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Hernando, Brooksville fire units to consolidate

BROOKSVILLE — County officials used words like "pride'' and "cooperation'' as the County Commission agreed Tuesday to close county Fire Station 24 and move operations into the nearby Brooksville Fire Station.

The consolidation was one of many suggestions made by the fire study commissioned by the county last year. The nearness of the two stations was "too close to the county and the city to bear'' and the county's station was in serious need of replacement, said Hernando County Fire Chief Mike Nickerson.

The county agreed to use impact fees to build a $572,000 addition to the Brooksville facility to accommodate the combined staff.

"It's a new day in Brooksville and a new day in Hernando County'' when the government considers the best interest of taxpayers in their decisions, said Brooksville Fire Chief Tim Mossgrove. "We've climbed mountains over the last year and a half.''

Commission Chairman Chris Kingsley agreed, noting that what used to be an atmosphere of "anti-cooperation'' has turned out around. "I think it's pretty amazing that we have gone this far,'' he said.

The agreement the commissioners approved runs for 25 years.

In other action:

• County Administrator David Hamilton told commissioners that he expected to bring back an agreement on how the sheriff will take over emergency management for Hernando County at the Oct. 14 commission meeting.

According to a memo to the commission from Hamilton, the county and the sheriff still have not agreed to a detailed format for a budget, have not yet worked out details of the specific duties and responsibilities that would be transferred and have not worked out what key personnel would work jointly for both entities.

Hamilton closed by saying that he is confident that the county is prepared in the case of any emergency under the leadership of Cecilia Patella, interim emergency management manager.

• Commissioners voted unanimously to allow their county Purchasing and Public Works departments to craft a request for proposals for a public/private partnership to build a new judicial center.

Jim Gantt, purchasing director, told commissioners that he expected that the request would go out by the middle of next month.

• Commissioners confirmed the appointment of Russell Washburn as the new warden for the Hernando County Jail under the Corrections Corporation of America. Washburn, who first started at the jail as a corrections officer in 1996, worked his way up through the ranks to becoming training manager in 2001.

Then he served as chief of security at a CCA facility in Tulsa, Okla., and chief of security and assistant warden in Quincy before returning to Hernando County as assistant warden in January 2006.

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

Hernando, Brooksville fire units to consolidate 09/23/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 25, 2008 6:29pm]

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