Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Changes coming to Pasco's tourism website

DADE CITY — Pasco commissioners Tuesday approved plans to reimburse tourism staffers for job-related expenses and to upgrade the county's tourism website.

The aim of the change is to make the site easier to navigate for smartphone users, a growing segment of site visitors. Hits from handheld devices have jumped 330 percent over the past year.

"The idea is to make it more user-friendly on a smartphone, a tablet or an iPad, and right now it's not very navigable," said Ed Caum, interim public communications manager.

The site's name,, will stay the same and its content won't change much, with an emphasis on sports, eco-tourism and other tourism mainstays such as the Bug Jam.

Commissioners voted 4-0 to pay $25,000 to hire web designer Digital Lightbridge, which has offices in Tampa and New Port Richey. Commissioner Jack Mariano was absent.

The change comes as tourism officials are pushing for more event- and sports-related bookings. Nineteen events, from lacrosse to mud runs, are set next year, up from a handful of such events five years ago.

The Florida Sports Foundation, which helps counties market sports, visited Pasco a few years ago and suggested officials reach out to sports groups as a way to enhance their tourism taxes and help retailers and hotels.

The effort worked and now officials are seeking a sports-marketing specialist to coordinate activities and lure more tournaments.

They also requested a reimbursement policy to cover an escalating amount of job-related expenses, and got it.

While most expenses are comped, Caum said he recently paid $50 for meals while escorting travel writers along the coast. In March, county administrator Michele Baker paid $50 for fuel to take some German officials on a boat tour.

Chipping in for snacks, water and the occasional meal come with the job, but with the increased marketing officials' out-of-pocket costs are adding up, Caum said.

"We're in the hospitality business so people tend to expect this," he said.

Until Tuesday, the county didn't have a policy to reimburse those expenses.

Over the past few months, staffers perused policies from Alachua, Broward, Citrus, Collier, Gadsden, Leon and Hernando to create their own expense policy.

County commissioners approved the new policy 4-0, which reimburses travel-related expenses approved by the county administrator and county commissioners. Expense reports must include receipts. Commission Chairman Ted Schrader said the board would consider only fair and reasonable expenses. Travel budgets would be approved ahead of time.

In other business, commissioners gave 3 percent raises to Baker and County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder after approving similar raises to most other county employees last month.

Steinsnyder will see his salary go to $169,950. Baker, hired under a two-year contract in July, will see her pay increase to $175,100 a year.

Baker also receives a $450 monthly car allowance and is eligible for a $10,000 raise at the end of a year if she receives a favorable evaluation.

Her predecessor, John Gallagher, received the same car allowance and earned $180,000 a year.

Rich Shopes can be reached at or (727) 869-6236.

Changes coming to Pasco's tourism website 10/08/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 7:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Yale dean on leave over offensive Yelp reviews leaves post

    Bizarre News

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University dean who was placed on leave over offensive reviews she posted on Yelp has left her position at the Ivy League institution, school officials said Tuesday.

  2. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  3. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane


    AUTAUGAVILLE, Ala. —The screen door hangs open to Laura's Country Kitchen but the dining room is empty with no one to feed.

    OJ Howard (far right) is seen in a photo from his adolescent years at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Howard served as an usher in addition to attending regular services at this church.
  4. St. Pete Pride schedule and live blog

    Special Topics

    St. Pete Pride Block Party and Night Parade: St. Pete Pride's popular parade moves to downtown St. Petersburg's scenic waterfront. The block party brings DJs, food and drinks starting at 2 p.m. The parade steps off at Fifth Ave NE and Bayshore at 7 p.m. with fireworks at 9:45 p.m. 2 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth Avenue …

    A local business rings in Pride 2017 with some window decorations.