Storms nick Citrus

Two boaters in a small aluminum boat make their way to the boat ramp at the end of West Fort Island Trail in this 2011 photo.

Jeff Kinnard is starting off his county commission leadership with a splash.

Kinnard, expected to be named commission chairman at Tuesday’s board meeting, includes on the agenda a comprehensive proposal to address numerous water-related recreational activities, including a boat ramp user fee to help pay for all of it.

The presentation notes that user fees are charged by the city of Crystal River and Hernando County government, as well as seven private ramps in Citrus County.

His proposal suggests additional artificial reefs for fishing and more parking spaces at two of the county’s most-utilized boat ramps — Fort Island Trail Park and Fort Island Gulf Beach. The Homosassa River boat ramp is also heavily utilized but there is nowhere near to expand parking, the report states.

Kinnard also proposes an 18.2-mile kayak/canoe trail between the mouth of the Crystal River along the coast to the Chassahowitzka River.

East Citrus is included. Kinnard proposes a discussion on whether the county is doing enough to provide boat ramp maintenance or weed harvesting on the Tsala Apopka lake chain.

The proposal says funding from grants and other sources is available for most projects, but would not cover their total costs.

User fees, the proposal notes, could provide a significant contribution. The report notes the popularity of boating hasn’t stopped people from using boat ramps even with fees. Hernando County, which charges $5 per use, has seen user fee revenue increase from $140,000 in 2015 to $192,000 last year, the report states.

Kinnard proposes a $10 per day user fee, or $50 annual pass.

The water plan presentation is on Kinnard’s agenda, slated toward the end of the meeting.

The commission meeting begins at 1 p.m. in the courthouse, 110 N. Apopka Ave., Inverness. The agenda includes:

• Tuesday is the organizational meeting. Along with naming the new chairman (Kinnard now is vice chairman), newly re-elected Commissioners Scott Carnahan and Ron Kitchen Jr. will be sworn into another four-year term.

• Approving a $827,850 bid to place a sidewalk on Yulee Drive from West Central Street to U.S. 19 in Homosassa. The state is paying $62,487 of that amount.

 • Setting priorities for the legislative delegation meeting, which is 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, at the courthouse. Priorities include the widening of U.S. 41 north of Inverness, funding to replace septic tanks with sewer, and SunTrail funding, which would help pay for new bicycle and pedestrian recreational trails.

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Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or mwright@chronicleonline.com.

(2) comments

DandyCandy535

I have every faith in Jeff Kinnard's leadership .... He will make for an excellent Chair!

Miuke Nelson

Is it wise to add more boats when manatees are dying in record numbers?

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