Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

Contractor sets maximum price for new Zephyrhills library

ZEPHYRHILLS — The general contractor overseeing construction of the new library says the most it will cost to complete the project is $2.49 million — about $7,500 less than the last estimate.

George Goodspeed of AD Morgan presented the City Council with a detailed plan for the project Monday; council members said they will wait to vote on it until their next meeting to give themselves time to study it.

Goodspeed acknowledged that the savings is not a huge amount, but said planners are still looking for ways to cut costs and noted there is a $65,000 contingency fund built into the plan that goes back to the city if it is not spent.

If the council approves the plan March 10, the new library should be complete and open to patrons by January, Goodspeed said.

The project has proved frustrating for council members and others involved, particularly when Goodspeed and Phil Trezza of Harvard Jolly Architects informed them two months ago that the project was already 30 percent over budget. The cost for a new 4,200-square-foot library was estimated at $1.5 million when the council voted in late 2012 to spend Penny for Pasco sales tax revenue to build it. As plans unfolded, the price inched up to $1.7 million; in December, it jumped to $2.55 million.

Trezza said then the cost could be trimmed to about $1.8 million if the council agreed to go with a painted stucco exterior instead of the desired brick and cast stone; library director Vicki Elkins urged them to stick with the original plan, noting that Penny for Pasco funds designated more than six years ago for the library project have routinely been diverted to other projects. City Manager Jim Drumm said there was enough money in the Penny reserves to cover the additional costs, and council members voted unanimously to stay with the brick exterior.

Much of the additional cost, Goodspeed said in December, results from ground work problems that were discovered during an engineering inspection, which came after the bid was awarded to his firm.

Initially, they thought some of the new library's underground infrastructure could tie in with the existing facility's system; a closer look, however, revealed a disparity in ground levels, which is costly to remedy, he said.

Comments
The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

For the second straight week, the Buccaneers had the ball in the final minutes of a tie game.For the second straight week, they could not finish.As disappointing as that might be, they have a larger problem, and one that has existed all season: The B...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Pinellas construction board prepares to lose independence

Pinellas construction board prepares to lose independence

LARGO — Members of the Pinellas County agency that oversees contractor licensing cried foul in January when elected officials sought to fold the board into county government.They were mostly quiet this week as they received word on plans to make that...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

TAMPA — Police were searching Tuesday for a missing 15-year-old Plant City girl who disappeared from a Tampa girls school.Zoe Warren was last seen about 8 a.m. Monday at the PACE Center for Girls, 1933 E. Hillsborough Ave., where she attends school, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

LARGO — Daniel Richards, on trial for the murder of his 83-year-old mother, began his own criminal defense on Tuesday by asking a few questions to the pool of prospective jurors."If you were accused of killing your mother, would you want to represent...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Two of St. Petersburg’s assistant police chiefs leaving next month

Two of St. Petersburg’s assistant police chiefs leaving next month

ST. PETERSBURG — Two assistant police chiefs are stepping down next month, leaving two of the three of the second-in-command jobs vacant at the St. Petersburg Police Department.Assistant Chief Jim Previtera announced this week that he will resign fro...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops’

Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops’

Washington PostA former Facebook executive is making waves after he spoke out about his "tremendous guilt" over growing the social network, which he feels has eroded "the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other."Chamath Paliha...
Updated: 1 hour ago
New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

LAKE MARY — Hundreds more juveniles who steal cars each year could be kept off the streets under a new tool approved by a Department of Juvenile Justice committee Tuesday, a move that could put a dent in a dangerous local car theft epidemic.Secretary...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Largo man arrested after passenger falls out of minivan and dies

Largo man arrested after passenger falls out of minivan and dies

PLANT CITY — A Largo man struck a pedestrian with a minivan last Friday, authorities said. Five minutes later, his female passenger was fatally struck by on-coming traffic after falling out of the vehicle.Plant City police arrested Todd Charles Riggs...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Former Tampa police sergeant to be sentenced in tax fraud case

Former Tampa police sergeant to be sentenced in tax fraud case

TAMPA — LaJoyce Houston admits that she benefitted from the proceeds of tax refund fraud.But the former Tampa police sergeant denies that she was ever an active participant in a fraud scheme, according to a memo filed in her federal criminal case. An...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Illegal card skimmer discoveries in Tampa Bay double in 2017

Illegal card skimmer discoveries in Tampa Bay double in 2017

State investigators have discovered more than double the number of credit card skimmers in the Tampa Bay area in 2017 than in 2016 — with still a few weeks left in the year. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services found 54 skimmer...
Updated: 2 hours ago