Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando administrator asks residents for input and they oblige

Brooksville Vice Mayor Frankie Burnett speaks during County Administrator David Hamilton’s budget presentation Tuesday.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Brooksville Vice Mayor Frankie Burnett speaks during County Administrator David Hamilton’s budget presentation Tuesday.

BROOKSVILLE — County Administrator David Hamilton knew he'd opened the floodgates as soon as he started his first community budget workshop on Tuesday evening.

He wanted to know how the government he recently took charge of has been doing its job, what services citizens value and what are not so prized. He will use the information to steer spending cuts this summer.

At the first of six planned meetings, Hamilton got all of that plus an education on some widely held beliefs on how government relates to the citizens of Hernando County. The meeting was in Kennedy Park near South Brooksville.

Community activist Paul Boston asked how the county could talk to South Brooksville residents about budget cuts when "there are little or no services given to this community'' by the county.

He said some in the largely African-American community see it as "an organized plot by the government'' to keep the area residents undereducated, in low-wage jobs and "entrapped.''

Boston also expressed frustration that county monies spent in the area were only to correct previous problems the county created there, such as the contaminated site of the old Department of Public Works complex.

Brooksville Vice Mayor Frankie Burnett also criticized the county's efforts to fix the contamination that had been known for 20 years. Burnett said it was time for the county to "start doing better'' for the residents of the area by putting more money into needed improvements.

Joe Lemieux, a Hernando County business owner, tried to set the stage for Hamilton, who just arrived in Hernando County in March. He said within the past decade, the Ku Klux Klan still met openly in the county.

"If you don't believe that this is a racist community, then you don't know this community,'' he said. "That's what you've walked into.''

During the more than two-hour session, Hamilton told the two dozen residents that he heard their concerns and understood they were seeking some committed plan to help the community. He also agreed to return in June to discuss the proposed budget for capital improvements.

Hamilton also got an earful of comments about general concerns about wasteful spending and overpaid senior county staff. Lemieux said the county seemed interested in making budget cuts that would hurt the poorest people. Displaying a series of placards emblazoned with the salaries of top county department heads, he said Hamilton should cut those pay levels.

He noted that county Parks and Recreation director Pat Fagan "makes about $95,000'' and the county allows him time off to go to his other paid job, as an elected School Board member. "There's something wrong with that,'' he said. "These people don't deserve all this money.''

Ana Trinque, with the county's Republican Executive Committee, blamed some of what she called bloated salaries on the former Human Resources director Barbara Dupre, who had ordered salary studies that drove up paychecks.

Hamilton explained that he is in the process of discussing a streamlined county staff, is examining various aspects of the Human Resources department and is willing to examine the salary structure.

Hamilton spoke in detail about the county budget, noting the county expects to lose $13.5-million in property taxes because of Amendment 1, County Commission action and falling property values.

County staff also conducted a satisfaction survey of the audience on county services. The top county service priorities all related to public safety.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1434.

>>fast facts

If you go

The remaining community meetings are slated for:

Today, 2 p.m., Withlacoochee Bicentennial Hall, 16257 Lingle Road, Istachatta.

May 15, 2 p.m., Ridge Manor Community Center, 34240 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville.

May 20, 6:30 p.m., Lake House, 1202 Kenlake Ave., Spring Hill.

May 22, 2 p.m., Coast Guard Auxiliary Building, Shoal Line Boulevard, Hernando Beach.

May 27, 6:30 p.m., VFW Post 10209, 14736 Edward R. Noll Drive, Spring Hill.

Hernando administrator asks residents for input and they oblige 05/07/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 9, 2008 11:06am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Blogs

    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102