BROOKSVILLE — The Brooksville City Council on Monday is expected to consider shutting down its fire department and signing an interlocal agreement to have Hernando County Fire Rescue serve the city.County officials met with the City Council Monday to discuss the agreement that would have the county take over fire service Oct. 1. The discussion ranged from fire staffing in the city to the fire equipment housed at the city’s station, deputy county administrator Jeff Rogers told the Hernando County Commission on Tuesday.The county department likely would add approximately 12 employees, and revenue it expects from the city under the new fire fee structure would more than pay for that, he said.TImes staff … [Read more...] about Brooksville council to vote Monday on turning fire service over to Hernando County
BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County will charge fire service fees differently in the next fiscal year after a unanimous vote of the County Commission on Tuesday.The move to make all property owners pay the same flat fee will be a better deal for those with more expensive houses.Commissioners talked about the change earlier this year as they grappled with budget shortfalls. Hernando County Fire Rescue suffered a significant shortfall several years ago, requiring them to take out a $7.5 million loan from the general fund.Last year, commissioners resurrected a half mill property tax for fire services to begin to pay back the loan. This year, county officials voiced concern that property owners with lower-valued homes don’t generate much tax revenue, but still require county services.They estimated that approximately 11,000 parcels paid no property tax this year.All county property owners, except those in Brooksville, pay a flat fee of $194.70, plus a half mill property tax, for … [Read more...] about Hernando County residents to pay flat fee next year for fire service
BROOKSVILLE — In the midst of Hernando County’s budget shortfall, the county commission’s evaluation score this year for county administrator Len Sossamon is the lowest since he arrived in 2012. However, as in past years, Sossamon has both fans and critics on the board.The multi-million-dollar shortfall is the definitive issue in ratings by commissioners Jeff Holcomb and John Allocco. who marked Sossamon "unsatisfactory" in financial management. Commission Chairman Steve Champion marked him "marginal, needs improvement," in that category.Commissioner Wayne Dukes marked Sossamon as "excellent/proficient" in each of the 15 qualities measured, as he has in past years.Sossamon’s average score this year was 4.2, with Dukes giving him a 5.0, the highest possible, and Holcomb giving the lowest score, 2.93. The five-point scale places Sossamon’s average just above the category of "exceeding expectations’’ overall.The rating system includes marks for … [Read more...] about Score slips for Hernando County administrator. Budget troubles to blame.
Hernando County Commissioners will mark their legacy forever when they vote at the final adoption hearing scheduled for Tuesday, June 12 on the proposed CEMEX mine.Allowing 20 years of mining in a residentially-zoned area is unfair to nearby residents and the 8,000 residents of Brooksville. The chronic blasting and noise from open-pit lime rock mining, property damage from vibration waves and tremors, reduced property values, unsightly landscapes, health threats from silica dust and the degradation of drinking water, especially for residents on wells, will all reduce quality of life. No wonder there is widespread opposition. A mining expert characterized the threat to operations at the hospital across the street as: "Here, we are not concerned with rattling of dishes or displacement of a picture frame, but the integrity of the operation of the hospital."Mining down 70 feet on land bordering the historic African American Spring Hill Cemetery is a travesty.Business development along … [Read more...] about Column: Hernando County commissioners face big decision on mining
BROOKSVILLE — For the past decade or two, a conflict over space needs at the downtown Hernando County Government Center has resurfaced every couple of years, pitting county government against the county judiciary.In January, the County Commission voted to move key county services out of Brooksville, to its Pinebrook property on Cortez Boulevard west of the Suncoast Parkway. There, the county would renovate the Pinebrook building and build a new structure to house county constitutional officers.The plan had a rough time line of three years and a general budget of $16.4 million.But last month, commissioners learned they were spending millions of dollars more than they took in as revenue, throwing into question their budget plans and hopes for resolving the space needs.Without a significant influx of new funding, such as a new sales tax, the Pinebrook project could stall, county officials said. That didn’t sit well with the judges.Last month, the chief judge of the Fifth … [Read more...] about Judge’s letter warns Hernando County it must add judicial space now