Lisa MacNeil

Strategic Marine Area Plan considered by Commissioners

Acceptance of the Strategic Marine Area Plan for Hernando County was tabled at the August 28, 2018 Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting.  Due to unclear language and omitted definitions, the board will again consider the plan at the regular meeting on September 25, 2018, after necessary changes are made.

Aquatics Manager Keith Kolasa presented the science-based Strategic Marine Area Plan, that is described as a product of the RESTORE act, as well as a grass-roots effort that has been in development by members of the Port Authority.  

SWFWMD engineer: Withlacoochee gauges dropping upstream, but rainfall deciding factor on flood levels

SWFWMD (Southwest Florida Water Management District) Senior Professional Engineer Mark Fulkerson, Ph.D., P.E presented to the Board of County Commissioners at the regular meeting on August 28, 2018 the current condition of the Withlacoochee River, and gave some insight on its history, impacts of seasonal rainfall, and flooding considerations for the future.

HCSD Magnet Program & County Growth Discussion

At the School Board workshop held August 14, 2018, Supervisor of School Choice Angela Kennedy presented new Magnet School Procedures Plan for the 2019-2020 school year.  According to Kennedy, there are changes to some of the language in the application packet, and dates have been adjusted for the coming school year. The board also discussed school capacity in the future, as future development in Spring Hill is expected to increase the number of students attending schools in the area.

Brooksville Scrutinizes Budget, Considers Employee Raises for FY 2018-2019

Brooksville City Council held a six-and-a-half hour Budget Workshop on August 13, 2018, where the members discussed the budgets of several funds, most of them under the Public Works Department.  Salary increases for city employees were discussed in greater detail, with the entire council in agreement with a salary increase for non-management or executive employees, up to 5%. Merit increases for manager-level and above were also discussed. 

P&Z recommends Spring Center rezoning and BOCC approves comp plan

The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) voted unanimously at the regular meeting on August 13, 2018 to approve their recommendation of the rezoning necessary to develop Spring Center, a 440-acre central hub of retail stores, restaurants and office space, surrounded by multi- and single-family homes.   Their approval was given with three small changes to the performance conditions described in the staff report.

County considers ‘bang for their buck’ in reducing Weeki Wachee Springshed Nitrogen levels

Hernando County Utilities Director Gordon Onderdonk asked Board of County Commissioners on July 24, 2018 for approval to withdraw current funding applications for proposed septic-to-sewer conversions.  The current applications total approximately $50-million, co-funded with Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), however also required a $4200 portion funded by each respective property owner, or other county funding.  The board approved unanimously.

Tentative millage rates set in Brooksville

The Brooksville City Council voted 4-1 to lower the tentative millage rate at a special budget meeting held on Monday, July 23, 2018.   The new tentative rate will be lowered from 6.9763 to 6.2 mills.  The council also voted in favor of keeping work boots and Gatorade on the Department of Public Works (DPW) budget.

The tentative millage rate was solely opposed by Council Member Joe Bernardini.   Mayor Betty Erhard and Council Member Brent Young opposed the city’s responsibility for work boots and Gatorade.

Brooksville City Council passes amendment and opinion referendum for ballot

BROOKSVILLE- On July 16, 2018 City council considered an ordinance for a charter amendment and a resolution for the November 6, 2018 election ballot.

Ordinance 891, places an amendment on the ballot recommended by the city’s Charter Review Committee which aligns procedures for citizen petitions of ordinance proposals with citizen petitions proposing charter amendments. 

Ballot Title: CITY CHARTER CLEANUP AMENDMENT
CLARIFYING PETITION FORM AND CONTENT REQUIREMENTS
FOR ORDINANCES PROPOSED BY PETITION

Scubanauts Conduct Fish Surveys at New Reefs

During the weekend of July 7-8, 2018, Hernando County Aquatics Manager Keith Kolasa led a team of SCUBAnauts to conduct fish surveys at recently deployed artificial reefs.  Everyone participating remarked about the unusual clarity of the water, which was ideal for diving and counting the new reef inhabitants.

 

Senior SCUBAnaut Noah Heskin reported that the team counted a “couple hundred bait fish” between three sites.  He also reported counting a shark, a few sea turtles, and a lot of Gag Grouper, each approximately one foot long.