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County, Brooksville to discuss utility deal

The County Commission, after discussing a threat from the city of Brooksville to end a longstanding agreement over utility service areas, decided Tuesday to schedule a joint meeting with the Brooksville City Council. Commission Chairwoman Diane Rowden had asked her colleagues to discuss the issue because of concerns about a letter Mayor Joe Johnston III sent to the county on Feb. 7. Johnston objected to the county's criticism of a city policy that allows it to annex utility customers outside the city. He said the criticism endangered the utility agreement, which gives the city the first right to provide utility service to an area around the city covering about 50 square miles. Larry Jennings, the county's planning director and interim administrator, said after the meeting that both sides should be careful about tampering with the agreement that benefits them both by allowing them to plan for growth.

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