Pasco County officials are encouraging residents to fill out the 2010 Census questionnaires arriving in mailboxes this week — and offering help to those who need it. Census data determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as the allocation of federal funds for community services, such as school lunch programs and senior citizen centers, along with new construction, such as highways and hospitals. Questionnaire Assistance Centers will be established to assist residents in completing the forms. These centers will have the census forms available as well as additional information about the 2010 Census. Residents can find the center at many of the libraries, county government offices and elderly nutrition dining sites. To find a location near you, call the Pasco County Zoning & Site Development Department at (727) 847-8132. For information on the Census, go to 2010.census.gov or call toll-free 1-866-861-2010.
Employment Village deal near
Pasco County and the state Department of Community Affairs have reached a tentative settlement agreement on Central Pasco Employment Village, a 2,400-acre proposal for 4,500 housing units and 4.65-million square feet of nonresidential uses off State Road 52 and Ehren Cutoff. The project requires amendments to the county's comprehensive land-use plan, changes approved last year by Pasco commissioners. But state officials objected to the plan. One reason? The proposal didn't show why the residential portion of the project was necessary. On paper, Pasco County has enough housing planned to accommodate decades' worth of population growth. The case went to the Department of Administrative Hearings. The proposed settlement agreement contains a new requirement that says a certain amount of nonresidential uses must be built before home construction can start. The move is expected to ensure new houses don't outpace the business side of the project. County commissioners will take up the agreement Tuesday at their meeting in Dade City.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Food drive to set up tent at Chasco
The Volunteer Way will have a tent at Chasco Fiesta to collect nonperishable food items for the nonprofit pantry that feeds more than 20,000 families per month. The tent will be behind the Hacienda Hotel for the duration of the festival, which runs from Thursday to March 28 in downtown New Port Richey. Some of the valuable items that are needed are canned tuna, canned meat, cereal, canned vegetables, canned soup, canned fruit, pasta, rice, or cash donations. The tent will also have information about Florida KidCare, an affordable medical insurance for children up to age 19.