Monday, April 23, 2018
News Roundup

Pasco asks, How do we how to pay for parks and libraries?

Pasco County is about to measure the public’s appetite for changing how it pays for parks and libraries.

The county has scheduled three public workshops for next week and is inviting people to take an online survey to determine if the commission should consider increasing property taxes to improve and expand its "quality of life’’ services.

The 45-question survey can be found at https://goo.gl/J96J3K

The responses are intended to help guide future spending decisions, including whether to establish separate taxes for parks and libraries.

The park system faces a $14 million backlog of deferred maintenance projects and the county’s 2015 master plan for parks called for nearly $150 million worth of new park expansions over the next decade.

The county’s master plan for its library system called for increasing library space by 41 percent by 2019, renovating the existing branches that date to the early 1990s, and restoring previously cut operating hours. Combined, the initiatives could cost $11 million annually.

The public opinion research is part of an $85,000 contract with Consensus Communications Inc. of Orlando which is tasked with conducting polling, town hall meetings, social media outreach and other efforts to determine a consensus for potential 2018 voter referendums on new taxes for parks and libraries.

Among the questions in the survey is whether the respondents would be willing to pay an additional $6, $8 or $10 monthly in property taxes to pay for the improvements.

The survey already has caught the public’s attention for including a question asking for political party affiliation.

"Makes me very uncomfortable, almost a big brother feeling,’’ said John Ford of Trinity, the state committeeman for the Pasco Democratic Party. "In my opinion our county has crossed the line.’’

Frank Orlando, director of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute said party affiliation is a fair question and useful tool for pollsters as long as respondents’ identities are protected. The political inquiry came among a series of questions about age, gender, income and other variables that the poll said was intended to ensure an appropriate cross-section of respondents.

What the poll does not ask was where the respondent lives.

"It would seem knowing where people live would be even more important than party affiliation for this specific survey,’’ said Orlando.

Responses on the county’s most recent national citizens survey varied greatly depending on whether the respondent lived in west Pasco or in central or east Pasco. Similar variations could be expected in the parks and library survey considering services are not spread uniformly across the county. For instance, there are no county swimming pools or gymnasiums/recreation centers east of Land O’Lakes and only two county library branches, in Land O’Lakes and Regency Park, are open on Mondays.

Marc Bellas, Pasco’s performance management director, acknowledged the place of residence question should have been asked, but noted the county’s annual national citizen survey results have shown "the greater understanding of the value of parks and libraries in the community, which is a good thing.’’

But when asked how to pay for those services, a plurality of respondents typically advocates for something other than higher taxes.

"User fees,’’ said Bellas.

Comments
Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Single-game tickets for the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinal series go on sale to the general public at 1 p.m. Monday at nhl.com/lightning/tickets.The Lightning plays the winner of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series. Game 6 of that series is Monda...
Updated: 5 hours ago
How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

TAMPA — The buzz surrounding this year's NFL draft is a class of talented quarterbacks deep enough to challenge the record six taken in the first round in 1983, a group that included future Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.Th...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

TAMPA — As usual, Andrei Vasilevskiy didn't speak in front of the cameras after the game. He has been like that since he hit the NHL. He still isn't comfortable with his English on TV.But Vasilevskiy spoke loudly and clearly in the first-round ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

ST. PETERSBURG — Good pitching and hitting go hand in glove, but the Rays did not look like a team that could swing the bats very well until this completed homestand.In their series sweep over the Twins, Tampa Bay scored 8, 10 and 8 runs. ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rick Stroud’s takeaways from Rays-Twins

Rick Stroud’s takeaways from Rays-Twins

–Yonny Chirinos may be the Rays fourth starter, but it seems to be in name only. He was lifted after pitching 4 2/3 innings against the Twin on Sunday, the shortest start of his career and his second-shortest appearance.  "Going into the g...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays’ Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

Rays’ Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

ST. PETERSBURG — With every swing, there is a chance Carlos Gomez is going to do something extraordinary with the baseball bat.He may swing so violently that he spins himself into the ground as if he were an oil drill. Or, you could see him sna...
Updated: 7 hours ago

nationwideTravelers face delays as jet engines inspectedScores of Southwest Airlines travelers were facing delays or cancellations Sunday due to emergency inspections following the mid-air explosion of an engine on one of the airline’s 737s last week...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Waffle House hero says shooter would’ve had ‘to work to kill me’; another crude Theta Tau frat video surfaces at Syracuse; more in U.S. news

Waffle House hero says shooter would’ve had ‘to work to kill me’; another crude Theta Tau frat video surfaces at Syracuse; more in U.S. news

TennesseeShooter had ‘to work to kill me’The man who wrestled the gun away from the nearly naked Waffle House shooter in Nashville said Sunday if he were going to die, the gunman would "have to work to kill me." Police and Waffle House CEO Walter Ehm...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Sun., April 22, midday:2-2 7-3-9 4-4-6-8e_SRit3-8-8-6-0Sun., April 22, evening:6-2 8-6-0 8-3-9-8e_SR...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Islamic State suicide bomber kills 57 in Afghan capital

Islamic State suicide bomber kills 57 in Afghan capital

Associated PressKABUL, Afghanistan — An Islamic State suicide bomber carried out an attack at a voter registration center in the capital Kabul on Sunday, killing 57 people and wounding more than 100 others, said officials from the Afghan interior and...
Updated: 9 hours ago