by LISA MACNEIL
Hernando Sun Reporter
Julie Maglio, Hernando Sun Publisher, came to the board to speak of the Hernando Sun’s oasis in the “news desert” that is Hernando County, identified as such by the University of North Carolina’s (UNC) School of Journalism and cited by Tokyo Shimbun. See article: https://www.hernandosun.com/article/hernando-sun-publisher-asks-countys-support-fighting-news-desert-designation.
David Philipsen spoke about the issue of low ridership on TheBus and relocation of a bus stop. Philipsen asked if the shelters would be moved to the new stop, and where the main transfer point will be.
Sarge Dendy of Hernando Beach came to inform the board that International Coastal Cleanup will take place on September 21, 2019. Dendy reported increased numbers coming out to participate in the past two years, and hopes for a larger census this year.
Commissioner John Allocco said, “I think the Hernando Sun’s going to be out there covering it.” Dendy did acknowledge The Hernando Sun and other media teams who have covered this event in previous years. Last year, the sponsors gave away 150 t-shirts, this year, they hope to give away 200. Contact information unavailable at this time.
Dendy then addressed park fees, saying, “Mr. (Commissioner John) Mitten said ‘It really doesn’t matter what the other counties are doing, we need to do what we need to do for ourselves.’ I disagree with that.” Comparing fees of Pasco and Citrus counties, Dendy suggests that the annual pass rate should equate to 10-12 uses.
Mark Holley addressed the board on the paving project on Michigan Ave. in Weeki Wachee that was covered in a previous meeting. According to Holley, work had begun on Michigan Ave, then stopped, and limerock re-deposited. He was given the explanation that the cost had exceeded the requested bid, and that (they county) was seeking a re-bid.
John Paul Reeve spoke to the board about an ongoing issue with a fellow Hernando Beach resident who is operating Sport Fisherman’s Landing, a commercial fishing business on his property. The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) wants to postpone a rezoning decision by three months. According to Reeve, owner Tommy Evans was first ticketed in 2017, and for the past 20 months he’s been allowed to operate outside the scope of the zoning of his property.
Kelly Reeve told the board, she is “very upset over the prying and excessive interest in our private life by Tommy Evans.” She described an upsetting event where a vehicle has slowly driven by while two occupants took photographs. “It’s not right that I feel threatened in my own home.”
Bill Loomis introduced his next segment called, “The Truth”. Loomis played audio to support his testimony that’s run for several weeks.
Regarding the bus transfer station issue brought forth by David Philipsen, Planning Director Ron Pianta reported that a sudden lease termination necessitates the relocation of the transfer station from the Beall’s shopping center parking lot to the Walmart parking lot as of June 24th, 2019. A permanent transfer station will be sought.
Commissioner John Allocco suggested to Philipsen that these issues might be brought before the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) office’s Transportation Disadvantaged board.
Rogers thanked Sarge Dendy for information regarding Coastal Cleanup. “As for parking fees, you know we are doing a study on that.”
Commissioner John Mitten said of the intended new fees, “Any time government takes money from my wallet to maintain, or provide for public properties, I consider that a tax. I struggle with the rationale (of user fees) because it seems arbitrary in nature. It’s not a true ‘user fee’, because if they took the true cost of maintaining and upkeep of that particular park service boat ramp, no one would be able to afford to use it. So it’s arbitrary in nature, based frankly, on market, which is dictated, oftentimes by how many firebrands and pitchforks show up to these meetings.” Mitten went on to say that he thinks the fees are “potentially regressive in nature”.
Scott Herring addressed concerns by Mark Holley regarding Michigan Avenue pavement. According to Herring, the MSBU for the project was created, then the cost to complete came in much higher. It has yet to be determined whether the MSBU ordinance will be rescinded. The affected citizens will re-vote on the issue with consideration to a 28% higher cost than previously anticipated. This was an unexpected development that the board hasn’t yet faced, and discussed how to handle this situation going forward.
County Administrator Jeff Rogers said he will look forward to the end of Bill Loomis’ discussion at the next meeting.
Before Zoning Supervisor Chris Linsbeck and Deputy County Attorney Jon Jouben addressed the Reeve’s concerns about Tommy Evans and the zoning questions, County Attorney Garth Coller said to the Reeves, “The problems you’re seeing come from the Constitution. Due process is written into every process that lawyers do. You’ll find that the code enforcement process not only has constitutional aspects to it, but state law … We follow it to the letter, and that is why the process winds up looking like it does. Kind of like sausage.”
Linsbeck cautioned the board that there are currently three things underway with Evans’ property; the Motion of Stay (the 90-day postponement), the rezoning review, and there’s a Resolution Dispute Act filed.
Jouben added that any items covered in the Motion to Stay are protected, and cannot be enforced while it is in effect.
Coller cautioned the board at this time, saying that at some point, they may be involved in a quasi-judicial capacity regarding this case, and to refrain from stating personal prejudices.
Addressing the Reeves, Coller said, “The answer is ‘no’. They cannot do whatever they want on that property, and be immune from new charges. That is just a false statement.
SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER CONSULTANT WILLIAM BURNHAM
Update Regarding Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Development Center
Introduced by Chamber of Commerce President Pat Crowley, Bill Burnham presented the Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC’s) regular update at the Board of County Commissioners on June 11, 2019. Burnham’s report covered the time interval from October 1, 2018 through June 1, 2019.
Citing exact numbers, Burnham reported 167 hours of consulting was provided to 57 unique clients seeking direction.
“A little more than half of the consulting time is spent on pre-venture,” Burnham said, “These are clients who are not yet in business, but … want to explore the feasibility of (their ideas).” The balance is spent with start up and small to medium sized, established businesses.
“Primarily what we are doing with them is market-growth activities, such as market research, helping them explore the idea of doing business with local governments, state and federal governments, and even some international trade …”
In terms of outreach, the SBDC is involved with the Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Chamber’s Training Committee. They also attend the monthly membership breakfasts hosted by the Chamber and other stuff.
Eileen Rodriguez, Regional Director reported on accompanying several Tampa Bay businesses to Panama to help them export their products and services. “We write export marketing plans for (the businesses), then help them actually delve into these markets to increase their sales.” Brooksville company Skin for Life was one of the businesses involved in this endeavor, and still works with the SBDC to ensure their success.
“Since 85% of the world’s economy is outside the United States, we want to make sure to help them tap into that money, as well as the domestic side,” Rodgriguez said.
The SBDC also participated in the Chamber of Commerce’s Keys to Success, an annual business-centric information and education series that is usually held over the last week of February or first week of March. This year they focused their efforts on marketing and hiring, two of the top difficult areas businesses face.
In addition to common businesses, Burnham reported that the SBDC has also worked with local entertainers to get organized in their businesses.
Highlights of the SBDC since October include:
Assisting a local owner start a sign franchise, and negotiate a larger territory.
Working with a local medical practice that has invented a medical device to receive a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant to assist them to bring the device to market.
Helping a local business to obtain a loan to purchase another business, resulting in jobs being retained in the area. “When all was said and done,” Burnham said, “it was about an $800,000 package.”
Commissioner Wayne Dukes suggested that in the future, more granularity be reported to distinguish brand-new businesses from those already established, and also from those continuing with the SBDC after some time.
Before concluding their update, Rodgriguez announced that Burnham received the statewide Performance Excellence Award for 2019.
County Administrator Jeff Rogers inquired about the results of a previous suggestion by Commissioner Steve Champion to reach out to those seeking business-related permits from the county. Burnham responded that the SDBC has been reaching out to such prospects, however, “…The response to that was not very good over the year. We reached out to everyone, but in terms of those who actually showed up, it was not very good. So we suspended that activity, and took a different approach, whereas now, instead of inviting them to come (to the office), I’m taking that list and reaching out directly (with the information).”
Champion commended Burnham’s efforts, and urged him to continue the outreach.
Burnham reported that the SBDC will have monthly updates available in The Hernando Sun.
Commissioner John Allocco pulled numbers 1 and 3 for discussion. They are summarized under the appropriate headings.
The consent agenda was approved 5-0.
1. Acceptance of Grant Agreement with the Department of Environmental Protection for Wastewater Package Plant Connection Project and Associated Budget Amendment
“Hernando County has entered into an agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to demolish up to six existing private wastewater package plants and construct lift stations, force mains and any other required components needed to connect those sites to the County’s central wastewater collection system. The subject package plants are in close proximity to first order magnitude springs and are within first order magnitude springsheds. Weeki Wachee and Homosassa waterbodies have been deemed impaired due to nutrient levels. This project is the continuation of Hernando County’s effort to provide wastewater service to existing residential developments adjacent to Weeki Wachee Springs and within the Weeki Wachee, Homosassa and Aripeka springsheds.
Water quality improvement will be achieved by directing sewer flows to the Hernando Airport Subregional WWTF or Glen Water Reclamation Facility, which will be modified to include enhanced nitrogen removal capabilities. The FDEP grant provides up to $3,432,970.00 for this project. Design to begin in current FY19 and the amount of $256,300.00 will be HC Utilities Grant Match.”
Commissioner John Allocco pulled this item to discuss. It was ascertained that the private wastewater treatment plants are being converted to county controlled on a voluntary basis.
2. Annual Local Government Financial Report for FY Ended September 30, 2018
3. Construction Drawings for Sterling Hill Phase IV
“Sterling Hill Phase IV is a 224-lot residential subdivision located at the southern terminus of Sterling Hill Blvd… The developer will have 12 months to begin construction and 18 months to complete construction of the subdivision improvements to keep the approval active.”
Commissioner John Allocco pulled this item to discuss ingress and egress for emergency vehicles. The condition was not clearly stated, nor visible in the packet. Planning Director Ron Pianta did not have the plans with him at the time of the meeting, but stated he would follow up.
4. Contract With State Department of Corrections Imposing a Three-Year Term for Inmate Work Squad Program for Department of Public Works
“Staff is presenting a three (3) year Agreement with the Florida Department of Corrections for an inmate work squad. The Department of Public Works has had an arrangement with the Florida Department of Corrections for a full-time inmate work squad since 1998. The work squad consists of up to five (5) inmates supervised by a qualified Public Works Employee. Typical assignments include:
• Litter pick up along county roadways
• Cleaning of swales
• Hand mowing
• Miscellaneous unskilled labor tasks.
“The amount of work produced annually by this work squad saves the County approximately $67,000 per year in labor costs. Equipment and supervision costs would be identical regardless, if performed by inmates or in house staff… The current agreement signed on April 11, 2007, has no expiration date, except that it can be terminated by either party with written notice. This new Agreement would replace the current agreement and impose a three (3) year term with an option to extend an additional three (3) years.”
5. Discharge of Order and Satisfaction of Code Enforcement Special Master Lien for James J. Crockett
6. Memorandum of Agreement Between Hernando/Citrus MPO, Hernando County and Citrus County Providing for Local Support Funding for FY 2019 Federal Transit Administration Section 5305(d) Program
7. Resolution Appointing Members to Affordable Housing Advisory Committee in Accordance With State Housing Initiatives Partnership Act
The resolution appoints Christina Constance, Joshua Hofstede, Richard Massa to Affordable Housing Advisory Committee
8. Resolution Recognizing Port Authority for Significant Contribution Towards Ghost Ship Deployment at Bendickson Artificial Reef
9. Satisfactions of Various Mortgages Through Homeownership Down Payment Assistance Program and Emergency Roof Repair Program
10. Transmittal of List of Accounts Payable Disbursements for Weeks Ended May 24, 2019 and May 31, 2019
11. Updated Utilities Department Water, Reclaimed Water, and Wastewater Construction Specifications Manual
12. Minutes of May 14, 2019 meeting
CORRESPONDENCE TO NOTE
1. Notice of Authorization to Serve Alcohol Issued to Friends of Hernando Parks and Recreation for Great Florida BBQ Festival on June 8, 2019, and June 9, 2019, at Anderson Snow Park
2. Notification From United Waterfowlers-FL, Inc., (UW-F) of Hernando County’s Request to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to Declare Portions of Hunter’s Lake As Either A Bird Sanctuary or Restricted Hunting Area
BOCC Chairman Jeff Holcomb commented that he was glad to see this support from United Waterfowlers.
3. Transmittal of Sterling Hill Community Development District Proposed Budget for FY 2019-20
4. Transmittal of Withlacoochee Regional Water Supply Authority FY 2019-20 Adopted Budget and Work Program
Holcomb stated that the board did get the budget reduced by $52,000.
PLANNING AND ZONING
DIRECTOR RONALD PIANTA
1. Public Service Facility Overlay District Petition for Broadband Tower Submitted by Clear Stream Broadband, LLC (H1902)
Staff recommends approval. P& Z recommended approval 5-0. The internet/broadband tower would be located at west side of Jomel Drive at the western terminus of Delaware Drive. It would be a 100’ free standing tower which would serve River Country and surrounding areas.
Citizen concerns relating to adverse health effects on individuals living in close proximity to cell towers were submitted to P&Z and the Board of County Commissioners.
The BOCC voted 5-0 to approve.
2. Master Plan Revision Petition Submitted by Parth Patel (H1913)
Property owners request a master plan revision on property zoned PDP(GC)/Planned Development Project (General Commercial). The property is located on the south side of SR 50, approximately 1,200’ east of Sunshine Grove Road at the eastern entrance to Twin Dolphin Drive.
Board denied this petition with a 5-0 vote.
PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR/COUNTY ENGINEER SCOTT HERRING
3. Resolution Establishing Annual Non-Ad Valorem Assessment Rate for White Road Paving Municipal Service Benefit Unit
The BOCC voted 5-0 to approve.
4. Resolution Increasing Annual Non-Ad Valorem Assessment for Hernando Beach Boatlift Municipal Service Benefit Unit and Budget Resolution Recognizing Proceeds From Line of Credit for Hernando Beach Boatlift Improvement Project
“An engineering study was performed at the Hernando Beach Boatlift and it was recommended to replace the 30-year-old structure due to deflection of the supporting columns, leaning and buckling. The design plans for a new structure went out for public bid and resulted in bid amount of $523,000.00, exceeding the cost estimate of $250,000.00. Due to the increased bid amount, the MSBU account does not have the funding to cover the full cost of the construction and associated in-house engineering oversight. Therefore, staff and the Boatlift Improvement Inc., Board agreed to recommend obtain a three-year loan in the amount of $260,000.00 to proceed with these improvements. The associated three-year non-ad valorem assessment increase is proposed as follows:
FY 2020 $150.00
FY 2021 $150.00
FY 2022 $150.00
“The assessments proposed are estimated and may be adjusted based on the outcome of the actual costs associated with the project. The assessment is proposed to decrease in FY 2023 to cover annual operations and maintenance of the Boatlift, which is estimated at or below $50 per unit/lot.”
This MSBU increase was approved by a 5-0 vote.
I. COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR JEFFREY ROGERS
Update Regarding Ongoing Board Directives
J. PURCHASING AND CONTRACTS MANAGER JAMES WUNDERLE
Commissioner Wayne Dukes asked for discussion on #1. All items were ultimately approved by unanimous vote.
1. Contract Negotiations for RFQ No. 19-RG0049/PH With Cardno, Inc. for Engineering Services for Linda Pedersen Park Improvements
“It is our understanding that the County requires a Florida registered firm to provide engineering services to replace the most utilized amenities (boardwalk, swim platform and retaining wall) within Linda Pedersen Park. Cardno understands it is the County’s intent to use RESTORE Act funding to replace these items with a similar design and newer products, since the
original items were built over 15 years ago.”
Wunderle stated that 211 firms were notified, 41 downloaded the bid materials, only one company actually followed through with the response.
Dukes expressed concern over the company selected, “They start out low and end up with a big bill at the end.”
2. Increased Annual Expenditure for Contract 18-S00017/DK With Integrated Environmental Technology, LLC, for Leachate Extraction and Containment System Maintenance of Landfill (Annual Amount: $80,000.00)
3. Ratification of Change Order Nos. 1 and 2 to Purchase Order No. 19000722 to Goodwin Bros. Construction, Inc., for Dolquieb Lane Area Road Paving Municipal Service Benefit Unit (Total Amount: $384,128.84)
4. Renewal of Contract No. 17-T00008/DK With Waste Connection of Florida for Refuse Containers and Collection Services for County Facilities (Amount: $76,839.72 – (first renewal of three (3) available).
5. Utilization of State of Florida Contract With Presidio Networked Solutions, LLC, for Purchase of Cisco Call Back Function for Utilities Department Customer Call Center (Amount: $37,352.85)
The June 11 meeting highlights to be continued.