said, “My concern is that people are going to start doing this thinking they can circumvent the septic tank ruling on the state level. 100 x 200 (feet) and 200 x 200 is not actually an acre, and I haven’t heard any clarification that it will be considered an acre by the state when it comes to septic tanks not being required to have the higher nitrate-removal (system).”
Clarification of the ruling was not reached during the meeting, however the board approved Vega’s request unanimously.
HUMAN RESOURCES/RISK DIRECTOR CRISTI CHARLOW
County Administrator Job Description and Recruitment Options
See article: https://www.hernandosun.com/article/county-revises-administrator-job-description-and-starts-recruitment
PUBLIC SAFETY DIRECTOR/FIRE CHIEF SCOTT HECHLER
Interlocal Agreement With City of Brooksville and Hernando County Fire Rescue for Advanced Life Support First Response Services
The proposed agreement would allow for the uniform provision for emergency medical services (EMS) throughout the City of Brooksville and Hernando County at the level of Advanced Life Support (ALS). The Brooksville Fire Department can provide ALS service by providing for paramedics on their primary apparatus and the County will provide the ALS equipment. By maintaining the ALS status, the County will compensate the City with $7,500 per paramedic (up to six) for an annual total not to exceed $45,000.
The City Council will vote on the approval of this agreement in March 2019.
The City of Brooksville does not anticipate an effective date before October 2019; therefore, the $45,000 per year will be budgeted in FY 2020.
Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Carroll appeared in place of Chief Hechler. Carroll began by praising Interim Brooksville Fire Chief Ed Snowberger, “Over the last six months or so that Chief Snowberger has been at Brooksville Fire Department, it’s truly been a blessing. The extent of the level of cooperation and collaboration has been nothing short of amazing.” Carroll explained that the next step “Is not only going to enhance the level of service within the city, but also within the county because of this mutual aid agreement. What this will allow for is an ALS (Advanced Life Support) engine. As you’re probably aware, the ALS engines that are spread throughout the county are really the glue that holds the ALS system together. Rescues and ambulances are constantly on the move… but it’s those Advanced Life Support fire engines that are, for the most part stay and ‘hover’ in their area. This agreement would allow Brooksville Fire Department’s engine (to be ALS equipped), and (Hernando County Fire / Rescue (HCFR)) would not have to send our ALS engine on the initial call into the city should that assistance be needed.” Carroll advised that there still may be some circumstances where a Hernando County engine would need to service the City of Brooksville, however, normal operations should be seamless.
Regarding the budget, Carroll said, “It’s going to take every bit of the next year… They don’t even have six paramedics. Chief Snowberger is making an aggressive attack to make sure they have these folks in place. These paramedics will need to go through the same provisional paramedic program that all county paramedics go through.” Carroll said, “Because this has not been budgeted, it will come out of the EMS MSTU (Municipal Service Taxing Unit), the stipend for each of those paramedics and the equipment which was not budgeted for previously… it will take that next year and the budgeting process to make sure the funds are available.”
The board voted unanimous approval.
PURCHASING AND CONTRACTS MANAGER JAMES WUNDERLE
Discussion Regarding Unsolicited Confidential Proposal From Private Entity for New County Government Center
According to Wunderle, the software system “melted” resulting in a loss of six agenda items.
Due to the irregularity and the inability to properly advertise, this item will be tabled until the next agenda.
PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR/COUNTY ENGINEER SCOTT HERRING
Review of Letter to Army Corps of Engineers Regarding Proposed Hernando Beach Mitigation Bank
See article: https://www.hernandosun.com/article/selling-negative-mitigation
PARKS AND RECREATION MANAGER HARRY JOHNSON
Amendment to Franchise License Agreement With Guest Services Management, LLC, d/b/a Boating in Florida, to Utilize Roger’s Park to Remove Kayaks Associated With Rental Business at Weeki Wachee State Park and Provide for Marine Deputy Patrol Along Weeki Wachee River
The Parks and Recreation Department is requesting the Board approve the amendment renewal for Marine Deputy and patrol and enforcement of violation along the Weeki Wachee River. The Board approved Guest Services LLC, d/b/a Boating in Florida to continue their operation of pulling kayaks out at Rogers Park and requested Boating in Florida pay for year-round services of a new Marine Patrol Deputy and to pay their annual salary. This amendment to their current agreement allows for Parks and Recreation to move forward with this fully executed agreement.
Receipt of $2600 per month in Parks and Recreation account 0011–04441-3621200 (included in budget). Increase account 0011-3421006 of $7334 per month in charges for services (public safety). Increase Fees & Costs – Sheriff $51,338 account 0011-02051-5909185.
Additionally, Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis submitted his budget amendment to reflect the cost of adding one Marine Deputy and one-time startup costs associated with the position for seven months. The total addition to the HCSO budget comes to $51,338.
The board decided that the action of adding a Marine Deputy is the only amendment, and that this item is not a renewal of the original contract.
Jim “Sarge” Dendy expressed concern that the assigned deputy could be reassigned at the Sheriff’s discretion. “This is supposed to be strictly for a deputy on the river for 40 hours a week,” Dendy said. “This person should not be able to be pulled off the river for any reason. It does not say that in the contract.”
Acting County Administrator Jeff Rogers stated that the contract mandates 40 hours on the river for the assigned deputy, however, busy and peak times are to be determined by the Marine Supervisor. Rogers went on to say that the Commissioners should not determine when those times are.
The amendment was approved unanimously.
The county provided the following information in a media release last week: “ While Guest Services is funding the new marine deputy, the Sheriff’s Office is paying for a new personal watercraft, trailer, and the various other equipment needed by the deputy to patrol the river.
“The new Marine Deputy assigned to the river is Deputy Steve Snell, a 30-year veteran of the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.
“He will patrol the river 40 hours per week, which spans from Bayport to Weeki Wachee State Park.
“Snell’s previous assignments included patrol, COPPS, selective enforcement and civil. Most recently he served as a school resource officer.
From 1998-2010, Deputy Snell also served as a member of the Marine Unit.
BUDGET DIRECTOR GEORGE ZOETTLEIN
1. Budget Amendment Transferring Funds From Reserve for Contingencies Account for Renovation of Westside Government Constitutional Offices
As part of the space needs project, funds are required to be transferred from the general fund budget reserve for contingency and budget reserve / balance forward cash for renovations of the Westside Government Constitutional Offices (Sheriff and Tax Collector). The attached budget amendment includes $500,000 for the following repair and maintenance of buildings:
1) Renovate a portion of the Westside Government office:
a. The vacated Property Appraiser’s space that is being provided to the Sheriff;
b. The Sheriff’s existing space including the area that he is giving to the Tax
c. Tax Collector’s existing space;
This change in office space for each Constitutional will provide the Tax Collector with one large continuous open customer service area with additional service counters to better serve the citizens of Hernando County. The area the Sheriff is giving to the Tax Collector will be recreated in his existing office and the expansion area that the Property Appraiser gave to the Sheriff. The construction is estimated at $170,000.00.
2) Replace a portion of the Westside Government offices air conditioning units that had reached or surpassed their life expectancy, and the systems are not delivering adequate fresh air ventilation to meet current code requirements. Five systems will be replaced, two existing A/C units will be relocated, and all new ductwork will be added which is required per code. The Engineer’s estimate for updating/replacing the HVAC systems is $330,000.00.
Financial Impact: Decrease the General Fund Budget Reserve for Contingency account 05981-5909910 $375,920 leaving a $0 balance in this account, Decrease General Fund Budget Res / Cash Forward account 05991-5909999 $124,080. Increase Facilities Maintenance Repair/Maint – Bldg & Grd account 01701-5304601 $500,000.
Craig Becker with Facilities explained, “It’s not an additional $500,000, it’s $500,000. The project has morphed from… using all the existing pieces … for the Sheriff’s office, Tax office and Property Appraiser to have this space be usable for them. We have to change from a 5,000-6,000 square foot remodel to about a 12,000 square foot, still within the existing confines of their spaces. Whenever it gained in size, we had to start doing air conditioning modifications, required by code, improving ventilation requirements, improve plumbing, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliancy, water heaters… and others required by code.”
Becker added that the youngest HVAC systems in place are 20 years old. “The duct work is the same age, not adequate for the requirements we have for their space needs … It’s been a cascading, domino effect of one thing affects another, and another… ”
Built in 1986, Becker said the building is classified as “light industrial, but that’s being a little generous. It’s built just like your house… it’s not built even medium-commercial in my opinion.”
Commissioner John Allocco asked Becker which ‘code’ he was referencing during his report, to which Becker answered that it was the state building code, not only Hernando County.
Commissioner John Mitten asked, “Could you refresh our memory as to the absolute necessity of these space needs, and the expenditure of 500K?”
Tax Collector Sally Daniels came to the podium to answer. “How this all began… we were looking at buildings. We had to move the (Property) Appraiser. The Appraiser now has extra room- he doesn’t need all the room at Forest Oaks (Government Center), so figured it out, we could get an extra couple more thousand square feet by moving the Sheriff down, which the Sheriff agreed to, and then we (the Tax Collector’s office) would move into the Sheriff’s area.
I got my budget approved through the Department of Revenue for money to everything but the construction because it’s not my building.” Daniels continued, “I need the space because I don’t have room to put employees or customers. There’s no room for customers. They’re standing outside. I’ve got 54 employees, I have no room to put any more.”
Daniels referred to reports of other counties which have more employees, noting that Citrus, a smaller county has more employees, with a higher budget.
“I need more employees. I have no where to put them.”
Daniels added that the Department of Revenue would approve of her lease of another building, but it would cost the county more money.
Commissioner Wayne Dukes asked Becker about the life span expected of new air conditioning and HVAC units, to which Becker replied that the advertised lifespan is over 15 years.
The board unanimously approved this budget amendment.
Commissioner Wayne Dukes asked after the vote when the work would be done. Becker answered that it would need to be done during this fiscal year.
2. Budget Amendment Transferring Funds Within Parks and Recreation Department Budget for Fleet Replacement Program
Commissioner John Mitten asked for clarification on a $30,000 payment being a lease, which was confirmed by Zoettlein.
Commissioner John Allocco asked about the transference of funds being a result of being under-budgeted in another department. The question was answered by Harry Johnson, Director of Parks and Recreation. “We are flush, and we have excess money. I’ve had to look hard at where we’re going to pull money from.”
The lease described earlier has been ongoing.
3. Update Regarding Changes to Budget Policy
In order to balance the General Fund budget each year using only current estimated revenues to current estimated expenses, the following three step method will be used.
Step #1: Current Revenues must equal Current Expenses. Balance Forward (revenue) and Reserves (expense) are not to be included in this calculation.
Step #2: Balance Forward – Prior Year. Estimate total revenues for the prior year less the estimated total expenses for that year. Assume all purchase orders are closed or completed (expensed).
Step #3: Reserves/Balance Forward – Reserves are to be calculated at 18.5% (per budget policy). Balance Forward is used to fund reserves. If reserves needed exceed balance forward, expense budgets will need to be reduced. If balance forward exceeds reserves needed, the Board will determine how the one-time remaining funds are to be used.
Commissioner John Allocco expressed concern about the policy changes while facing the $11-million deficit. Zoettlein expressed optimism.
Commissioner Steve Champion said that if the county can spend an amount equal to, or less than revenues, the budget will work. “We need to be responsible. I like the policy, and regardless where you find it, you either increase revenue, or you cut expenses. Only two things you can do.”
Commissioner John Mitten commended the accountability of the measure. “I think we should put this budget policy in place, and if we have to suspend it in this year, then we make that vote. That way, it’s accountable on every commission going forward, every time they want to get around this policy and spend more than they’re actually bringing in, they should be forced to vote to suspend that policy in order to do so. I think that holds everyone accountable, provides the openness and predictability for everyone else that’s watching.”
BOCC Chairman Jeff Holcomb remarked, “I don’t know why we didn’t have that in the first place.”
The board approved unanimously.
After the vote, Commissioner Wayne Dukes said to Zoettlein, “We’d like a list from you of what we have to pay every year.”
Zoettlein replied that the information Dukes sought was to come shortly in the next section.
4. Update Regarding General Fund Budget
See article: https://www.hernandosun.com/article/methods-discussed-eliminate-11-million-general-fund-deficit
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
1. Commissioner John Mitten
Had no further comment.
2. Commissioner Wayne Dukes
Asked about part-time employees. Acting County Administrator Jeff Rodgers remarked that this would be an expense, but will look into it.
3. Commissioner John Allocco
Had no further comment
4. Commissioner Steve Champion
Announced a fundraising event on March 2, 2019 to fund Future Farmers of America (FFA).
5. Chairman Jeff Holcomb
As the new Chairman, Holcomb promised to be more timely in moving meetings along.
6. Acting County Administrator Jeffrey Rogers
Announced the planning meeting scheduled for March 5, 2019 at the Utilities Building on Cortez Blvd.
7. County Attorney Garth Coller