Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Trio challenges Port Richey's dissolution plan

PORT RICHEY — Three residents have filed a petition in court challenging the validity of an ordinance that lays the framework for the upcoming referendum on dissolving the city of Port Richey.

Former mayor and attorney Eloise Taylor drafted the writ of certiorari in which Ed Ostrand and former City Council members Dale Massad and Jim Priest say the city has not met two of the three conditions that state law requires to be satisfied before a municipality can dissolve.

The first condition:

"The county or another municipality must be demonstrably able to provide necessary services to the municipal area proposed for dissolution."

The second condition:

"An equitable arrangement must be made in relation to bonded indebtedness and vested rights of employees of the municipality to be dissolved."

A third condition, according to the writ, has been met, which is that the "municipality to be dissolved must not be substantially surrounded by other municipalities."

Before drafting the ordinance that puts the dissolution question to voters, Priest said, City Council should have completed a plan outlining what happens to the city if voters decide to dissolve it.

The date for the referendum has not yet been set.

"What I'm asking a judge to do is find, as we do, that the ordinance is deficient right now, and it needs to be brought back and redone, then put to a vote," Priest said. "Once this thing goes to a vote, there's no turning back."

According to the ordinance, drafted by City Attorney Michael Brannigan, the city has to create a dissolution plan within 90 days of the effective date of the ordinance. A divided City Council approved that ordinance March 10.

The ordinance details severance packages for city employees if the city dissolved but doesn't address how to deal with issues like the city's $15 million in assets and $5.2 million in debt.

The council will hold workshops on April 21 and May 5 at City Hall to field residents' questions about what happens if the city dissolves.

Even if the council drafts a dissolution plan before the referendum and holds workshops, Priest said, the council should have planned further ahead to discuss the matter with residents.

"Unless those workshops are a month apiece, all the questions won't get answered," he said. "This is why you have a plan in place before you ever dream about an ordinance."

But council member Phil Abts says the workshops will answer residents' questions before they vote, which will be through mailed ballots.

"I see this as a ploy to prevent the citizens from having their right to vote," Abts said. "The citizens will be educated at workshops, and they have the right and ability to talk to any county administrator, council person or city employee."

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at cspencer@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4609.

Trio challenges Port Richey's dissolution plan 04/10/09 [Last modified: Friday, April 10, 2009 9:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Future, Ruff Ryders reunion tour coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

    Blogs

    Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre is in the midst of a killer summer of rock (Green Day, Muse, Linkin Park) and country (Sam Hunt, Lady Antebelleum, Dierks Bentley).

    Future
  2. Rubio remains noncommital on Obamacare replacement but a likely yes vote

    Blogs

    Sen. Marco Rubio has been bombarded with phone calls, emails and on Monday, protests took place outside his offices in Doral and Palm Beach Gardens. But while the effort is most unlikely to dissuade the Florida Republican from voting for the Obamacare replacement -- if it even comes up for a vote this week -- he remains …

  3. James Wilder Jr. back at running back...in Canada

    Blogs

    Remember when former Plant High star and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. announced he was switching to linebacker?

    That was short-lived, apparently.

  4. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas construction licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  5. What you need to know for Tuesday, June 27

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Former St. Petersburg mayor and current mayoral candidate Rick Baker, left, and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman square off tonight in a debate. [Times]