HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. — With Gov. Ron DeSantis signing off on Florida's budget last week, two major Hernando County expansion projects, both at the Brooksville airport, can now move forward.
Several others, however, will have to find funding elsewhere, as they were victims of DeSantis's veto pen.
- Brooksville Airport will expand runway, water reclamation
- Brooksville Fire, Hernando School District funding requests vetoed
- More Hernando County stories
Among the projects moving forward: expansion of the airport's main runway. They're getting $1 million from the state budget to do the job.
"In the summertime, the aircraft really struggle with the dense air and the heat, particularly with the jet engines and turbine aircraft engines," said Airport Manager Kevin Daugherty. "So having an additional 1,000 feet allows them to take on those full fuel loads, also it gives them a buffer in emergencies in case something happens, a little extra space."
Airport officials say the expansion will also bring more jobs to the county.
"We can bring in bigger aircraft, bigger companies, just kind of gives us an edge to our other competing airports," Daugherty explained.
The county will also be getting $3 million to expand their water reclamation facility on the airport property. The expansion will allow the airport facility to process nearly twice as much water.
“That will allow us to decommission our Spring Hill water reclamation facility, which does not do a good job at removing nitrogen from the water,” said Hernando County Utilities Director Gordon Onderdonk.
That nitrogen contributes to algae growth at Weeki Wachee Springs.
"By removing this nitrogen we can help maintain the water clarity and water quality at Weeki Wachee Springs," Onderdonk explained.
Onderdonk said the water reclamation facility expansion will start in a year and should be completed by the end of 2022.
Daugherty says the runway expansion will happen in two to three years.
What will not get funded
But other agencies' requests did not make it past the governor's line-item veto.
The Brooksville Fire Department, for one, won't receive their request for $325,000 to replace an aging fire truck and purchase an air compressor system.
The Hernando County School District, meanwhile, will not receive funding on two $1 million requests: one to bolster school security perimeter projects and another to create a career and technical center.
“Certainly we’re disappointed," said Karen Jordan with the Hernando County School District. "We were looking forward to both of those — we thought both of those projects were really solid and fairly humble in their ask, so we were hopeful.”
Jordan says the school district will now be looking at other ways to get funding for their requests.
“Our community rallies around those resources and those projects, so we’ll figure out a way to get those to happen,” Jordan explained.