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Saturday, Mar 28, 2015

Hernando cites past year's accomplishments


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BROOKSVILLE - Each year, the county clerk's office ticks off a dozen or so items it deems momentous enough to make the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

This year's list contains a mix of accomplishments and includes completion of a years-long road project, a new name for the local airport and an expansion of medical facilities at the Hernando County Jail.

Department heads submit what they believe are the biggest achievements in their respective areas. The county finance department reviews those entries and chooses the ones that are most significant and apply to the financial activity for the past fiscal year.

County Commissioner Dave Russell said he is impressed with this year's achievements, especially given the times.

"I think, overall, it's exceptional given the economic conditions, that we were able to push forward with a lot of these projects," he said.

Next year, Russell hopes to add one big accomplishment that many have been anticipating: the completion of the widening of State Road 50 from U.S. 19 to the Suncoast Parkway.

Here is the list of major accomplishments outlined in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report this past year:

??The Hernando County Public Library system received the 2013 Library of the Year designation.

The designation, given out by the Florida Library Association, cited the Hernando County's outstanding service, innovative programming and use of emerging technologies.

??The $2.3-million Peck Sink stormwater treatment system was completed after six years. The project removes trash and pollutants from the surrounding basin so it doesn't harm the Florida aquifer.

??The two-year, $3.4 million Sunshine Grove Road improvement project, extending from State Road 50 to Ken Austin Parkway, was completed. The project consists of water and sewer line replacement, road re-construction and widening, improved drainage, sidewalks and traffic signals.

??The county clerk and comptroller's office transitioned into a paperless environment in the judicial system by starting use of electronic filing of court case documents from attorneys and government agencies.

??A $1 million construction project or the south Brooksville vision area initiative was completed and included installing new water and stormwater lines, fire hydrants, sewer system and repaving.

??As part of a re-branding initiative, the Hernando County Airport was officially re-named the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport. The name change was challenged by Tampa International Airport officials, who feared the local re-branding would cut into its business. The situation resolved itself when Hernando County officials agreed to add the word 'Bay' to the name.

??The Hernando County Sheriff's Office opened a new medical facility at the detention center, increasing the number of medical housing beds from nine to 36.

Other accomplishments listed in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for last year include: The development of a new tourism website; the hosting of the first annual Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival; partnership with a civic group to refurbish, maintain and manage the Chinsegut Hill Manor House; an on-line permitting system to facilitate builders and developers; and the completion of a new firearms training range for the sheriff's office.

(352) 544-5290

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