Anything happened while I was in quarantine?
That’s the weird thing about this particular virus go-around. Not nearly as bad as the first time, thank God, but still need to isolate.
It kept me home with bedrest and all that, but I like being out and about, seeing the world as we know it.
Absent that, though, there’s the Chronicle.
I’m a loyal Chronicle subscriber but I can’t say I’m a loyal Chronicle reader. There’s a difference. I receive the paper daily. I don’t necessarily read it daily.
Some days I glance at the headlines, some days I toss it from the tube into the back seat of my car and never think of it again until a week later when it’s time for the recycling to go out.
Today, though, it’s my saving grace. Since I’ve been locked away or otherwise distracted, we’re just going to rip on some recent Chronicle headlines.
These are in no particular order:
—Tuesday, Sept. 5: “Where did all the trees go?” Suncoast Parkway is moving along. I must say, we’re getting a much closer look at the parkway construction than the first time around. With all the work being done on S.R. 44, C.R. 486 and along Maylen Avenue, it’s pretty much front-row seats for anyone driving by.
And I’m also a little indifferent to the whole thing. The parkway was the Next Big Thing 10 years ago but now we’re just trying to figure out how it fits.
— Sunday, Sept. 3: “Idalia’s final toll on Citrus.” A wrap-up of the storm but I wouldn’t call it a final toll. With FEMA now in town, we’re going to be hearing more about flood damage and the overall effect on building codes. I also haven’t seen a damage estimate, but it’s possible I missed it.
And the conversation we really need to have is whether it’s OK to encourage development west of U.S. 19. It’s logical to ask why the county allows development of RV parks and similar amenities in an area you know floods and needs to evacuate. The answer is not necessarily stopping that development, but ensuring codes are in place to protect property and people.
— Wednesday, Sept. 6: “County cuts funding to American Library Association.” Moving on…
—Friday, Sept. 8: “County passes proposed higher millage rate.” The best thing about this meeting was what didn’t happen. The county, sensing an unnecessary battle on their hands, simply removed the library issue from the budget and that was that.
So they talked about the budget and taxes and such. One commissioner couldn’t support higher taxes, two others did but promised the final vote will be for a smaller amount.
“We’re going to take an icepick and a scalpel to the budget,” County Administrator Steve Howard said.
Well, OK. Here’s the thing: We’re down to a few weeks before the final vote. The budget year starts Oct. 1 Supposedly the county commission and staff have been analyzing this thing for months. What exactly are we hacking off at the last minute?
— Sunday, Sept. 10: “Betz Farm sale back on the front burner.” Saw that on Tuesday’s County Commission agenda.
The county has a decent offer — $7 million, but only if the buyer has a minimum 800 lots to develop. Even though the property has a longstanding development order for up to 1,500 homes, most county people I’ve spoken to peg the actual number of developable lots at half that due to environmental reasons.
There’s a second offer as well for $5 million. The property is appraised at $5.5 million and proceeds are to help build the new animal shelter. Will be interesting to see where this goes Tuesday.
— Thursday, Sept. 7: “FWC cites Inverness Village 4 builder.” Can’t move gopher tortoises without a permit, simple as that. Builders who have no regard for gopher tortoises are the kinds we really want to put on notice. Cuz if you’re OK pushing a protected species out of the way, what’s a few county codes to deal with?
Commissioner Holly Davis has gone where no commissioner has gone with Inverness Villages 4. She continues to keep the attention of other agencies on the development, continues being a fly in the ointment for the people out there trying to make money on the backs of unsuspecting homeowners.
And that’s all the news fit to print.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.