By Robert Helde
The City of Brooksville (City) met with their lobbyist group, Sunrise Consulting Group, on the 16th of September 2019 to discuss the possibility that some of the upcoming utilities projects may qualify for legislative funding. The Public Works products proposed for funding during the Sept. 16th Brooksville City Council meeting are the Brooksville Sewer Rehabilitation Phase VI, Reuse water to Cascades Residential, and Lamar Drinking Water Plant. In addition, one (1) Fire and EMS project proposal was discussed.
Sewer Rehabilitation Project
Looking at the Sewer Rehabilitation project, there is an estimated cost of $3.2 million with $1 million to be covered by the City of Brooksville (City) making it the most expensive project proposed. This project is considered most important to the City, intended to correct and repair the aging sanitation system in Brooksville. In 2010 phase III of this project was completed, including the video inspection of nearly 34 miles of sewer main pipe as well as an additional 34 point repairs, 101 refurbished manhole covers, and the GPS location of 731 manholes. The goals within phase IV of the project are to further correct structural defects, and prevent sewer overflows by infiltration from ground water and inflow from storm gutters. Upon completion of stage IV approximately 50% of the City’s sewer system will have been repaired. The remaining 50% are the lesser affected areas. Under heavy rain conditions, the City currently has to contend with inflow and infiltration which cause the maximum daily average in millions of gallons per day (MGD) flowing through the water treatment facility to be exceeded.
Cascades Reuse Water Project
The Reuse Water project will provide The Cascades Development (Development) with irrigation water. This project is estimated to cost a total of $250,000 with $100,000 for which the City would be responsible. Currently the Development draws its irrigation water from a storm-water pond via an 8- inch line running along Cotillion Blvd. from the south side of Southern Hills Blvd. to the end of Cotillion Blvd. The current line terminates into a well-water fed pond. This project will connect the 8- inch line to the City’s 12-inch reuse water line which runs on the northside of Southern Hills Blvd. By connecting to the City’s reuse water supply line, the need to draw from the Florida aquifer for irrigation is reduced. Minerals such as nitrogen and phosphorus are already present in reuse water which should allow healthy fauna growth without the need for as much additional fertilizer.
Lamar Drinking Water Plant
The third proposed project, Lamar Drinking Water Plant, is estimated to cost $350,000 with $100,000 of that being the responsibility of the City. The Water Plant Building on Lamar Ave. has existed since the 1920’s and is in a state of disrepair. With severe termite damage, concrete decay, and compromised electrical components, the building has become a hazardous working environment, necessitating repair. This facility is of integral importance to the supply of clean drinking water to City residents.
The total budgetary impact to the City of Brooksville would be $1.2 million for all three (3) projects. Funding would be provided from the City’s Water and Wastewater budget. The staff recommendation is for the City Council to approve the three (3) projects and for Sunrise Consulting Group to lobby the Florida Executive and Legislative branches to acquire funding on behalf of the City.
Advanced Life Support (ALS) Fire Engine
Additionally, Sunrise Consulting Group discussed lobbying support for one (1) fire department project. The proposed project for funding includes an Advanced Life Support (ALS) Fire Engine to replace one (1) of the current engines. The company producing the engine to be replaced went out of business in 2014 causing any support, in the form of parts and service, to completely evaporate. As well as the dissolution of the fire engine manufacturer, the choice to purchase an ALS engine specifically is to support the change of Brooksville’s EMS capabilities to ALS. Additionally included with the purchase of a new ALS fire engine is four (4) bullet resistant vests for use in hostile emergency response circumstances. The estimated total cost is $425,000 with $100,000 of that to be provided by the City from the Fire Department budget. As with the three(3) Public Works projects, staff recommends the City Council to approve the fire department project, and for Sunrise Consulting Group to lobby on behalf of the City. During the Sept. 16 City Council meeting, a motion was made to approve lobbying for all four(4) projects, passing unanimously. 5-0.