Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Voters to decide on keeping Port Richey as city

PORT RICHEY — Keep the city, or revoke its charter?

City residents will get to answer that question in a special election. The City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday evening to approve the second and final reading of an ordinance putting the dissolution question on the ballot.

The question won't make it on the ballot for the April 14 municipal election, but a special election could be held in the next two months.

"Within their charter, it mentions 60 days out to set an election day," said Brian Corley, supervisor of elections. "It comes down to when we can do it, when I get something official from the city on the language for the ballot."

One voting method Corley discussed with the council was a mailed ballot that would be sent to registered voters within 20 days of election day. All ballots would have to be returned to the elections office by 7 p.m. on election day, Corley said.

On Tuesday, Vice Mayor Mark Hashim and council members Phil Abts and Perry Bean voted in favor of putting the dissolution question to voters. Council member Steven O'Neil and Mayor Richard Rober voted against it.

Rober said Wednesday that before voting on the ordinance, the council should have held a workshop that discussed what happens if the city were to dissolve.

"The big question is, what happens to our (redevelopment) fund? There's a couple million sitting in there," Rober said. "And what happens to insurance rates and home values?"

Rober said one motivation to keep the city intact is municipal home rule.

"You have greater control at the local level," Rober said. "You get increased safety of residents and general welfare. Dissolution for us is as finite as death."

Residents of this city of 3,200 are no strangers to dissolution petitions. The issue last came to a vote in 2007, when 54 percent rejected a measure to dissolve the city.

But proponents didn't consider the matter dead.

By this January, a petitioners committee gathered 200 signatures — the required 10 percent of the city's registered voters — and drafted an ordinance asking residents of the city if they wanted to dissolve.

But the petition was improperly done, prompting the council to vote 3-2 on Feb. 10 for City Attorney Michael Brannigan to redraft the petition.

That vote, and the council's two votes on the latest ordinance, were identical. Hashim, Bean and Abts voted in favor, and O'Neil and Rober dissented.

On Wednesday, Bean said he was disappointed that the issue has once again come to a vote.

"I wish that the two sides over the years could have found some middle ground, and we didn't even have to be here," he said. "I've had folks come up to me and ask me, 'Why is this an up or down situation, a yes or a no?'

"My response to that is, everybody involved has forced it there."

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at or (813) 909-4609.

Also from council

Holiday Inn gets green light

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a preliminary site plan that will bring a five-story, 140-room Holiday Inn to U.S. 19 and Grand Boulevard, where the Port Richey Mobile Home Park now stands. The 100,000 square-foot hotel, which will sit on nearly 5 acres, will also house a 300-person banquet room, said building official Ed Winch. Southfield, Mich.-based developer Ron Asmar hopes to break ground in the next year, and plans to open in 2011, Winch said. Residents of the mobile home park have not yet been notified to vacate the property, Winch said, but are required by law to be given six months notice.

Voters to decide on keeping Port Richey as city 03/11/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 10:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa moves to put freed slave Fortune Taylor's name back on historic bridge


    TAMPA — City Hall has agreed to return a long-lost honor to the memory of Fortune Taylor, a freed slave who amassed more than 30 acres near downtown Tampa after the Civil War.

    The Laurel Street Bridge over the Hillsborough River was once known as the Fortune Street Bridge in honor of Madam Fortune Taylor, a former slave and businesswoman who amassed 33 acres on the east bank of the Hillsborough River after the Civil War. The City Council voted Thursday to put Taylor's name on signs posted at the foot of the bridge and seek a historical marker telling her story. SKIP O'ROURKE  |   Times (2016)

  2. Bucs' Mike Evans, Bills cornerback Gaines could face off again


    Bucs receiver Mike Evans has gone up against four Pro Bowl cornerbacks in five games, and on Sunday he could be lining up against a corner he has a history with in Buffalo's E.J. Gaines.

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) makes a touchdown catch over Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28)  Sunday  in Glendale, Ariz. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. Tie in Clearwater downtown development board election causes runoff

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — The Oct. 10 Downtown Development Board election for three open seats did not result in the historic dynamic it had the potential to create.

  4. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: The importance of Kwon Alexander's return


    Greg Auman talks the importance of Kwon Alexander's return Sunday in Buffalo in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Bucs middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, pictured during training camp in July at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Top 5 at Noon: Live from Gainesville before Spencer's speech; Why Trump's definition of 'fake news' is wrong


    Here are the latest headlines and updates on

    Richard Spencer, head of the National Policy Institute and self-described creator of the term "alt-right,"  will speak at the University of Florida today. [Getty]