Commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the purchase of the county’s very own harvesting vessel for tussock removal. Commissioner Jeff Holcomb was absent from the meeting.
Tussock is a group of grass species that live in waterways as well as on land. In the water, tussock forms “floating islands”, creating immovable patches of vegetation that can grow quite large. This specialized vessel will remove these areas, allowing for the passage of watercraft.
The vessel will be readily available for regular removal of tussock growth, which impedes the passage of watercraft. This regular maintenance and service level increase for the county will be funded by $150,000 originally slated for another project. It was not specified during the meeting which project was deferred.
The county will also hire a full-time employee to operate the vessel, at a salary and benefits package of $57,767.60.
The following is budgeted for the tussock removal vessel, transport vehicle and trailer, and other equipment relevant to the tussock maintenance position:
|Harvesting Vessel Purchase||$109,499.04|
|Boat Trailer and Equipment||$9,499|
|Fuel Costs||$1,500 (estimated)|
|Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) permitting||$100 (Not required)|
The option to lease the tussock harvester was also brought before the board, which they declined, as there were no cost savings as opposed to the complete purchase. The commissioners also removed the lease of a Ford F150 vehicle from the request, recommending that an existing vehicle be used.
The county intends to use the vessel to maintain Lake Lindsey, Hunters Lake, Mountain Lake, Lake Bystre, Lake Townsend, and the Withlacoochee and Nobleton rivers.
“We’re expecting quite a bit of use from this vessel,” Community Services Director Chris Linsbeck added.