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. Navy expected to relieve admiral in charge of 7th Fleet in response to deadly disasters at sea


    The Navy will relieve the senior admiral in charge of the service's 7th Fleet based in Japan in response to four embarrassing accidents this year, two of which killed sailors at sea, two U.S. officials said.

    Tugboats assist the guided-missile destroyer John S. McCain on its way to Changi Naval Base in Singapore on Monday. [U.S. Navy]
  2. Trump chides media over Charlottesville


    President Donald Trump is blaming the media for the widespread condemnation of his response to a Charlottesville, Va., protest organized by white supremacists that led to the killing of a counter-protester.

    Trump met service members before the rally.
  3. Jones: Koetter-Winston exchange highlights latest 'Hard Knocks'


    There are certain things that make HBO's Hard Knocks must-see television.

    Jameis Winston, left, has an exchange with Dirk Koetter that highlights Hard Knocks.
  4. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.
  5. Mayor Rick Kriseman endorsed by another police union


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is already backed by the city's largest police union, the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has secured another police union endorsement