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Money on the table at BOCC meeting

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By Chris Van Ormer

WHAT: Board of County Commissioners meeting.
WHEN: 1 p.m. Tuesday; public comments and questions will be taken at 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: Room 100, Citrus County Courthouse, 110 N. Apopka Ave., Inverness.
AGENDA: Available on the county’s website, http://www.bocc.citrus.fl.us, at the Lecanto Government Building or in the commissioners’ suite on the second floor of the courthouse in Inverness.
WATCH: The meeting will be televised live on cable TV on Channel 622 on Bright House and Channel 9 on Comcast. The meeting also can be viewed live online.

Consultants’ agreements are expected to dominate Tuesday’s meeting of the Citrus County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), as board members explore alternate revenue sources in the wake of learning the county’s biggest taxpayer — Progress Energy/Duke Energy — is retiring the Crystal River nuclear plant.

Because property values have declined for five years, in September the BOCC initiated a search for other ways to support its facilities and services. A representative of Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson presented different revenue options in November, and the BOCC asked for a plan to be developed for such options as Municipal Services Benefit Units (MSBUs) and Municipal Services Taxing Units (MSTUs).

Revenue for services performed in an MSBU comes from non-ad valorem assessments. The work performed in the MSBU benefits that specific area.

Revenue for MSTU work programs is produced by ad valorem (property) taxes. The millage rate is determined by dividing the cost of the annual work program by the taxable value of all properties within the unit. 

At 2:30 p.m., the board will be asked to approve a scope of services agreement with Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson for the development and implementation of an MSBU for road improvements in an amount not to exceed $27,500.

The board will be asked to approve a second agreement for an MSBU for fire protection services in an amount not to exceed $50,000. A third agreement would be for an MSTU for road patrol services in an amount not to exceed $7,500.

In an effort to obtain funding under the RESTORE Act, the BOCC will be asked at 3 p.m. to contract for professional services with Tetra Tech Inc. in the amount of $53,710.

The Restore Act of 2010 will provide funds from the companies responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on April 20, 2010, to invest in environmental projects along the Gulf Coast. 

Funds are available through five streams. The BOCC will need to get projects ready to make applications for the funds that will be spread among five states.

At 2 p.m., County Administrator Brad Thorpe will present the third budget analysis workshop, this time focusing on the transportation budget.

Transportation covers several functions under public works, such as maintaining about 2,026 miles of paved roads and 240 miles of unpaved roadways, and maintaining 27 bridges and 22 drainage structures, not to mention 3,500 drainage retention areas and 1,200 drainage rights of way. It also covers about 36,300 traffic control signs, 72 signals, 26 flashing beacons and 24 school flashers.

Transportation includes the Public Works Department that covers Aquatics, Engineering (including oversight of the Crystal River and Inverness airports), Facilities Management, Fleet Management, Grounds Maintenance, Road Maintenance and Solid Waste Management. 

At 5:01 p.m., a public hearing will be conducted to consider a change of land use designation to allow the development of a radio broadcasting facility in Crystal Glen.

In other business:

* Thorpe will ask the board to approve creating the position of executive director of tourism. This position would be paid from tourist taxes collected and have no impact on ad valorem taxes.

* Commissioner Scott Adams will introduce discussions about the Progress Energy/Duke Energy situation and the vehicle trust fund.

* Commissioner Rebecca Bays will recommend an appointment to the Citizens’ Advisory Council of the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority.

* Commission Chairman Joe Meek will announce vacancies and seek nominations to several advisory boards.