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County asks state to help with water plans

The millions in funding would help tie residents and businesses to central sewers and a master pump.

The County Commission agreed Tuesday to send out requests for another round of state funding for its two main water quality projects.

The county's applications, which will be taken to Tallahassee this week, include requests for $2.5-million for the Homosassa project and $3.12-million for the Chassahowitzka project during the 2001-2002 fiscal year.

The funding for Homosassa would go toward phase three, which will connect homes and businesses around Halls River Road and Yulee Drive-Fishbowl Drive to the master pump stations and transmission mains built in the previous phases.

The Chassahowitzka funding would go toward phase two, or building the force main for that project.

"A lot of people are anxious to get tied in (to central sewers)," Ken Cheek, the county's water projects coordinator, told commissioners. "So we're trying to facilitate that."

In other commission news:

+ The board agreed to a one-year contract with the Nature Coast Emergency Medical Foundation, the not-for-profit group that will take over the ambulance service when Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services leaves the county Oct. 1.

County Attorney Larry Haag said the contract, which was modeled after the one Volusia County has with its ambulance service, was passed by the Nature Coast board Monday.

+ The board agreed to allow some county employees to use purchasing cards, which work like credit cards, to buy "low-cost" items like computer accessories or lumber. The card would save employees the hassle and delay of filling out purchasing orders for minor items, budget director Cathy Taylor said.

Taylor told the commissioners that the card has several safeguards, including spending limits and online monitoring of expenses, to make sure employees do not misuse the cards.

+ Commissioners gave their blessing to county departments that want to allow Central Florida Community College students to help out in the offices. Darryl Clouse, director of the Office of Systems Management, said that the college wants students to get "real world" experience while earning their degree, and that the county could use the extra help.

"I'm sure we can keep four or six of (the students) going pretty well, and maybe even take more beyond that," he said.