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Brooksville Seeks State Financing Help for Infrastructure Projects

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The Brooksville City Council has voted unanimously to seek legislative help in paying for a list of projects valued at more than $6 million that will improve the city’s infrastructure. The help from the state legislature will account for half the total cost of the projects.

During their regular meeting on Oct. 16, City Manager Charlene Kuhn told City Council members that five projects were chosen to submit to the Legislature for funding during the next regular legislative session.

“After conversations with staff and the mayor and after understanding what the legislators are looking for, we came up with the five projects,” Kuhn said. “They (legislators) like water projects, infrastructure projects – that kind of thing.”

The largest of those projects is the establishment of a new wastewater treatment plant at Wesleyan Village.

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According to Kuhn, the new plant would be located on city-owned land and would allow the city to oversee all sewer operations in the area. “We are in the process of looking at what properties- owned by the city- finding a good location to put that,” she told the panel. “That way, we are ready to take on additional growth, (including) all these apartments and subdivisions that are coming in.”

Council member David Bailey said that the Wesleyan Village property had been offered to the city free of charge. “Wesleyan Village was talking to us about possibly donating the property if we were going to service that area; that would be a considerable cost savings,” Bailey said.

Kuhn said that the plant probably would not be located on that particular property. “There’s a number of issues – they’re in a flood zone up there, so technically we shouldn’t be building that kind of plant out there, and also, it’s not annexed to the city,” she said. “It’s not impossible, but we’re trying to find a location that will help alleviate the Wesleyan Village (development), but maybe not on their property.”

According to Kuhn, the new wastewater treatment plant carries a total price tag of $3,500,000. The city is seeking $1,750,000 from the Legislature, with a 50 percent match from the City of Brooksville.

Also on the list is an upgrade of the outdated and inadequate East Avenue Lift Station to redirect the flow from the Highway 50 lift station directly to the treatment facility. The upgrade is essential to prevent the overload of Highway 50’s pump system and to reduce the risk of a potential sanitary sewer spill, Kuhn said.

“That’s been on our (infrastructure improvement) list for quite some time; we just haven’t been able to fund the project,” she told the panel.
The total cost of the upgrade is $750,000, with the city requesting $375,000 with a 50 percent match of $375,000.

Also sought is $225,000 for upgrades, including the location of a dewatering press at the William S. Smith Reclamation Facility. “That’s a press that will press down the sludge and squeeze all the water out and then we can take it to the landfill rather than outsourcing that and paying,” Kuhn said. “So that will save us annually.”

The total cost of that project is $450,000, with a $225,000, 50 percent match from the city.

An upgrade of the aging DaMac water distribution system is also on the list. “That’s in a critical stage right now,” Kuhn said. “That really needs to replace the entire system.”

The total cost of that project is $800,000, with $400,000 potentially coming from the legislature and a 50 percent match from the city.

Finally, the list of projects includes extending the 12-inch water line from Medical Park Lane to Seagate Drive in order to ensure efficient operation as well as prepare for future demands for water.

The total of the project is $850,000, with the city requesting $425,000 with a 50 percent match from the city ($425,000).

Mayor Blake Bell said that the city will also request the renaming of the Good Neighbor Trail Bridge in honor of Jimmy Kimbrough, Sr. “That is a non-funding item that does take legislative authority,” Bell said.

All the city’s requests will be submitted to the lobbying firm Rubin, Turnbull & Associates for presentation to the legislature for consideration during the upcoming regular session slated to begin on Jan. 9.

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