Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Public hearing tonight on New Port Richey street assessments

NEW PORT RICHEY — For Joseph Swilley, the timing could not be worse.

Just a few weeks after he got notice of a proposed $2,600 street assessment, Swilley lost his job as a field technician for photo labs.

"It's kind of a tough time to be making somebody pay $2,600 to pave a street," said Swilley, a Spring Hill resident who owns a Royal Palm Drive rental house in the city.

Most likely, Swilley won't end up owing that much, as the city usually picks up part of the tab. But as New Port Richey gears up for a $1.2 million street improvement program, it may face a new layer to the usual opposition to street assessments: the struggling economy.

"Why in this economy are they taking more from people?" Swilley said.

This year's improvement project targets nearly 30 streets. A hearing on the assessments is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. today at the city recreation center.

Public Works director Sherman Applegate said the streets are on the list for a good reason. They are in poor condition, and some of them haven't been repaved in more than 30 years.

"They are a safety concern," he said.

Street assessments tend to be a controversial subject in New Port Richey, where residents are often averse to paying additional fees on top of their city property tax bill.

The notice that each of the 450 affected property owners got in the mail last month reflects how much each single-family homeowner and commercial property owner would owe — $2,641 — if assessments were to cover 100 percent of the project's costs. (Multifamily property owners owe more.)

Applegate said the city is required by law to use the full amount on public notices.

But the city typically splits the costs on the projects, and the 2008-09 budget contains enough money in a fee-based public works fund to cover at least half. So individual assessments will likely be lower than the $2,641.

When they meet tonight, City Council members will decide how much the city should pitch in on the project as well as the financing terms.

The city places a lien on each property for unpaid assessments.

At a February meeting, council members anticipated that property owners may have a harder time than usual coming up with the money. They discussed lowering the interest rate and lengthening the time people have to pay off the debt.

For the 2006 street improvement project, the city used a 4.3 percent interest rate on unpaid assessments and a 10-year payment term.

Council member Bob Consalvo, a past critic of assessments, said Monday that he was surprised he had so far received only one letter from a resident about the project.

He said he doesn't think most people would disagree that the roads on the list need to be repaired.

"I don't think we'll hear, 'My street doesn't need paving,' " he said.

"It's, 'How I am going to pay for it?' "

Jodie Tillman can be reached at or (727) 869-6247.

If you go

Public hearing tonight

The public hearing on street assessments begins at 6:30 p.m. today at the New Port Richey Recreation Center, 6630 Van Buren St. Property owners along certain sections or all of the following roads are affected: Luna Vista Drive, Jasmine Drive, Jasmin Drive, Astor Drive, Bellview Avenue, Cotee River Drive, Lark Lane, Cedar Lane, Royal Palm Drive, Janczlik Drive, Osprey Lane, Avery Road, Wedgewood Drive, Pinewood Drive, Oakwood Drive, Petunia Court, Cherry Court, Amherst Court, Lambert Lane, River Road, Marine Parkway, Lemon Street, Linder Place, Charles Street, Crafts Street, Hanff Lane, High Street, Water Street and Scharabok Lane.

Public hearing tonight on New Port Richey street assessments 04/27/09 [Last modified: Monday, April 27, 2009 9:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pasco driver, 66, dies in Friday crash on SR 54


    NEW PORT RICHEY — A 66-year-old man died Friday after he collided with oncoming traffic on State Road 54 in Pasco County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Florida reverses decision to shield information from nursing home inspection reports


    TALLAHASSEE — Florida regulators decided Friday they will abandon the use of software that allowed them to heavily redact key words from nursing home inspection reports posted online, choosing instead to link to the more complete reports available on a federal site.

    Officials for the state Agency for Health Care Administration said Friday they will no longer use software that allowed them to heavily redact key words from nursing home inspection reports posted online. The agency has been under increased scrutiny since Sept. 13, when eight residents of The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, pictured here, died after power was lost to an air-conditioning system during Hurricane Irma. Two more residents died this week. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
  3. Trump's travel ban to be replaced by restrictions tailored to certain countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is set to be replaced as soon as this weekend with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country, officials familiar with the plans told the New York Times on Friday.

  4. Maria: Clearwater Coast Guard plane aids rescue near Puerto Rico


    Eight minutes. That's how long it took the Petty Officer 3rd Class Darryn Manley of the Coast Guard said it took him to spot the boat that capsized off a Puerto Rican island on Thursday.

  5. Mom of girl who died looking for candy seeks to keep husband away

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Eight days after her 4-year-old daughter died in the care of paternal grandparents, pregnant Lizette Hernandez sat in a Hillsborough County courthouse Friday, attempting to seek full-time custody of her 19-month-old son.

    Lizette Hernandez, 22, above, completes paperwork Friday for a motion for protection from domestic violence against her husband, Shane Zoller. Their daughter, Yanelly, 4, left, died in a gun accident at the home of Zoller’s parents.