by Kathryn Dentato
At the June 23, 2020, County Commission meeting, Utilities Director Gordon Onderdonk sought to put commissioners’ minds at ease regarding the title of the agenda item. The budget resolution was for an internal adjustment due to unforeseen cost increases, not to add to the taxpayer burden.
The first item presented (BR2020-040) reflects a $1,356,532 difference in the Solid Waste Budget Assessment Revenue category. The budget resolution correctly places that amount in the Budget Reserve category. The amended Solid Waste budget will be $5,273,990.
The second item Onderdonk discussed was an increased cost for recycling. The bids received to replace the Recycling Services of Florida contract were higher than the department could pay. Relying on the interlocal agreement with Alachua County, recyclables are being transported to Gainesville.
While recycling costs are cheaper, trucking the items is costing the department more than originally budgeted. It is still a savings over the received bid offers by “several hundreds of thousands of dollars” Onderdonk said. The procurement department is working on a new request for bid.
The third item, yard waste, has increased significantly at both convenience centers and landfills, Onderdonk said. This is due to residents remaining at home and completing projects, and land clearing. Mulching and hauling services costs have therefore increased, Onderdonk said and requested $300,000 to cover that.
The fourth item was a $300 adjustment to the Storm Debris Fund to write a software program. There is an interlocal agreement with the City of Brooksville for storm debris. Onderdonk said the tracking program will give an accurate figure by separating county and city households if Brooksville needs to access the available funds.
Commissioner John Allocco moved to approve the budget resolutions. Commissioner Steve Champion seconded the motion. The budget resolutions were approved unanimously.
Onderdonk also presented an item on a budget resolution for the Oakley Island Sewer Infrastructure Installation Project. The project will convert Oakley Island homes from septic to sewer. The county received a grant in 2019 which will cover design, permit and construction of a municipal sanitary sewer system in the Oakley Island neighborhood. The total amount of grant funding is $491,160.00. In a 2017-2018 general appropriations act, the county received $254,238.53 for the project, bringing the total to $745,398.53. After the budget resolution was approved, the BOCC awarded a contract to DEEB Construction and Development Company (low bidder) for the Oakley Island Infrastructure Improvement Project in the amount: $845,311.49. The project’s performance period is 204 days.
Chairman Mitten stated, “I want to commend you and your staff, all of the hard work to get this to where we are getting that extra funding in as well- makes the difference. So thank you.”
“I have to appreciate the staff... There’s a lot of work behind the scenes to get this done. The question (I get often) is how long until septic to sewer…
I believe we applied for this back in 2016,” said Onderdonk.