new traffic pattern

Construction on County Road 491, as shown here in September 2018. A state appropriation will help pay for it.

State Rep. Ralph Massullo called the most recent legislative session productive and Citrus County benefited by receiving money for needed projects.

Massullo, R-Lecanto, was the guest speaker at Friday’s Citrus County Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Plantation on Crystal River.

“We did not raise taxes at all this year,” Massullo said to applause.

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And while discussing previous projects, he also gave attendees a look at what he will support in the upcoming session. 

— Massullo said he supports raising the age of cigarette and vaping from 18 to 21. 

— Education will continue to be a top priority, he said. Realizing not all young people are cut out for college, he supports spending more money on career and technical education.

Massullo has been working on a workforce education bill (House Bill 7071) to convince young people to stay in Citrus County after graduation.

College, he said, isn’t for everyone and the subsequent tuition bills can be a hardship. HB 7071 allows students to pursue advanced career pathways instead of going to college.

— Health and mental health care reform remains high on his list. Legislators this year funded Lifestream Central Receiving System to the tune of $600,000. Lifestream is a nonprofit organization providing behavioral health services in central Florida.

Massullo said the legislative session this year helped secure funding for several local projects, including:

— $2.5 million for phase 2 of the King’s Bay Restoration Project to rid the water of Lyngbya and other unwanted vegetation 

— $13.3 million to help with the County Road 491 widening project

— $900,000 for the school district’s Project Shine, which focuses on more mental health services in elementary schools to curb behavioral issues.

— $450,000 for the Crystal River Hunter Springs Linear Park, which would include a splash pad.

 

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com.