My weekly email search randomly landed last week on Commissioner Scott Carnahan. After the brouhaha over the county administrator’s job, I figured things would calm down some and they did.
I found three emails, however, that probably don’t rise individually to blog material but taken together, well...
— Email 1, from County Administrator Randy Oliver to commissioners:
“FDOT has decided they will not be removing the plants in the US98 median at Sugar Mill Woods. … The cost of the removal is somewhat insignificant. Consequently, we plan to proceed so this chapter can be closed.”
Brief recap: Oak Village is in Sugarmill Woods, in the southern end. The then-president of the homeowners association thought it a good idea to partner with the county and state to place landscaping in the U.S. 98 median as an attractive entranceway to the community for motorists coming off the Suncoast Parkway.
The Florida Department of Transportation planted $350,000 worth of landscaping in 2019. Whether the landscaping ever looked nice or not depends on who’s doing the describing.
When the details came out that it would cost the association $37,000 a year for maintenance, residents weren’t happy. A prolonged bickering match ensued between the association and county, and it all ended by the state saying it would remove the landscaping and pretend like none of this ever happened.
The county, however, was none too pleased. In February, it threatened to take the Oak Village HOA to court to cover $36,000 to re-sod the median.
I sent an email Tuesday night to Oliver asking if that’s still the plan. It is.
“We are still going to bill them the actual cost including removal. The County Attorney's Office will pursue collection if they do not pay,” he wrote.
While no one wants to see the county and a homeowners group tangle over a beautification effort, commissioners did note it would cost the property owners about $12 each to cover the cost. We’re battling over biscuits and not gravy.
— Email 2, from Gary Hill to Carnahan:
“I recently moved to Citrus County and am appalled by the amount of trash by our local roadways. Does the commission have a plan going forward? I have many visitors from other states and counties within Florida and I am extremely embarrassed to tout citrus as a destination.
“I do my part by picking up trash on my street and also participate in adopt a highway. I will send you a picture of U.S. 41 in Floral city as an example.”
I don’t normally attach names with emails to commissioners, but I did here because attaboy to Gary for not just complaining about trash, but actually doing something about it.
Carnahan, in his response said: “I first want to thank you for helping pickup trash. It’s extremely frustrating that people just litter. I will see what I can do to get it cleaned up.”
Good luck with that, Commissioner. The county has significantly scaled back its litter cleanup efforts, and the death of mandatory garbage collection means a government solution to trashy roads won’t be coming soon.
But guess what citizens? YOU DON’T NEED THE GOVERNMENT TO PICK UP TRASH.
Gary mentioned the Adopt-A-Highway program, where citizens and organizations take responsibility for keeping stretches of roadway clean. This program has been around 30-plus years (yes, I was here when it started during the horse-and-buggy days) and, while it’s waned with participation over time, there’s no reason why the county can’t give it a boost.
— Email 3, also to Carnahan:
“Hello, I’m curious about who owns all those trailers parked on Hwy 44 and Kensington and why and how long they will be there? It’s quite an eyesore and doesn’t seem like it should be permitted. Day after day hordes of traffic pass and honestly it’s embarrassing to me.”
I’m curious about those too. We’ve all seen the semi trailers parked parallel to S.R. 44 in the wooded area of Citrus Hills and, while not all too sightly, I wouldn’t know how their presence could be “embarrassing” to anyone.
That said, Carnahan’s reply:
“Those trailers are being loaded with pine straw. I’m not sure how long they will be there but they don’t need any permits.”
Well, there you go! Pine straw loaded into semi trailers. That makes perfectly good sense.
No point to any of this. Just another day of government watching.
Enjoy your Wednesday, friends.
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