Pssst. It's Election Day in a quartet of Pasco County cities. It's kind of hard to tell there are contested council races amid the other issues — from fire service to parade etiquette — that have dominated the local government landscape the past few weeks.
Port Richey is debating its very existence as a city government. Zephyrhills saw a politically active unionized firefighter dismissed after a failed drug test at the same time questions of maintaining fire service for the city have dominated the election season.
New Port Richey, meanwhile, has been preoccupied with a prolonged discussion of whether to allow bead-throwing from parade floats. Okay, so not every time-consuming debate there surrounds redevelopment.
Against that backdrop, there has been little campaigning among council candidates and turnout today is expected to match. By late morning Monday, the early voting totals showed meager participation in most locales.
The exception is Port Richey where 130 ballots, representing nearly 7 percent of the registered voters, had been cast.
That is to be expected where the single council race on the ballot foreshadows a pending, but still unscheduled referendum on whether the city of Port Richey should be disbanded and be governed as part of unincorporated Pasco County.
If you're someone who grumbles when you open your property tax bill each fall, or believe city services are essential to maintaining the quality of life, or have other concerns about your city government, today is the day for your voice to be heard. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today in four cities, Port Richey, New Port Richey, Zephyrhills and San Antonio.
The Times interviewed candidates, studied platforms and reviewed backgrounds prior to making candidate recommendations for the larger cities.
Here are the previously published recommendations.
New Port Richey Council, (two seats): Ginny Miller and Marilynn deChant;
Port Richey Council: Amy K. Scott;
Zephyrhills Council: Manny Funes.