Wednesday, September 26, 2018
News Roundup

What to watch for in Hernando County in 2017: Roadwork, school progress reports and more

Here are some stories to keep an eye on in Hernando County during 2017:

• During the 2016 election season, several County Commission candidates, including the two new ones who won seats, questioned whether County Administrator Len Sossamon should be doing both the job of administrator and economic development director. With Commissioner Jeff Holcomb expected back from leave in the coming months to break any potential for a tie vote, the question of Sossamon's future will likely be decided.

• Flashing warning lights and roadway barriers will continue to be part of the landscape as the Florida Department of Transportation continues reconstruction at the Interstate 75/State Road 50 interchange as the six-laning of the freeway continues.

• The state will issue its latest progress report on Hernando superintendent of schools Lori Romano's long-stated goal to create an "A-rated district of excellence" when it releases school grades for the current school year. For the 2015-16 school year, the district held on to its B grade while the ratings of many nearby districts declined.

• With the county's five-year contract for countywide residential trash collection through Republic Services ending in 2017, county officials are gathering public input to prepare for what waste collection services could look like in 2018.

• Brooksville lawyer Tom Hogan Jr.'s challenge of his $10 million federal tax bill is scheduled for trial in Tampa in May. The Internal Revenue Service says Hogan and longtime business partner R. Victor Taglia owe taxes on more than $50 million funneled through a "tax avoidance scheme" in the U.S. Virgin Islands more than a decade ago. Hogan and Taglia have stated they were entitled to pay a dramatically lower tax rate as "bona fide" residents of the Islands.

• A divided Brooksville City Council is headed toward a decision on a controversial plan to lease the former site of the Quarry Golf Course to Florida Blueberry Festival Inc. Proponents say creating a dedicated grounds for the festival would be a boon for the city. Opponents worry about granting the land at a minimal cost for a long period of time — as much as 60 years.

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