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Trolley, others seeking promotion, can't park in downtown Dade City

DADE CITY — Officials grappled with a precedent set earlier this year at Tuesday night's commission meeting.

In the end, they rescinded an ordinance that allowed two trolley tour companies to park in a downtown strapped for parking spots.

In January, commissioners voted to let Dade City Trolley Tour leave a trolley parked downtown to promote business, despite a city ordinance that forbids parking a vehicle solely for advertising purposes.

Commissioners reasoned that the tour, which donates its proceeds to a scholarship fund, promoted the city, and the trolley got to stay.

In March, commissioners allowed Dade City Wild Things, which transports customers from downtown to a private zoo outside of the city via trolley, to also park downtown as a way of generating business.

The nonprofit's tour also brought business to the city, commissioners said.

But commissioners worried other businesses will want to leave branded vehicles downtown.

"We set a precedent and we're starting to see the results of that," said Mayor Scott Black.

Commissioners decided to take back the ordinance to reserve downtown's parking spots for visitors and residents.

Parking was a top issue at a recent city goal-setting workshop.

In other news

Commissioners approved a $3.8-million project to provide reclaimed water to Little Everglades Ranch.

The venture gave the city a disposal site for its reclaimed water and reduced the ranch's need to use drinking water for lawn watering. Little Everglades Ranch, the site of the annual steeplechase, uses potable well water for irrigation, said city engineer Jose Gil. Southwest Florida Water Management District, commonly known as Swiftmud, has agreed to fund half of the project. The city will apply for grants to cover the other $1.9-million.

Former city manager Harold Sample made a presentation to the city on behalf of his new employer, Central Carting Disposal, which provides trash pickup within Dade City.

The city paid Central Carting $6.97 per residential city customer each month for trash pickup. But the rising cost of diesel fuel has upped Central Carting's operation costs. The company wanted to add a fuel surcharge to its current rate, raising the city's monthly charge to $8.38.

City officials approved the surcharge, which will go into affect June 1.

Residents pay the city $10.50 per month for trash collection. Part of that charge, which is set by city ordinance, goes to Central Carting. The rest goes to the city's sanitation services fund, which maintains a closed dump site on Parrish Grove Road.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (352) 521-6518.

Trolley, others seeking promotion, can't park in downtown Dade City 05/13/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 9:14pm]
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