The March 14, 2023 Board of County Commissioners meeting was short but productive. Lasting under an hour and a half, commissioners dealt with increasing funds for sewer improvements, awarded two major construction contracts, approved a water service agreement with Cabot Citrus Golf Resort and approved a grant agreement for Ridge Manor road paving. In the ongoing Board Directives update, Deputy County Administrator Tobey Phillips told commissioners that the tiny homes ordinance would go before the BOCC in June.
More funds needed for sewer improvements
Additional funds are needed for the engineering design services of two sewer line improvement projects. The projects are funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
The actual cost of engineering and design for the SR 50 and Grove Road Force Main project is $495,462, but only $330,000 was budgeted in FY23.
The actual cost of engineering and design for the US 41 Force Main project, Ayers Road to Runway Drive, is $329,290.00, but only $118,000 was budgeted in FY23.
To cover the overages, county commissioners approved a budget resolution transferring grant fund revenues to cover the additional $376,752.
County Commissioners awarded Archer Western Construction, LLC, the contract for the design and build of the Lockhart Water Treatment Plant Expansion Project in the amount of $10,350,000.00. Gordon Onderdonk explained that it will be the county’s first subregional water plan on the east side of the county. They negotiated a new public supply well with Trilby Crossing, which has been installed and drilled and is ready to be hooked up. In addition, they will be installing a 2 million gallon storage tank with a service pump station. Everything will be funded through Utilities, so they are not taking any debt service, Onderdonk said. This will provide future water service to the east side of the county.
County Commissioners awarded New Vista Builders Group, LLC, the contract for the construction of Fire Station No. 2 in the amount of $6,187,194.00. Fire Station No. 2 is located at 3445 Bob Hartung Ct, Spring Hill, FL 34606.
Wastewater service for Cabot Citrus Development
The county will provide Water and Wastewater services to the new Cabot Citrus golf resort, formerly World Woods. Hernando County Utilities bulk wastewater service will be established under the redevelopment plan. The wastewater agreement provides that:
“The developer will continue to provide potable water and fire flow to serve the needs of the development.
“At such time that Hernando County Utilities water is available adjacent to the development, the developer will connect to the public water system.
“The developer will construct a new 6,000+\- lineal foot off-site force main along the northern boundary of the County Landfill and connect to an existing force main. The developer will oversize the force main from 8” to 12” to provide additional capacity for future developments within the County. The Water and Sewer District will reimburse the developer $333,751 for the cost of oversizing the off-site force main.
“ In addition to the rates for sewer services, the developer will pay a surcharge ($1.00 per 1000 gallons) to provide funding in case the off-site force main will need to be relocated to accommodate growth of the County landfill. The surcharge will sunset after reaching $216,568.”
Chairman John Allocco recapped the Cabot Golf project stating that they are investing over $100 million to establish a world-class golf resort. “I think it’s going to be something pretty special for Hernando County,” he said. The agreement passed unanimously.
Grant agreement for Ridge Manor road paving
The Florida Department of Transportation will reimburse Hernando County up to $531,568.00 for the road resurfacing project at Faculty/Kedrone/Tombstone/Umbrella Rock From Shasta Street to Wickshire Street. Once these roads are paved, there will be a complete paved connection from 301 down to SR 50, explained Public Works Director Scott Herring. The county will contribute $177,190.00, and any expenses incurred over the $708,758.00 agreement amount will be the responsibility of Hernando County.
Board of County Commissioners’ Comments
Commissioner Jerry Campbell updated the board on a proposed new medical examiner building as the current building is not suitable for expansion. Districts 5 & 24 Medical Examiner’s Office encompasses Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion, Seminole, and Sumter and Seminole Counties.
They were looking to Lake County to provide some property for this building, but that fell through. The committee is now looking at getting a P3 bid to come through central to the two service districts (specifically Sumter, Lake, and Marion counties).
Commissioner Campbell asked for clarification on code enforcement as he recalled that Mr. Benda stated that the county could not implement a code enforcement situation. County Attorney Jon Jouben clarified that the county could survey areas for violations, but they cannot initiate an anonymous complaint.
Campbell received a request to look at the ordinance for chickens because it’s not fair based on lot sizes. The ordinance allows four chickens (for residential properties). So “If you have a half acre and five acres, you can have the same amount of chickens,” Campbell surmised.
Allocco said that he brought up the chicken ordinance previously because it required you to have the approval of neighbors. They modified that part of the ordinance.
Allocco was in favor of discussing the number of chickens allowed, but worried about the line between supplying enough chickens for your family and supplying chickens for agricultural sales- when you should really be operating on a farm. “I don’t know where that number is, but I’m open for discussion on it.” Champion mentioned that rezoning is always an option.
Commissioner Beth Narverud commended the community for coming together during the recent rescue of toddler JJ. She expressed how she wished that community could come together on a regular basis, without the impetus of a serious situation or tragedy. She mentioned National Pi Day and International Woman’s Day. She was a speaker at Salishan for Woman’s Day. She said it was great to listen and talk with the retirees about their life experiences. “I was really impressed with how engaged they are in what’s going on in our county,” she said.
The Board of County Commissioners will meet at 9 AM on March 28 for their next regular meeting at John Law Ayers Commission Chambers, Room 160.