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GroundHog Makes The 2014 Forecast

        [2014-01-02]    Hopefully this is the start of a tradition similar to what cousin Punxsutawney Phil does in Gobbler Knob, Pennsylvania, that being, making a forecast. This is the blogging GroundHog's forecast concerning what the new year will bring, here in Citrus County. Some of these are an outright certainty, others not so much, and a few are meant to lift spirits and bring a chuckle. So here you have GroundHog's Citrus County forecast for the upcoming year.

What's It Worth?  Duke vs. Greene - Should Be On Pay Per View
The Duke Energy tax dispute will go to trial with Duke prevailing. The uproar from the community will force current Property Appraiser Geoff Greene to step down from his position. In the alternative, the Property Appraiser will prevail and Duke will appeal, in which case GroundHog and others will ask, what's the definition of winning? We all know the outcome of the first scenario is completely off base for two reasons. First, no one in Citrus County ever steps down from anything, no matter how justified, think past County legal advice. Second, this community only gets upset when a relative makes the crime report of the Chronicle. If it has to do with quality of life issues or irresponsible government no one gives a . . .

Changing Of The Guard
Both seats on the County Commission will change, but not for the reasons many think. Current Commissioner Rebecca Bays will not seek reelection to her County Commission seat in District 4. Instead, Bays will seek the State House of Representative seat currently held by Jimmie T. Smith. Smith for his part, will unilaterally make the race closer than many would expect, this will result from Smith replacing his previous campaign strategist. Way To Go Jimmie!! Nothing like snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Let Them Speak
A truncated version of the public participation will come back to the BOCC. Citizens must remember, this is an election year, all politicians need and count votes. As such, Commission Chairman “JJ” Kenney, while often exhibiting signs of being born yesterday, albeit it was not last night, will see the proverbial handwriting on the wall. Kenney will therefore recognize the benefits of instituting the public participation and once again allow citizens to speak to motions which are before his Board for consideration.

Whack-O-Mole Budgeting
The County Administration will continue to pursue revenue strategies which are tied to increasing taxes and/or selling County assets. In contravention to a zero-based, means tested approach, the Administration will focus on further erroding our remaining reserves and once again another year will pass when the County will use those pesky Audit Committee letters from Tally as origami material. Here's a link to OrigamiUSA which our administration is likely a member of, based upon the way they treat those audit letters. Just in case citizens would like to learn the art form.

Busack And Our Special Interest Med Corridor
The medical corridor will continue to extract County staffers time and resources. While simultaneously providing not one signed contract with an affected landowner, sans Geoff Greene. Eminent domain attorney Fred Busack, who was brought in to orchestrate this induced hallucination of a project, will announce he has purchased a chalet in Switzerland. When asked for a comment on his billing hours Busack retorts, “ County taxpayers have funded me for nearly the entire past decade, if the Sheriff would use the helicopter to pick me up and drop me off, the County could save on tolls.” In a related matter the Sheriff announces it will in fact be beneficial for his office to operate the chopper as an emergency trauma unit. Busack tags along for the ride because he's certified in situations which require life support - think Port Citrus and the med corridor.

This is just a sampling of the forecast for 2014. Tomorrow GroundHog will conclude with the remaining portions of the forecast. Hope you enjoy and please let us know what your thoughts and possibly prayers are for Citrus County in the coming new year.


Submitted by Roger B. Krieger on

I read Gerry Mulligan's article after seeing some of the comments today. I have had many disagreements with him and do not necessarily agree with the way he runs the Chronicle but today's article has merit. It is no secret that I do not agree with the Sheriff but my feelings are not based on a like or dislike basis but rather on facts. Over the past 22 years I have heard enough rumors regarding just about every elected official as well as prominent citizens to fill an encyclopedia. Although character can be a factor in an election, rumored character flaws not based on actual knowledge are just wrong. This past election was a good example on how lies and unfounded personal attacks could keep good people out of office while allowing less than competent individuals to be elected. Our elections are no longer about the ability of someone doing the job but rather who can spread the most lies and destroy peoples reputations best. Mr. Mulligans comments about good people not running for office is one reason I would never even consider running. I have no problem defending myself based on facts but trying to defend yourself against rumors and lies from unnamed sources is impossible. My wife and I will not support any candidate that sends out rumor filled flyers, we will only vote for candidates that stick to facts and that is getting hard to do. We the voters need to aggressively go after anyone that sends out garbage. Interesting some stuff that came out last year I was not able to get a contact email address or telephone number because I will call or email any organization that tries this type of nonsense. I also have no problem calling the candidate and letting them known my feelings. We the voters can change trash politics if we hold the candidates feet to the fire and let them know that we want facts not personal attacks!

Submitted by Claude Strass on

Open letter to the Chronicle management. I just got done reading your managements commentary in the Sunday newspaper telling the people to tone down there criticism of the government officials of the county. Let me remind the newspaper that most of the commentary is centered around the broken promises of our elected officials. When these employees of the people ran for election they made many promises and have broken almost all of them for the exception of Scott Adams. Since then these same politicians that lied to us have reduced the peoples ability to voice their opinions at the County Commission Meetings. We now know that the paper is also not printing the peoples concerns and asking the people to stop sending in their comments if they do not agree with the fab four and the county administrator. Their is a new media for those who want to get the word out call goundhog on the Internet and growing fast to get the real peoples concerns in front of the public for positive change...

Submitted by Claude Strass on

The Chronicle has turned out to a propaganda newspaper full of photo ops with very little factual news. The Tampa Bay Times now carries more Citrus County News. Sad we cannot support our own local paper anymore

Submitted by wbp on

funny stuff !!! to bad some of it's true.

Submitted by Claude Strass on

seems to be spot on

Submitted by Anonymous on

Let’s all hope for a more fiscally responsible government in 2014; not just our federal government but our Citrus County government. The then chairman Meek prided our government not wasting money on questionable research programs like our federal government. All of our BOCC members, the sheriff, and county administrator need to realize fiscal waste has many faces.

Our very late to be published budget just confirms fiscal mismanagement and speculative revenue. Our county administrator successfully lobbied for a 30+% increase in our general fund budget. Actually, I doubt he lobbied at all. What Brad Thorpe wants, Brad Thorpe gets (thanks to our BOCC). How about Mr. Thorpe’s creative, but totally inaccurate, math where he convinced the financially challenged BOCC that his newly created assistant administrator position would save money. Not a single BOCC member thought to ask what the loaded cost of this position and office renovations would cost the taxpayers. I’m guessing this position even gets a county car.

How about the sheriff? Who can forget the nearly 50% increase in Fire Department expenditures. Then the sheriff tells the City of Inverness the Fire MSBU wasn’t solely for the fire department…really. BTW, did a Fire MSBU board ever form and define a spend plan???

Has anyone figured out why we battled Duke Energy for the value of their scrubbers? It never made sense as Duke was simply applying the value allowed by FL statute. If we didn’t agree with the state that should have been taken up with the state, not Duke. Now, we are saying Duke (actually Progress Energy) performed significant improvements on their assets over the last 10 years that has increased the value of those assets. Yes, we are to believe none of these improvements were done with permits and that we haven’t looked at their assets in 10 years.

As 2013 comes to a close and Commission Kenney takes the chairman’s seat we should feel good that his first priority (maybe not #1 priority) is to build a new animal shelter. Here’s a guy that is suggesting all else is well within the county so let’s focus on the little things. Clearly, the new chairman needs to reevaluate his priorities. Could it be it’s his swan song as he knows his months are numbered on the board?

How about commission Adams; always disruptive and seldom effective. But we do need to give him credit for winning the City of Inverness’s refuse contract, beating out our own highly subsidized landfill. Instead of focusing on out sourcing the jail, how about contracting out the management of our landfill? Scott, are you interested?

My hope for 2014 is that our citizens get involved, that our BOCC makes county business and plans more accessible (I’ve told commission Meek how to do this for almost nothing), and that our citizens get out and participate in our democratic process. I’d hope for better fiscal responsibility by our leaders, but can’t believe they can overcome their self-serving interest.

Submitted by Anonymous on

If it has to do with quality of life issues or irresponsible government no one gives a . . .

correct. otherwise people would do more than just complain