Sunday, April 22, 2018
News Roundup

Zephyrhills officials consider future uses for Penny for Pasco money

ZEPHYRHILLS — City Manager Jim Drumm gave council members a list of ideas for projects that could be funded by Penny for Pasco money.

Drumm mentioned ideas like purchasing private property downtown to add parking to the city's community redevelopment agency district and upgrading lighting and streetscaping through the historic district after the Florida Department of Transportation completes the U.S. 301 street widening project.

Other suggestions like purchasing new public safety vehicles, fixing public drainage and economic development infrastructure projects were also tossed into the idea pool. He also proposed renovating and enlarging Alice Hall Community Center and developing a new city park on the north end of the city where none exist.

At the council meeting on April 23, they will decide on the list and vote on the funding interlocal agreement with the county and the school district.

In other news

• Council members voted unanimously to approve nine separate annexations of private property, totaling nearly 33 acres, into the city. The property owners had requested city services and were required to annex from the county as part of the agreement to receive them. Because of a resolution passed in February, all fees usually associated with annexations were waived by the city.

• Before Mayor Cliff McDuffie took his seat for the last time at a City Council meeting, city leaders made sure he had an appropriate sendoff in the form of a reception before Monday night's meeting.

City staff and members of the community, including members and staff from the Great Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce, where McDuffie served as executive director when he first became mayor, filled the council chambers to celebrate his tenure.

McDuffie, 77, has been the city's mayor for a decade. He decided, just as the election deadline approached, that it was time to retire and do things he enjoys, which include writing poetry, traveling, fishing and spending time with his wife Joyce, who was by his side during the reception Monday evening.

"For me personally, he has been a great mentor," said Council President Jodi Wilkeson. "He has been at every event. He's a great example of what everyone wants in a leader," said Wilkeson, who presented McDuffie with a plaque.

McDuffie said his greatest accomplishment was spearheading the effort to convince the Florida Department of Transportation officials that the city's alternative plan to widen U.S. 301 was best for the city. The plan was proposed in 1997.

"As I go out the door, it got done," he said. "Some things just take a long time."

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