The Dredge Project a lose lose situation for the taxpayers.

The County Heads into Uncharted Waters for over thirteen years of legal issues, miscalculations, poor planning, and poor oversight by the County Commissioners, currently Russell and Stabins, and County Administrators currently Hamilton including poor judgment the Hernando Beach channel dredge project is now moving into another phase. Hernando County Commissioners will entertain Administrator Hamilton’s proposal to become General contractor for the Hernando beach dredging project when discussed at the January 25, 2011 commission meeting. Hamilton has requested Director of Transportation Services Susan Goebel and others to come up with a plan by February 1, 2011 at the next commission meeting.

Surprisingly after all this time we have spent $4.92 million on the project of which the State has reimbursed us $3.19 million of the promised $6 million which will be returned to the State if the project is scrapped. The biggest surprise is that the project has only a 6% completion result while expensing more than 50% of available funds for the project. This has all been accomplished over the term of the project where most of the $4.92 million went to the consultants, contractors and attorneys: $2.2 million to the project consultant, The Halcrow Group, and $1.7 million to the contractor, Orion Dredging Services. The balance of expended funds of 1 million not identified.

During the public comment period a very astute constituent posed a question to the Commissioners “has anyone consulted with the Army Core of Engineers” the response never came. There are many questions surrounding this project. Has there or ever been a cost benefit analysis conducted to determine the necessity of this project? If so who benefits besides the consultants and engineering firms and obviously the Hernando Beach residents and their property values? Should tax payer dollars regardless of the source state or local be used for the benefit of the few? Maybe on February 1st, 2011 Mr. Hamilton and our Commissioners can answer these questions.

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