Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New city jobs added as Port Richey braces for "triple whammy" of tax increases

PORT RICHEY — City residents will soon face a "triple whammy" of tax increases. Some workers' salaries are still paid with money marked for Port Richey's redevelopment efforts. And the state, at last audit, said the city was facing a financial emergency.

But while other cities have resorted to cutting staff, Port Richey plans to add about 10 new positions into the budget at a cost of about $320,000 in salary, retirement and overtime pay.

The jobs include an administrative analyst in the city manager's office, an accountant in the finance department, an information technology employee and crewmen for roads and utility collection. Half of the new employees will work under the police chief, including three officers, one information technician and a marine officer patrolling the canals on a police skiff.

The new jobs are detailed in salary worksheets released to the Times through a public records request. If divided equally across the city's 3,400 residents, the new positions would cost about $94 per person.

With the new hires, the city will have employed 59 workers in all departments, seven of whom work part-time. Finance Manager Pam Zeigler said some of the full-time jobs could be scaled back to part-time positions as budget talks continue.

Questions about staffing decisions were redirected to City Manager Ellen Posivach, who did not return five messages left at her office since last week. She spent Thursday at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Fla., attending the Florida League of Cities financial board meeting, and her assistant said she would be "swamped" on Monday and Tuesday. Posivach did not work at City Hall on Wednesday.

Mayor Richard Rober said the new positions were created to meet residents' demand for services. The City Council, he said, would have liked to add even more new positions.

"If we're asking staff to do things, we have to give them the tools and the budget and the resources to do it," Rober said. "We've come so low in staffing it's hard to get things done effectively."

Those jobs will be funded in part by the city's community redevelopment fund, an account fueled by property taxes and designated for decreasing blight. For years, officials have tapped into the fund to balance the city budget. Rober said the redevelopment money will likely pay for some salaries in next year's budget as well.

Other salaries will be paid for from the city's general fund, which officials hope will be buoyed by new stop light cameras planned for installation later this year. Zeigler estimated that over the next year, the city would receive fines from 9,600 different tickets — about 200 a month from each of its four cameras — totaling about $720,000.

What Rober has called a "triple whammy" of taxes will begin to hit within the next few months. The City Council could soon set its property tax rate up to $5.62 per $1,000 in taxable value, a $1.40 millage raise. Water and sewer rates, unchanged since 2002, were increased last month. And in January, the city's revived franchise fee on electricity will add about $7 to the average resident's monthly bill.

In October, all city employees received a 2 percent pay raise. Zeigler said no raises have been budgeted this year, though Posivach's contract, which set her salary at $132,000 a year, could change when it is renewed in November.

Contact Drew Harwell at dharwell@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6244.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Port Richey City Manager Ellen Posivach traveled to the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Fla., on Aug. 19 for a Florida League of Cities financial board meeting. A previous version of this story misstated duration and purpose of her trip.

By the numbers

3,400 Number of residents in Port Richey.

10 Approximate number of new jobs the city plans to add.

$94 Approximate cost to each resident for those new jobs.

New city jobs added as Port Richey braces for "triple whammy" of tax increases 08/25/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 2:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. University student accused of making bomb threat on Snapchat

    Crime

    DELAND — A Florida university student is accused of making threats on Snapchat to "bomb" or "gas" the campus.

    Stetson University freshman Griffin Powell, 18, is accused of making threats on Snapchat to "bomb" or "gas" the campus in DeLand.


  2. Tiki Barber will join his brother, Ronde, on Fox broadcast for Bucs-Giants

    Bucs

    FOX announced Monday night that former Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber will have a familiar face joining him as a guest analyst for the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants game in Tampa: his twin brother Tiki, who will join …

    Tiki Barber, right, will join his brother, Ronde, left, as a guest analyst on the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants broadcast on FOX. [Times files (2006)]
  3. Cannons will fire again when Bucs return to Raymond James Stadium

    Bucs

    As good as the Bucs looked in their season-opening 29-7 win against the Bears on Sunday, fans couldn't help but notice that the success didn't sound the same at Raymond James Stadium.

     Ron Gutschmidt is perched on top of the Buccaneer pirate ship ready to activate the ship's cannons with the press of a button after a Buccaneer touchdown. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: How should Joe Maddon be remembered tonight?

    The Heater

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones talk about Joe Maddon's return to Tropicana Field for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014 in the latest edition of our Rick and Tom podcast. They discuss the mixed emotions …

    Joe Maddon returns to Tropicana Field tonight for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014. [Getty Images]
  5. Watch live: President Trump's speech to the U.N. General Assembly

    World

    UNITED NATIONS — U.S. President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron are expected to take the spotlight at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations — but it's the tough global challenges from the nuclear threat in North Korea and the plight of Myanmar's minority Muslims to the …

    President Donald Trump shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron during a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in New York. [Associated Press]