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Saturday, Mar 28, 2015

Brooksville sets aside red-light funds, discusses mosquito control


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Brooksville City Council approved a resolution this week that will specifically designate funds collected by the red-light camera program, as well as the First Tee of Brooksville golf program.

The resolution was an accounting matter recommended by the city’s auditors, CliftonLarsonAllen, said City Manager Jennene Norman-Vacha. The resolution ensures the specially-designated funds comply with government accounting standards.

Norman-Vacha has said previously the council has moved about $100,000 collected from red-light camera tickets to the general and multi-capital improvement funds over the past few years. Last fall, $550,000 was dedicated to road improvements and drainage repairs.

The resolution, which the council passed 4-0, states the camera revenue can be spent on city streets, sidewalks, culverts, lighting and other capital improvements.

Before the council voted, Councilman Joe Bernardini asked if the funds could be spent on driver and bicyclist safety education as well.

“There’s nothing I see in here for driver education, or pedestrian or cyclist education. … And I think that in one point in time we had agreed that if a program came along we might want to spend some of those funds,” Bernardini said.

Before the vote, public safety program was added into the resolution’s language, at Norman-Vacha’s suggestion.

Mosquito control was also discussed during the meeting. And although the county still isn’t spraying for mosquitoes within the city, Mayor Kevin Hohn said he recently had a “significant” and productive meeting on the topic.

Hohn said city and county staff were invited to a sit down by Jim Kimbrough of SunTrust Bank to talk in a “neutral setting,” and the meeting was also attended by Norman-Vacha, County Administrator Len Sossamon and County Commissioner Wayne Dukes.

“We were right the whole time, and we don’t owe the county any money” Hohn said, referring to the supposedly-unpaid mosquito bill. Hohn said the county brought with them to a meeting an “amusing” list of four or five items that county leaders believed the city needed to pay.

“The city doesn’t owe the county any of those monies, and that was the agreement,” Hohn said. “There was no payment due to the county, after much discussion.”

Hohn added there was a technology services agreement that had not been agreed upon, and the city has since cut the county a check.

Hohn praised Norman-Vacha for explaining the history of the mosquito control agreement, and where the “two groups went awry.” Hohn said the problem is a “99.9 percent misunderstanding by the county,” and that the city council passed a millage rate later abandoned by the county.

The mosquito control agreement is still in discussion, and Hohn said he hoped the MTSU “will not exist” because the service should be provided by the county.

Also Monday:

♦ After a discussion about the future of the site, council granted George Kirshy of Luigi’s Pizza’s petition to vacate the right-of-way on a lot at the corner of Veteran’s Avenue and Fridy Place. Kirshy said he intends to pave over the lot with asphalt and use the space for parking. Councilwoman Lara Bradburn cast the lone dissenting vote, and said she was concerned about aging pipes under the property, and said she supported “other options” for the site, such as the city granting Kirshy use of the space. Bradburn said there has been talk of the Florida Blueberry Festival moving to the area of Tom Varn Park, as well as several local businesses interested in expanding in the Veteran’s Avenue area.

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