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. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84


    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General


    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.