City of Brooksville accidentally sells its water tower, new owner immediately gives it back

Hernando County

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) – It was never Bobby Read’s intention to buy the Brooksville water tower. But for a brief period, due to a paperwork error, he was the owner.

He says, after he purchased, what he thought was an old storage building next to the water tower, he learned he owned the tower as well.

Bobby Read bought a utility building next to the city’s water tower, and ended up owning the tower as well.

“The property appraiser, when I went to get my address. (a representative said) We can’t split the lot because you own the whole thing,” said Read. “Including the water tower.”

City Manager Mark Kutney blamed the use of a bad legal description for what happened.

“We’re human,” Kutney said. “Sometimes we make a mistake.”

John Lee is a Brooksville business owner who says an apology isn’t enough.

But some Brooksville residents say a mere apology is not enough. John Lee owns Coney Island Hot Dogs.

“They don’t get paid a little bit of money, they have a generous salary to do that job to make sure we don’t make that mistake,” said Lee. “And then they just shrug their shoulders and say we made a mistake. That’s a pretty darn big mistake when you sell a public utility.”

John Loetscher owns the Country Depot in downtown Brooksville, right around the corner from the water tower.

“It was just shocking that they would sell the water tower, the city water tower to somebody,” said Loetscher. “They claim as a mistake but it didn’t get found out until he actually filed it. “

Other residents are a bit more forgiving. Patria Dye has lived in Brooksville for the last several years.

Patria Dye is more understanding and feels the city should be more careful with its transactions.

“We have a really good city. Really good mayor, really good city council people,” said Dye. “Except for, I think when we are doing things like this it’s important to really pay attention. “

Read just hopes his new boutique fitness studio gets as much attention as the water tower he used to own.

“The long term plan is in the next few months get a personal training studio going called downtown athletics,” said Read. “It will be a boutique studio, not an open gym and that’s the goal is to bring something to downtown that’s not here right now. “

While the issue has been resolved, and the city has regained ownership of the water tower, some say they plan to voice their displeasure at the city’s next council meeting on June 21 at 7 pm.

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