It’s Thursday and that means county commission email! This week’s batch, which I’ll continue to remind you is actually last week’s email, comes randomly from board Chairman Ron Kitchen Jr. I picked out two:
— The Suncoast Parkway opened in late February and the complaints are starting to come in about noise.
Sugarmill Woods residents living closest to the parkway have reached out to state and county officials, asking for a decibel-level study and protections for their neighborhoods.
Here’s how one person put it:
“...On my lanai and in my yard, the noise from the road is abusive. It sounds like the wind is blowing 30 miles an hour all the time. I went to the community meetings before the road construction began to voice my concerns but no one seemed to care. Now that the road is complete, I would like to invite those very same people to my house and experience what they said would not be an issue.”
Boy, you just hate to see that. And it’s not like this is a surprise to Sugarmill Woods. Many, particularly in the Southern Woods community, saw long before construction even started that their peace and quiet was threatened.
I realize things happen, and projects of this magnitude are going to have glitches scattered about once completed. We want the government to get it perfect and it usually doesn’t work that way. And some changes, you just need to get used to.
That said…this drives me crazy. Citizens warn the government of a potential negative impact, the thing they want done isn’t done, and — shocking! — the negative impact occurs.
Whether the state actually studied these potential headaches and deemed them unlikely isn’t the point. Citizens FEEL the government ignored them. You can almost hear it in these emails. Many carry an “I TOLD you this would happen,” tone to them.
Now we need to see how the state/county reacts to these and other neighborhood issues that may arise from the parkway.
The county shouldn’t just sweep this off and say it’s a state problem. While technically that’s true, these communities need advocates to at least make sure they’re heard. State highway people listen to county commissioners.
We’ll keep an eye on this. If you’re living near the parkway, please share your experience with the noise so far, OK?
— When the county first started pressing Nature Coast EMS about business practices, one of the points raised regarding response times was the hours wasted while ambulances waited at hospitals to accept their patients.
When the county took over Nature Coast, that was one area the higher ups wanted to stop. So the county commission created a mechanism that allows it to charge hospitals for holding up county ambulances in their ER.
Here’s County Administrator Randy Oliver’s email to commissioners about that:
“We started charging hospitals for ambulances being required to wait more than 30 minutes after they arrive at the Hospital Emergency Room. This was approved by the Board on November 30, 2021. Obviously when ambulances are required to wait, we cannot run other calls.
“The charging started on February 1st and approximately $45,000 is due between the three hospitals. This is being invoiced by the County’s EMS billing companies to the hospitals. Times are being maintained by communications…with the arrival time at the hospital and the time the ambulance clears the hospital. Copies of the invoices are attached. We wanted you to be aware in case someone approached you about the matter.”
Now, I didn’t look at the invoices and they’re not attached here. I’m not even sure I have a point.
I just think it’s interesting. And a little odd. Another one to keep an eye on.
That’s it for today. A programming note: No Just Wright Citrus blog on Good Friday. Have a blessed and safe Easter, my Citrus County friends.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.