Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando gives state lawmakers its wish list

BROOKSVILLE — Brooksville City Council member Joe Johnston stood before three state lawmakers at Monday's annual Hernando legislative delegation and rattled off a handful of economic and safety issues the city would like to see addressed:

A small-business jobs bill; downtown Brooksville's one-way streets; the length of yellow-light times at traffic signals.

"It's a safety thing," Johnston said about the traffic signals. "We would appreciate if anything could be done."

But within seconds of his presentation, state Rep. Robert Schenck piped up.

"You know, Joe, I've known you a long time since my days in local government and you've always represented the city well," Schenck said. "But to be perfectly honest with you, I am apt to not help the city of Brooksville at all until these red-light cameras come down."

Schenck, the House rules chairman, has long opposed red-light cameras and has called them a hidden tax.

There are now 16 cameras in the city.

Johnston said that even if the red-light cameras are abolished by the Legislature, he would still like to see the state revisit the issue of yellow lights.

The brief exchange came near the beginning of the annual legislative delegation meeting in Brooksville. Reps. Schenck and Jimmie T. Smith and Sen. Wilton Simpson, all Republicans, make up the delegation.

For nearly two hours, the three listened to local officials and residents talk about state issues, ranging from sinkhole legislation to an update on Pasco-Hernando Community College.

Two voices were noticeably absent: the Hernando County Sheriff's Office and Hernando County School District, neither of which gave a formal presentation.

Stephen Schroeder, the general counsel and executive director of governmental relations for PHCC, started his address by thanking the representatives for increasing the college's funding. He also thanked them for addressing an issue with students enrolled in both high school and college courses. The cost of dual enrollment, as it is known, has risen substantially in the past years and created a burden on colleges. Lawmakers agreed that school districts would pay the students' tuition and fees for the program for the first time. Districts projected large deficits as a result of the funding shift.

Schroeder said the new bill will help the college recoup substantial funds.

Shawn Foster, a lobbyist presenting for the Hernando County Commission, told the legislators the county has opposed red-light cameras in the past and would like to see the program eliminated or amended so that drivers can no longer be ticketed for right turns on red.

He also called for sinkhole legislation. Saying that 82 percent of all sinkhole claims come from Hernando, Pasco and Hillsborough counties, he said "sinkholes continue to plague Hernando's tax base."

Contact Danny Valentine at or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Hernando gives state lawmakers its wish list 10/14/13 [Last modified: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Data breach exposes 469 Social Security numbers


    Social Security numbers for up to 469 people were exposed in a data breach at Florida the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The breach, which the agency believes happened about two weeks ago, occurred in an online payments system, spokesperson Jenn Meale said Monday.

    Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam on Monday that nearly 500 people may have had their Social Security numbers obtained in a data breach in his office.
[Times file photo]

  2. Trigaux: Can Duke Energy Florida's new chief grow a business when customers use less power?


    Let's hope Harry Sideris has a bit of Harry Houdini in him.

    Duke Energy Florida president Harry Sideris laid out his prioriities for the power company ranging from improved customer service to the use of more large-scale solar farms to provide electricity. And he acknowledged a critical challenge: People are using less electricity these days. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  3. Editorial: Preserve wild Florida before it's too late


    The last dairy farm in Hillsborough County has milked its final cow, the pastures sold to developers who will build 1,000 new homes. The remnants of the last commercial citrus grove in Pinellas County, where the Sunshine State's famed industry began in the 19th century, were sold last year to make room for 136 homes. …

    As dairy farms and citrus groves disappear, much more needs to be done to avoid paving over Florida’s wild spaces.
  4. Florida concealed weapons permit holders exposed in computer hack


    More than 16,000 concealed weapons permit holders in Florida may have had their names accidently made public because of a data breach at the The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

  5. Editorial: Careless words unfit for a mayor


    Even his critics marvel at how well Bob Buckhorn has grown into the job since first being elected as Tampa's mayor in 2011. His grace in public and his knack for saying and doing the right things has reflected well on the city and bestowed civic pride in the mayor's office. That's why Buckhorn's cheap shot at the media …

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn fires a .50 caliber machine gun from a rigid hull inflatable boat during a Special Operations Capabilities Demonstration at the Tampa Convention Center last year. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]