Lisa MacNeil

Cemex mining operations expansion approved

County commissioners voted unanimously to approve the Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPA), CPAM 1702 that will allow the Cemex Corporation to expand mining operations.  At the regular Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on June 12, 2018, concerned citizens again filled the chamber to protest the plan.  Employees of Cemex were also in attendance, however none spoke to the commissioners.

Revisions to come for Reclaimed Water Master Plan, Septic to Sewer project tabled for now

A workshop was held on June 5, 2018 for the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) to consider the development of a Reclaimed Water Master Plan (RWMP) and hear updates on the status of the Septic to Sewer (S2S) project.  Three members of the board decided to have staff review and revise the RWMP and not support the S2S project due to high cost and uncertain funding.  Commissioner Jeff Holcomb was not present at the meeting.

BOCC on Kass Circle plan: more focus needed on attracting businesses, less on social issues

On May 8, 2018, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) acting in its Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) capacity, discussed updates to the Kass Circle Community Redevelopment Area plan. Senior Planner Michelle Miller began the presentation with the history and progression of the project.  The grant-funded study of the neighborhood began in 2014, and in 2016, a Finding of Necessity was completed, and a resolution was adopted by the BOCC in 2016.  The CRA was formed during this time.

BOCC approves agreement with SWFWMD for Weeki Wachee carrying capacity study

The Weeki Wachee River has been a frequent subject of discussion in recent years, primarily due to its popularity.  The number of people visiting the river, usually on watercraft has raised concerns of safety, damage to the riverbanks, litter, and harm to wildlife.

Based on these discussions, a Carrying Capacity Study agreement was signed between Hernando County and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD),  each paying $125,000 to conduct the study, which is to begin on June 1, 2018 and conclude in December 2019.  

June 1: Sheriff's Office replaces Brooksville PD

A faint outline of where the ‘Brooksville Police’ lettering was once boldly fixed is visible on the outside of the city department’s former headquarters.  June 1, 2018: the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office will now oversee law enforcement within the city of Brooksville and several former Brooksville Police Officers will be sworn in to serve as Sheriff’s Deputies.

County loosens restrictions on where employees with a concealed weapon license can carry

At the May 8, 2018 Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) regular meeting, the board voted unanimously to allow county workers with valid Concealed Weapon License, commonly known as a “concealed carry” to have their firearms in their possession while conducting county business.   Chairman Steve Champion began the discussion by reviewing his directive to the appropriate staff to “Look at surrounding counties and the actions they’ve had regarding policies that go above and beyond what the state law requires regarding concealed weapon holders.”

Local government boards convene to discuss school hardening

On Monday, May 21, 2018, the Hernando County School Board met with the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) and Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis.  The special Interlocal Governmental Meeting’s purpose was to bring the two boards together with the primary focus of finding funds to comply with new school security mandates, which are described in Senate Bill (SB) 7026.  The school district estimates the cost of compliance to begin at $22-million, and a state grant up to $720,375 is available to the county.

School Board discusses how to secure funding to improve school safety

Following the Marjory-Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Parkland, Florida, officials passed legislation requiring counties to harden school security and make schools safer.  Specific details of what is to be done “remains in the shade,” according to School Board Chairman Mark Johnson,  since security strategies are the focus.  The board elected to hold an “in-the-shade meeting,” where they will discuss the specific items and costs in order to increase school safety, expected to start at $22-million.