Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Port Richey council member votes yes on application she filed

NEW PORT RICHEY — As executive director of Greater New Port Richey Main Street, Judy DeBella Thomas filed an application last month to sell alcohol at an upcoming event put on by her organization.

As a City Council member, Thomas voted with her colleagues Tuesday to approve the application bearing her signature.

Was her vote a conflict of interest?

Thomas, who was elected in April, said Wednesday she had no idea.

"Quite honestly, I didn't even think about it," she said after the Pasco Times raised the issue.

City Attorney Tom Morrison, who might have advised her about whether to vote, was three seats away from her at Tuesday night's meeting. He said this Wednesday:

"She voted?"

Morrison went on to say that he had not connected the application to Thomas. "I didn't pick up on that one at all," he said.

Greater New Port Richey Main Street has a roughly $45,000 annual contract with the city to market the downtown, in large part by putting on festival events such as the upcoming Main Street Blast.

The events usually generate revenue for the Main Street program, and alcohol sales can be a big part of that.

Thomas said that when she ran for City Council, Morrison told her she would need to sit out only when the council voted on the contract with the Main Street program.

"I believe he stipulated that was the one vote I need to abstain from," she said.

State law prohibits public officers from voting on measures that would provide special, private benefits to them, their relatives and business associates.

Morrison said Wednesday that he didn't think Thomas' voting on the application violated that law.

"I don't think she personally benefits from that event. My gut is that it's not a conflict," he said. "But I'd really have to study it."

Still, he said he would have probably recommended Thomas abstain, for appearances' sake.

"Usually I just tell people to stay away from that stuff," he said.

In other business, a proposal to raise street light fees failed amid a split 2-2 council vote.

Mayor Scott McPherson and council member Marilynn deChant voted against the proposal; Thomas and council member Rob Marlowe voted in favor. Deputy Mayor Bob Consalvo was out of town.

The city charges property owners a fee — on average, about $26.07 per year — to pay most of the street lighting bill, projected to be about $285,700 next year. But the fees don't cover the full cost, so the city has been using about $50,000 in general fund money to keep the lights on.

City administrators, faced with shrinking property tax revenue, had wanted to raise the street light fees enough to cover the full bill.

Raising the fee by another $5.76 a year on a typical property owner would have generated an extra $51,700. Now city officials must take the money from the general fund or find it elsewhere.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at jtillman@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6247.

New Port Richey council member votes yes on application she filed 06/18/08 [Last modified: Friday, June 20, 2008 4:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  3. Man injured when small helicopter crashes into Odessa home

    Accidents

    ODESSA — A small manned helicopter crashed into the roof of a house in northwest Hillsborough County on Monday, injuring a pilot, officials said.

    Rescuers respond to a crash of a small helicopter on the roof of a home in the Odessa area on Monday. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  4. State investigation cites multiple failures in death of Largo child

    News

    LARGO — It was sweltering in the bedroom of the Largo mobile home the day a child welfare case manager visited in July.

    Liz Rutenbeck, 24, poses with her son William in a Facebook photo. Baby William Hendrickson IV died while his mother was in jail after police said his father left ihim in a sweltering room.  A state investigation into the boy's death found multiple failures on the part of the child welfare system.
  5. 'Siesta Key' star punched in face, not sure who did it

    News

    TAMPA —Alex Kompothecras, cast member on MTV's reality show "Siesta Key," tells police he was punched in the face outside a bar in Tampa's SoHo district.

    Alex Kompothecras, Juliette Porter, Pauly Apostolides, Madisson Hausburg, Chloe Trautman, Garrett Miller, Kelsey Owens and Brandon Gomes pose for a photo in Siesta Key in June before the debut of the MTV reality series Siesta Key. [
EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]