Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

New Port Richey to launch PR blitz to tell public about its economic woes

NEW PORT RICHEY — With layoffs and deep budget cuts looming, city officials will go on a PR blitz to inform the public on the scope of major economic problems that New Port Richey faces.

City Manager John Schneiger presented a "communications action plan" to the New Port Richey City Council on Tuesday night. It will be an effort to get face-to-face with residents to discuss the city's dire economic situation.

Hopes are the public relations effort — which the council agreed should be called "Meeting the Challenge Together" — will educate the public, drum up volunteers and generate ideas for economic development among the city's business community and civic groups.

"It's an effort to explain to the public why you have to make the difficult decisions you will have to make," Schneiger told the council. "I can't stress enough how important communications are in a situation like this."

Schneiger said plans are to schedule several public meetings at various locations for the council to meet with residents.

The city also is launching a new website at the end of the month that will contain economic news. Schneiger said he also may be writing an editorial outlining the situation to offer local media outlets.

For many on the council, involving groups such as the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce and Greater New Port Richey Main Street will be key.

"We've got to have buy-in from various groups," said Deputy Mayor Rob Marlowe.

The economic projections for the city in the next five years are dire. Last month, the city learned that property values dropped nearly 11 percent this year, drastically cutting the income from property taxes.

In addition, the city faces a $695,000 drop from two kinds of utility taxes: a surcharge that all city residents pay on their electric bill, and a utility franchise fee that Progress Energy pays the city.

The news piled on an external auditor's existing forecast of a deficit of about $12 million over the next five years, but the situation involving the property and utility taxes spiked the projection to about $15 million, according to Schneiger.

Schneiger says layoffs cannot be avoided, and that an announcement on possible job losses could come by the end of the month.

Comments
Suspect in Gilchrist deputies’ slayings has Tampa Bay ties

Suspect in Gilchrist deputies’ slayings has Tampa Bay ties

The man identified as the suspect who fatally shot two Gilchrist County deputies in a restaurant Thursday afternoon before taking his own life has ties to the Tampa Bay area.Deputies say John Hubert Highnote, 59, of Bell — who was found dead outside ...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Forecast: Scattered showers could dampen weekend plans across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Scattered showers could dampen weekend plans across Tampa Bay

Scattered showers and thunderstorms could pester Tampa Bay throughout the weekend, culminating in a peak chance of rain early next week.A small cold front will meander over the bay area by Friday afternoon but should have little affect on the area, t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Portion of I-75 closed in Sarasota due to smoke in road

Portion of I-75 closed in Sarasota due to smoke in road

SARASOTA — A portion of southbound Interstate 75 is closed in Sarasota County due to smoke in the road.According to broadcast reports, smoke from a prescribed burn in the area has settled over the roadway. The roadway is closed at mile marker 205, ne...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Tampa Bay students to stage walkout; ‘Crabby Bill’ Loder dies; details emerging in deputies’ killer; breaking down the Bucs’ 2018 schedule

The Daystarter: Tampa Bay students to stage walkout; ‘Crabby Bill’ Loder dies; details emerging in deputies’ killer; breaking down the Bucs’ 2018 schedule

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• A dry cold front moved through the bay area overnight but it won’t affect temperatures much. It might be a little cooler in the North Suncoast, but that’s it. Bay area highs will stil...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Fugitive suspected in Bradenton woman’s death arrested in Texas

Fugitive suspected in Bradenton woman’s death arrested in Texas

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas — A woman suspected of killing her husband in Minnesota, then fleeing to Florida and killing a woman who resembled her in order to assume a new identity, was captured Thursday night at a South Texas resort.Two federal deputy...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Flight attendants say ‘appalling’ Southwest flight photo confirms it — you’re not paying attention to the safety demo

Flight attendants say ‘appalling’ Southwest flight photo confirms it — you’re not paying attention to the safety demo

Mario Nunez called it a "huge shaking my head moment" when the photo inside the cabin of Southwest Airlines flight 1380 appeared on his TV. The story was about a terrifying emergency landing after an engine exploded 20 minutes into a trip from New Y...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Today across America, high school students are expected to walk out of class in their latest show of solidarity against gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do much about it. It marks a grim anniversary — 19 years since Columbine bra...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

High school students from both sides of Tampa Bay will commemorate the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings on Friday, although in very different ways.In St. Petersburg, students from several schools will gather at noon at City Hall for...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18
Howard Altman: Tampa company analyzed strike on Syrian facilities

Howard Altman: Tampa company analyzed strike on Syrian facilities

After President Donald Trump announced the U.S., France and England had carried out attacks on three Syrian chemical weapons centers, a Tampa company began its own analysis of the bomb damage.The analysis, by geospatial intelligence firm Radiant Solu...
Published: 04/20/18