What’s that you say? You’d like a rundown of Tuesday’s county commission agenda highlights and not make it boring?
That’s what I’m here for.
–Scrolling down the agenda, I see tucked in the middle of a list of bid approvals is the one for the design/build of the Fort Island Trail trail.
It’s a request for proposals with an interesting direction to the winning bidder: You have a $1 million budget. Build us as much of a bike trail you can with that money from Fort Island Gulf Beach heading east.
A bike trail on Fort Island Trail is a very good idea and another boost to tourism. But starting it at the beach and working backwards seems, I don’t know, a little backwards. Not sure I understand the logic of starting a bike trail 10 miles from the highway where other bike trails are now located.
I’d sure like to hear from bicyclists about that idea.
– Three SCOP projects. These are county road repaving projects, not to be confused with neighborhood road repaving projects that we explained in detail Wednesday. SCOP is a state transportation program aimed at helping small counties.
As grants go, it’s a great program. In counties of population under 150,000, the state will pay for 75% of repaving projects on regular county roads (as opposed to the one you live on).
These three are: Sections of Yulee Drive in Homosassa, Withlacoochee Trail in Dunnellon and Turner Camp Road in Inverness.
– “Juiced for Citrus” event funding. The agenda memo states that “Juiced for Citrus” is an event to “host site selectors to tour key development sites, participate in tourism and community networking opportunities and learn more about strategic sites and projects in Citrus County.”
The event will be in February and cost about $7,400. Something tells me commissioners may have questions about this one.
– Commissioner Ruthie Davis Schlabach wants to have a specific time set for the second open-to-the public section. Right now public comment is set for 1:30 p.m. and again whenever the meeting comes to an end. Could be 4 p.m., could be 4:03 p.m.
Schlabach is recommending a second public comment at 6 p.m. so that working folks can come give commissioners their opinions on various things.
While that seems sound, it has a history of reality not matching the concept. The idea of having public comments reserved for a time when people are off work makes perfect sense. But every single time this has been tried it fails for the very basic reason that most folks don’t attend a county commission meeting unless they have to.
Over the years the county commission and school board both have experimented with mixing meeting times and public comment portions to attract working men and women to meetings. It may have some public support but it fizzles quickly.
And boards that set specific time for public comment every so often found themselves with the day’s business completed, but they had to hang around in an empty room until the time certain public comment in case someone showed up.
Plus, new board Chairman Ron Kitchen Jr. hates time-certain items on the agenda because he believes they interfere with the flow of the meeting. Commissioners will be in the middle of some topic when they have to stop, put it aside, and handle an issue with a specific agenda time.
– 5 p.m. zoning hearing on the RV resort that attorney John Eden is building just east of Inverness. This was the case of the ridiculous annexation lawsuit between the county and city of Inverness. The county “won”, which is why it is doing the zoning instead of the city.
Nothing on your personal agenda Tuesday? Come out and watch your county government in action.