Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New groupswill screenwork forcommission

BROOKSVILLE — County commissioners on Tuesday found themselves torn on two critical issues involving the spending of taxpayer dollars.

One: Should the county stop public transit services and finally park THE Bus, even though the system is key to Hernando County's participation in regional transportation planning?

Two: Should County Administrator David Hamilton get reimbursed for his tuition as he works toward his doctorate? His contract specifically says he should.

The commission also faced a decision on how to make such decisions in the future.

Commissioners agreed unanimously on a new way of doing business, which would allow more detailed and public discussions of significant issues before they come to a formal vote of the commission. Those discussions would take place before two new standing committees —— one focused on budget and finance and the other on business and economic development.

They deferred the discussion of the future of THE Bus and tuition reimbursements for county employees until those committees get up and running in March.

The standing committees were an idea that grew out of a goal-setting session commissioners had in December. The idea was to allow more discussion of major issues before they reach the commission.

Commissioners will be heavily involved in the committees. While formal acceptance of the members of each committee won't happen until next month, the commission has talked about having commissioners Rose Rocco and Jeff Stabins — along with three residents — on the budget committee and commissioners John Druzbick and Jim Adkins on the economic development committee, along with three residents.

Commission Chairman Dave Russell said he wanted to serve in a non-voting capacity on both committees.

The county has already begun seeking volunteers for the resident positions and is giving preference to people whose backgrounds and education match the committees' work — finance, banking and accounting for the budget committee and business, industrial and logistical backgrounds for the economic development committee.

The budget committee would discuss such issues as the tax rate, purchases over $100,000, the budget process and audits. The economic development committee would talk about such issues as impact fees, county infrastructure and policies relating to business.

With Tuesday's discussion, the committees already will have a lot to talk about when they start meeting over the next two months.

The issue of whether it was time to stop spending money to provide local transportation on THE Bus was raised by Adkins when he asked if the topic could be placed on a future agenda. Russell immediately suggested that the standing committees would be a good place for that discussion.

Commissioners then debated whether THE Bus should go to both committees because it was clearly a budget issue, but transportation issues were to be discussed by the economic development committee. They left the issue vowing to discuss it further during the committee meetings.

The issue about Hamilton's tuition reimbursement had several commissioners saying they wanted to deny it. But Hamilton's contract specifically says he is entitled to reimbursement. In his case, the county could pay up to $1,066 toward his $2,600 tuition.

But commissioners decided to table the discussion and allow the budget committee to determine if, in the current tight fiscal times, tuition reimbursement should end.

A new board schedule will also take effect with the establishment of the standing committees. The budget committee will meet on the first Tuesday of the month, and the economic development committee on the third Tuesday. Regular County Commission meetings will be on the second and fourth Tuesdays.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Commission news

In other business:

• The County Commission voted to appoint Blaise Ingoglia to the county's Affordable Housing Advisory Committee. Ingoglia is a local homebuilder who ran a series of Government Gone Wild seminars in 2007. He vowed to work to oust incumbent commissioners, and last June his application to serve on the volunteer board was rejected.

• Commissioners agreed to pay $240,000 for another house needed on Elgin Boulevard in order to make improvements to the road. The latest purchase will mean that the county has just five more homes and two more vacant lots to buy. Commissioner Jim Adkins, who has been opposed to other recent property purchases along Elgin, voted against the contract. He asked if the county could change the design of the road so that it took some properties on the south side of the road because the north side properties had gotten so expensive.

New groupswill screenwork forcommission 01/27/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 6:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Forecast: Drier pattern ending in Tampa Bay as front brings building rain chances throughout weekend


    The drier, hot weather pattern across Tampa Bay will remain in place Friday before rain chances start to ramp up yet again through the weekend and into next week.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  2. Police investigating death of child in Largo


    LARGO — Police will release details this morning on the death of a child Thursday night at a mobile home park.

  3. Goodbye, iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle: Apple kills products as music moves to phones


    SAN FRANCISCO — The iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle have played their final notes for Apple.

    An iPod, iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle are displayed at an Apple store in New York in 2015. The company discontinued sales of the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle on Thursday, July 27, 2017, in a move reflecting the waning popularity of the devices in an era when most people store or stream their tunes on smartphones. [Associated Press]
  4. Review: Sherman Alexie's 'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me' a moving mother-son memoir


    Grief has no timetable and abides by no map or pattern. Nor, despite the efforts of the most skilled storytellers, does it surrender to our narratives about it.

    LOVEIS WISE   |   Special to the Times
  5. Founder of Tampa home sharing platform questions Airbnb, NAACP partnership


    TAMPA — A Tampa rival to Airbnb, which was launched because of discrimination complaints on the dominant home sharing platform, has concerns about the new partnership between Airbnb and NAACP announced this week.

    Rohan Gilkes poses for a portrait at his home and business headquarters in Tampa. 

Innclusive, a Tampa-based start-up, is a home-sharing platform that focuses on providing a positive traveling experience for minorities. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]