Wednesday, June 20, 2018
News Roundup

Dade City tentatively raises property tax rate

DADE CITY — Declining property values may mean a tax rate increase for Dade City residents.

On Tuesday, the City Commission set a tentative millage rate hike from 7.1549 to 7.5621, with hopes of reducing it during 2014-15 budget negotiations later this summer. In Port Richey, the City Council also set a tentative tax increase of one millage point from 5.4348 to 6.4348. By law, government agencies can reduce tentative property tax rates they establish, but cannot go higher.

A mill represents $1 in tax for every $1,000 worth of a property's assessed value. So on a property valued at $100,000, a resident under Dade City's proposed rate would pay $756 in city taxes next year. In Port Richey it would be $643, though city staff there said the budget can be balanced under the current rate.

Dade City Commission members said setting the tentative rate higher provides "wiggle-room" in completing the budget. But Mayor Camille Hernandez urged staff to look for ways to prevent an increase.

"It just gives me heartburn to look at that number," she said.

In other news, the commission voted unanimously to enter into an interlocal agreement with Pasco County to take part in its 911 communications consolidation program geared toward streamlining emergency response. Participation will cost the city a startup fee of $99,165 and a recurring yearly fee of $91,265. All current Dade City dispatchers will retain their jobs.

Plans call for 911 calls in Dade City to begin being fielded by Pasco's communications center by Oct. 1, Dade City Police Chief Ray Velboom told the commission. The program will improve safety for police officers by allowing for better communication with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, and better service to the public as call transfers in search of the proper responding agency will be eliminated, according to Velboom.

"It's the right thing to do," he added.

Also on Tuesday, the commission gave a glowing review of the first six months on the job for Finance Director Leslie Porter. The commission hired Porter following the controversial decision last year to split the finance director and city clerk positions, which led to the departure of longtime employee Jim Class, who held the hybrid position.

Porter's review from the commission also included a $5,000 raise, bringing her salary to $70,000, a bump the board agreed to upon her hiring should her first six months be successful.

"I think we should honor our word," said Commissioner Scott Black. "She has done a great job."

Comments
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox Sr. was watching the NFL draft 24 years ago when the phone rang. Buffalo coach Marv Levy was on the other line."Marv said they were taking me," said Knox Sr., a standout receiver at FSU.Soon after, Knox Sr. saw his name scroll across ESPN'...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Victor Hedman, a relentless part of the Lightning's push to the Eastern Conference final last season, was honored Wednesday night with the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL's top defenseman."To the Lightning organization, Mr. Jeff Vinik, Steve Yzerman ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

RHP Nathan Eovaldi said before his rough start Wednesday against the Astros that he was pitching better than his numbers showed. Well … In four starts since his six no-hit innings debut, he's 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA, allowing eight homers, four Wed...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston could be suspended for up to three games  next season following the league's investigation into allegations he groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in 2016, a Tallahassee radio station reported.Jeff Cameron, a&#...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Passengers on fatal Southwest flight sue airline and manufacturers of plane and engine

Passengers on fatal Southwest flight sue airline and manufacturers of plane and engine

Eight passengers who were aboard a Southwest Airlines flight that was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after one of its engines blew apart filed suit Wednesday against the airline, Boeing and the companies that manufactured the eng...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Former employee sued by Tesla says he was a whistleblower

Former employee sued by Tesla says he was a whistleblower

Tesla sued a former employee Wednesday, accusing the man of hacking the automaker’s computer systems and stealing company secrets, shedding light on what chief Elon Musk had suggested was the work of a secretive internal saboteur.But the employee, Ma...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Police: Couple leased someone else’s home to 15 families at same time

Police: Couple leased someone else’s home to 15 families at same time

LARGO — Vanessa Rodriguez thought she found the right house for her three kids, in the right neighborhood, for the right rent. She signed the lease for April 30, sent a $2,300 money order and planned to move in June 1.Then the delays started. She sai...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Clearwater wants $40 million from the county for a stadium. But there’s not $40 million to give.

Clearwater wants $40 million from the county for a stadium. But there’s not $40 million to give.

CLEARWATER —The city’s proposed $79.7 million overhaul of the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training facilities depends on getting $40 million in bed taxes from Pinellas County.But records show even if county officials wanted to bankroll the Phillies...
Updated: 4 hours ago