Hernando Phoenix: Apples, Oranges and the Hernando BOCC

February 24, 2015


Special thanks to Dorothy for capturing the moment in her online news Hernando Phoenix. 

February 24, 2015

By Dorothy Famiano

This morning at the BOCC meeting the public was informed that they have decided to contract with the Withlacoochee Planning Council and obtain an ‘Impact Statement’ using a standardized REMI model which will allow for the input and output of up to 6000 variables as opposed to a true Economic Impact Study.There is a big difference between the two and the BOCC thinks the public is inept to understand the difference. Even if one isn’t quite sure about what variables, models and sustainable projections a red flag should go up when you see a five page study for $500 compared to a 50 page study that cost $35,000.

Several of Hernando County’s residents including Tina Henize and Joseph Lemieux stood up and pleaded with the council to go back to what was originally approved and move forward with a true Economic Impact Statement.

Tina Henize spoke up and asked the Council “How much is enough? How many facts, experts and residents do you need to stand in front of you to get to the point of finally seeing that enough has been said and enough information has been gathered for you to realize this is not in the best interests of the County? ”

Deevon Quirolo explained that, “The study should focus on the effects mining operations will have on the county, not on Cemex, An economic impact study should be more than 5 to 6 pages.” said Quirolo.”

Commissioner Nick Nicholson, Chairman of the Board quickly spoke up and said he did want to get into and debate issues of bias and did not want to go in that direction. Nicholson went on to explain that the ‘study’ that would be done by the new contractor would be several pages long and that there had been some discussion of additional variables being added to the model for input and the cost would be around $2500 with these additional variables added into the scope of the project. Although Nicholson could not remember the content of any of the discussions that took place expanding the scope of work or what a single additional variable would be he felt this statement would suffice in deciding what the potential outcome for the county will be if the Cemex plan is approved.

Commissioners Jeff Holcomb and Diane Rowden brought up the issues of property values and whether or not the REMI model would take these into account.

Former Planning Official Bob Widmar stood up and explained that the REMI model would not give a clear picture of the impact on property values.

Commissioner Wayne Dukes put in his two cents worth and explained to the public that back in his day no one wanted Spring Hill to come about either and there was a rock quarry back then too.
Dukes then proceeded to make a motion to pass the approval of this ‘new’ option and the resolution was passed unanimously.

That was it. The decision has been made. The five property owners and a foreign corporation are ecstatic. The rich will get richer and the future of the County is at stake.


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