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Money still in budget for water projects

The Legislature's final budget contains $1-million for a Chassahowitzka project and $750,000 for a Homosassa effort.

By JIM ROSS

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 3, 2000


Funds for wastewater treatment projects in Homosassa and Chassahowitzka have survived another round of the budget battle in Tallahassee.

Leaders of the state House of Representatives and Senate reached agreement on the nearly $51-billion state budget just before midnight Monday.

The final document included $1-million for the Chassahowitzka project and $750,000 for the Homosassa effort, according to state Sen. Richard Mitchell's office.

Those line items match what budget negotiators from both legislative bodies had recommended last month.

Now the matter goes to the full House and Senate for a vote.

The budget landed on lawmakers' desks early Tuesday morning, starting a 72-hour "cooling-off" that the state Constitution requires. Legislators will be able to vote on the budget Friday, which is the session's final scheduled day.

Gov. Jeb Bush will have final review of the budget.

University of South Florida researchers with financing from Citrus County and the Southwest Florida Water Management District are trying to determine the source of water pollution in Chassahowitzka waterways. Old septic systems are the suspected cause.

That study must be concluded before officials can decide how they would spend any state money on the problems.

In Homosassa, the money would pay for the second phase of extending sewer lines from Old Homosassa to U.S. 19. The first phase was financed by the county, state grants and previous funds from the Legislature.

The improvements are designed to expand access to businesses and residents who now use old septic systems.

Among many other things, the budget reserves $500-million for tax cuts and would finance creation of a medical school at Florida State University.


-- Information from Times files and wires was used in this report.

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