Sunday, May 20, 2018
News Roundup

Hernando commission okays strategic plan, despite some objections

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Administrator Len Sossamon trotted out the details of his year-in-the-making strategic plan on Tuesday.

Full of goals for economic viability, environmental sustainability and community strengthening, the plan is designed to provide a road map for Hernando's future.

"Today is where the fun begins,'' Sossamon told county commissioners, calling the document — derived from a community survey, meetings with business leaders, town hall meetings and comments from residents — "the war plan.''

What Sossamon didn't anticipate was that the first battle would be with a group of residents that regularly attends commission meetings.

After his formal presentation, Sossamon spoke about assembling tactical plans. He talked about creating a multi-modal community, providing low-income housing for veterans and rerouting the crush of traffic from downtown Brooksville.

Projects could be funded with federal grants and a sales tax increase, he said.

But one of the regulars in the audience, Shirley Miketinac, stepped to the audience and denounced the plan as "doublespeak.''

"All of those things are a part of Agenda 21. … Don't turn us over to the United Nations," Miketinac pleaded.

Agenda 21 is a voluntary development action plan by the United Nations. Activists, some of whom have been associated with the tea party movement by the national media, have said that Agenda 21 is a conspiracy by the U.N. to deprive individuals of property rights.

Local government critic Hamilton Hanson said he was insulted by the plan, which he claimed was "tantamount to the communist manifesto.'' Hanson, who has criticized the town hall meetings and survey done by the county, argued that the plan only reflects what a handful of Hernando residents would support.

"I guess it's all a matter of opinion and perspective,'' Sossamon responded, noting that he tried to show leadership by providing a proactive plan to create a community that businesses and residents would want to call home.

"We've taken the heat for years for not having a vision or a plan,'' said commission Chairman Dave Russell. "Without a plan, where do we go from here?''

Commissioners noted that they might not buy into every aspect of Sossamon's plan, but they appreciated having one.

They voted unanimously to approve it.

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