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In his last official appearance before commissioners, John Siefert gave a presentation about his three years of working to improve the county’s economy.
Siefert then introduced Don Taylor, the new executive director of the Citrus County Economic Development Council (EDC), to the Citrus County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on Tuesday.
Saying the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, Siefert outlined EDC projects of the past three years, starting with setting up the Citrus County Transportation Planning Organization with the county, Crystal River and Inverness at its own expense.
The EDC joined the Tampa Bay Partnership and Enterprise Florida. With the chamber, the EDC set up the Citrus Enterprise Center to develop small businesses and to give office space to the Small Business Development Center. With the county, the EDC set up a business incentives program.
The EDC assisted water and sewer infrastructure on U.S. 19 through a $750,000 federal grant. It initiated the County Road 491 medical corridor plans. It prepared the application and strategic plan for the county’s enterprise zone that gained state approval. It has taken part in lobbying for the extension of the Suncoast Parkway. Last week, the EDC sponsored its 28th workshop, a job fair with Citrus County United Way.
Tuesday evening, the EDC hosted a reception at the Old Courthouse to honor Siefert.
In other business:
* By a 4-1 vote, the board approved budget transfers from the utilities vehicle trust fund and convention bureau budgets for the current budget year.
Commissioner Scott Adams questioned the allocation of $27,800 to buy a truck for leak detection staff.
Assistant County Administrator Ken Frink said the general fund was frozen, but the utilities vehicle trust fund was not. It is a new vehicle, not a replacement, and had been approved at a previous board meeting.
Ken Cheek, director, Water Resources Department, said two people were hired in response to a report by Southwest Florida Water Management District that the county was pumping more water than allowed by its consumptive use permit in Sugarmill Woods and faced a $250,000 fine. The fleet director had no truck available for the new crew.
Adams said, “In my opinion, we have enough vehicles,” and opposed the transfer.
* The board unanimously agreed to apply for grant funding to extend the current water utility system to the Northwest Quadrant of the county where the levels of arsenic in the drinking water from private wells exceed the standard.
* Management and Budget Director Cathy Taylor presented the fifth budget analysis for the Physical Environment budget category. The category accounts for 14 percent of the county’s budget, costing $32.4 million generated mostly by user fees. Property taxes pay for extension services, aquatic services and aquatic maintenance of county trails. User fees of $31.6 million cover solid waste management, utilities, fishing improvement reforestation, special assessments and utility fee trust account. The next presentation on March 26 will cover General Government.
* In public hearings: The board approved a street vacation of a portion of North Gulf Avenue in Crystal River. It approved the transfer of the franchise service territory from Aqua Utilities Florida Inc. to the Florida Governmental Utility Authority. It approved a request by Genesis Group to allow commercial development of about 50 acres of land on the north side of County Road 486 west of County Road 491 adjacent to the south end of Black Diamond.
* The board unanimously approved the application for funding to expand training for first responders when dealing with people who suffer from mental illness.
Contact Chronicle reporter Chris Van Ormer at 352-564-2916 or firstname.lastname@example.org.