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Vote on fire board halted

Instead, there will be a court hearing on the judge's order.

By ASJYLYN LODER
Published April 17, 2007


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BROOKSVILLE - A judge on Monday stopped the Hernando County Commission from voting today on whether to dissolve the Spring Hill Fire Rescue Commission.

Circuit Judge John Booth issued a tersely worded temporary injunction Monday afternoon.

"We feel pretty good about that," said Ron Freeman, the attorney for the fire district.

County Commissioner Dave Russell, who has been spearheading the charge to dissolve the fire board, said, "I'm not going to second-guess a judge."

Russell said he was confident that the County Commission would prevail in court, and reschedule its vote if necessary.

Russell and county attorneys believe the county has the authority to disband the fire board with a majority vote of the five-member County Commission. But the fire district thinks that a referendum is needed. The County Commission was slated to vote this morning.

Instead of a vote, there will be a 9 a.m. court hearing on the injunction at the county government center in downtown Brooksville.

The County Commission and the fire board have tussled several times during the fire district's 33-year history. Two weeks ago, Russell said the relationship had become too "adversarial" and unproductive. He proposed disbanding the fire board, and bringing the district back under the County Commission.

The fire district fought back, taking the matter to court on Friday to keep the County Commission from voting.

It's unlikely that today's hearing will be the last. The judge could decide in the county's favor, lifting the injunction and paving the way for the County Commission vote, Freeman explained. Or the injunction could remain in place pending mediation or further court hearings.

Asjylyn Loder can be reached at aloder@sptimes.com or 352754-6127.

[Last modified April 16, 2007, 22:21:19]


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