We missed many of the major stories for 2020 in our predictions, but one would have needed a wild imagination to see a pandemic and nationwide shutdown on the horizon. 2020 was an unpredictable year to say the least and we did not see that coming.
We made six predictions regarding Hernando County for 2020. This was the year the County was going to make the decision on the new government center. We predicted the name of the “Brooksville Tampa-Bay Regional Airport” was going to be changed to drop the Tampa in the name, so the airport could provide passenger service. For the third year in a row we predicted that a Costco was coming to Hernando. We predicted that none of the three main titular heads of government entities (the school district superintendent, Brooksville city manager, and county manager) would lose their jobs this year. We predicted that the building permits would level off for 2020. We predicted that 2020 was going to be a mild winter and many of the tropical plants and animals would continue to survive in the area.
Plans for a new government center building have been kicking around for a number of years. The fifth judicial circuit has been requesting more office/courtroom space and upgrades for a number of years and plans are underway to convert the government center offices in downtown Brooksville to judiciary space. County government offices will need to relocate and the county has been looking to build a new government building at the Brooksville Tampa-Bay Regional Airport. This year they announced their intention to lease space in the Dennis and Pamela Wilfong owned building also located at the Airport Industrial Park as a stop gap measure. The county did make a decision on space, but it was not a final decision. We will take half credit for this prediction.
The renaming of the airport was a wild prediction. It was unlikely to happen, since this was not something that the county commission has been discussing. There was a stipulation that allowed the airport to include ‘Tampa-Bay’ in the Brooksville Tampa-Bay Regional Airport title only if they did not offer passenger service. To offer passenger service the airport would have to be renamed. This wild prediction did not come to pass.
For a third year in a row we predicted Costco would open up in Hernando County. This prediction was another longshot and for the third year in row it did not pan out. It is not completely far fetched as there is a Costco in Wesley Chapel and Costco is opening new locations.
We predicted that none of the three main titular heads of government entities, the school district superintendent, city manager, and county manager would lose their jobs this year. This prediction was correct and none of those three lost their jobs. This prediction failed spectacularly in 2019 with the county manager being fired in January. We are taking full credit for this prediction in 2020.
We predicted that the building permits would level off for 2020. This prediction was risky at the time since the building rate was increasing year after year and a number of projects were in various states of planning. COVID-19 may have adversely affected the number of homes being built. The county building department compares the fiscal years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. The fiscal year runs from October to September. From October 2018 to September 2019 there were 931 single family homes permitted and 207 multi family home units permitted. In the next fiscal year from October 2019 to September 2020 there were 784 single family homes permitted and 114 multi family home units permitted. The 2020 numbers did not include September, but they would at best be similar to last year. We are taking full credit for this prediction.
Hernando County has seen relatively mild weather these past few years. Many plants and animals have been able to survive in the area that are not traditionally found here. We predicted that this trend would continue in 2020. The 2019-2020 winter was mild and tropical plants and animals survived without issue. The 2020-2021 winter was mild up until Christmas day when the temperature dipped into the 20s in many areas of Hernando County and stayed below freezing for several hours. This hard freeze killed some of the tropical plants although many survived. We are taking half credit for this prediction.
This year we got three out of six of our predictions correct. That is a marked improvement on 2019 when we only had one prediction. Two of our predictions were very unlikely and they did not pan out. Two more we got half correct and the last two were mostly correct. This year our crystal ball worked pretty well.