BROOKSVILLE — For more than three years, the Hernando County Commission kicked around the idea that it could use garbage generated in the county to provide a renewable source of energy, eliminate the cost of expanding the landfill and better meet state recycling guidelines.
It could have been the largest public works project in recent memory for Hernando County, and officials eventually began seeking proposals from interested companies.
Once proposals came forward, however, questions arose about which vendors were tied to which local business interests.
The County Commission settled on Freedom Energy Hernando LLC, whose chief executive officer was Nat Mundy. The proposal was for a 20-year contract under which Freedom Energy would build a plant on 13 acres of property at the county landfill. That plant would process the majority of the county’s garbage into pellets that could be used for fuel.
But residents raised financial questions about Mundy, his track record and whether he would ever be able to secure a buyer for the pellets.
Mundy and his attorney, Jake Varn, assured residents and commissioners that every kind of safeguard necessary was in the contract, and that the county would be protected.
In May, however, the County Commission rejected both the proposed contract with Mundy and the entire idea of a waste-to-energy contract. As one commissioner noted, there was no hurry to create such a program when the county’s landfill still had 80 years of life left in it.
Barbara Behrendt, Times Staff Writer