ZEPHYRHILLS — The first Zephyrhills City Council meeting of 2009 focused on ways to improve the city in the shadow of the national recession.
City Manager Steve Spina said the decrease in property and sales tax revenue for the city has forced Zephyrhills to reserve budget dollars for necessities.
High on the list is the renovation of the downtown fire station after last year's flood. The council voted to establish a request for sealed bids from contractors for renovations to the damaged station.
Spina said the repairs will be funded from Penny for Pasco and the Safety Impact Fee and will include a new roof and fortifying the north wall against future floods. Current plans also include converting some garage space into office space. Estimated costs are approximately $700,000.
Police Chief Dave Shears asked council members to approve the purchase of four new police vehicles at a price of $101,000, which will be funded by existing money in this year's fiscal budget and money from the Police Department.
Shears said buying the vehicles outright instead of leasing would save the city $10,000 for each lease. The council unanimously approved the purchase. The older cruisers will be put up for auction.
The council also voted to renew the Pasco County Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Agreement, which shares resources between city police departments in the county.
"After 25 years in law enforcement, there's too many bad guys out there and we need all the help we can get," said council member Manny Funes.
The council voted unanimously to name the new wastewater treatment plant after Louis E. Sellars.
Mayor Cliff McDuffie also proclaimed Jan. 15 would be set aside to honor the accomplishments of Sellars, who is utilities superintendent of Zephyrhills and has worked for the utilities department since 1968.
In addition, rental rates at the Alice Hall Community Center will rise to $40 an hour, effective Monday. The rates include setup fees, and impact all reservations made as of today.