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Grant will benefit emergency service

The $100,786 will buy computer equipment to help the Sheriff's Office dispatch fire trucks, ambulances and deputies.

By BRIDGET HALL GRUMET

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 8, 2000


INVERNESS -- The county has received a $100,786 grant to buy computer equipment that will help the Citrus County Sheriff's Office dispatch fire trucks, ambulances and deputies to emergency scenes.

At its meeting Tuesday, the County Commission accepted the grant from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Byrne Program, and agreed to provide a $34,014 match from the sheriff's budget. The money will go toward a three-year program to upgrade the global positioning sensors used to dispatch crews in emergencies.

"As soon as I saw the matching funds came from the sheriff's budget, I had no problem with it," Commissioner Gary Bartell said with a chuckle.

In other commission news:

LOST AND FOUND: The county has called off its search for 10 portable radios, a stretcher and a CPR machine that have been missing for at least a year from the county's inventory of ambulance equipment.

Several "exhaustive" searches failed to turn up the equipment, Public Safety director Charles Poliseno said. The items, which were bought in the 1980s and early 1990s, have little value now because they have seen years of wear and tear, and newer models have come out, he said.

Florida Regional Emergency Medical Services, which ran the ambulance service until last month, agreed to give the county a replacement stretcher and CPR machine. Florida Regional also agreed to pay the county $1,400, the estimated value of the 10 lost radios.

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY EXPANDED: Citrus County public libraries soon will gain access to a collection of online books through the Southeastern Library Network. The network has about 11,000 books available on the Internet, and expects to have 20,000 titles by next March.

The State Library of Florida has made the network available to all public libraries in the state through funding from the legislature. The County Commission agreed Tuesday to sign the contract to participate in the program.

REVIEWING UTILITY RATES: Commissioners agreed to negotiate a contract with the Public Resources Management Group, a private firm, to review the county's utility rates and recommend changes.

The rates have not been reviewed since 1989, and officials said this study is long overdue.

RETURN TO SENDER: When the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, Clerk of Courts Betty Strifler had $331,168 in unspent funds, which she returned to the county coffers Tuesday. Strifler said that surplus is one of the highest her office has ever produced.

"This past year, Citrus County has experienced a lot of new housing and real estate and financial transactions," Strifler said in an interview after the commission meeting. "So all of our fees are up."

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