12/01/15 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — Brian Head, the former chief deputy for the Pasco Sheriff's Office, is poised to return to the county government as an assistant county administrator for public safety and administration.
Head, 50, who had held the rank of colonel, retired abruptly and without public explanation from the Sheriff's Office in July 2013 after serving as second in command under Sheriff Chris Nocco. Head retired immediately after leading the agency temporarily while Nocco had been out of town attending a law enforcement conference in Quantico, Va....
12/01/15 Local Government
The amount of money a new home buyer pays toward classroom construction should more than double to nearly $10,200, according to a consultant's recommendation to the Pasco School District.
A draft report of the district's impact fee update, compiled by Maryland-based TischlerBise, calls for increasing the current charge of $4,876 on each newly constructed single-family home to $10,197. Proposed charges for town homes, apartments and mobile homes range from $4,106 to $6,265....
NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County and its unionized firefighters have agreed on a new two-year contract that will raise the base pay for recent hires and pay each employee a one-time lump sum instead of a retroactive pay increase.
Commissioners unanimously approved the new deal Tuesday. The firefighters, represented by the International Association of Firefighters Local 4420, earlier approved the contract by a vote of 282-24....
NEW PORT RICHEY – Pasco Commission candidates Debbie Wells and Rachel O’Connor spent Tuesday morning observing county commissioners at work during their meeting at the West Pasco Government Center. Ronald Oakley spent his time joining them in the District 1 race to succeed Commissioner Ted Schrader.
Oakley, 70, a citrus grower and cattle rancher in Zephyrhills, filed his candidacy papers Tuesday to make a second run for the county commission. Oakley and O’Connor unsuccessfully challenged Schrader in the 2012 winner-take-all, three-person Republican primary. Schrader is not seeking re-election to a fifth term on the commission and is running for Pasco property appraiser.
Oakley spent $176,000 of his own money in the 2012 campaign, a tactic he doesn’t plan to repeat this time around.
“I do not,’’ Oakley said when asked if he plans to spend his own resources in the race. “I have a lot of supporters and a lot of people say they’re going to support me. It won’t be like last time when you’re running against an incumbent. It’s a whole different deal when it’s an open seat.’’
Oakley, a former chairman of the Southwest Florida Water Management District board of directors, said some of top issues facing the county include flooding, redevelopment and transportation.
The Republican primary is Aug. 30, 2016. No Democratic candidate has entered the race....
Brian Head, the former chief deputy of the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, is poised to return to public service as an assistant county administrator for public safety and administration. Confirmation of his appointment is scheduled to be considered Tuesday by the Pasco County Commission.
Head, 50, who had held the rank of colonel, retired abruptly and without public explanation from the Sheriff’s Office in July 2013, after serving as second in command under Sheriff Chris Nocco. Head retired immediately after leading the agency temporarily while Nocco had been out of town attending a law enforcement conference in Quantico, Va.
In announcing Head’s departure, Nocco issued a staff memorandum at the time stating:
“On behalf of the entire Pasco Sheriff’s Office, I would like to thank Colonel Brian Head for over a decade of outstanding service to our agency. He has been a leader in the law enforcement community for 27 years. It is with great sadness that we will see him retire from his position as the agency’s Chief Deputy. His commitment to the citizens of Pasco County and the members of this agency will be missed.”
Head’s hiring by County Administrator Michele Baker will put him in charge of the county’s Fire Rescue, emergency management and the 911 communications center that had been a target of earlier complaints from Nocco.
Head worked for the Florida Department of Corrections for 14 years, rising to the rank of senior inspector before joining the Pasco Sheriff’s Office in 2001. Head was a major in charge of the jail in 2011 when then-Sheriff Bob White retired midterm. Head sought the appointment from Gov. Rick Scott’s to complete the unfinished term, but Scott, instead, tapped Nocco who then named Head as his chief deputy.
As assistant county administrator, Head will succeed Randy TeBeest who resigned to move closer to family members out of state. Head will be paid an annual salary of $115,000 and his state date is Dec. 14....
Where is the elusive sense of place?
It's got to be around here somewhere. It sure gets talked about a lot.
Sit in a government meeting where there is a rezoning, a site plan or some other discussion about development, and at some point, someone will say their intention is to create a sense of place.
Two years ago, consultants from the Urban Land Institute recommended that Pasco kill the idea of an elevated highway running along the State Road 54/56 corridor. The highway would be counterproductive, the consultants said, to the county goal of establishing a sense of place along its southern corridor, where people would live, work and play in close proximity....
NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County has preserved more than 2,800 acres of environmentally sensitive land over the past decade, but Holiday residents are aggravated that 80 undeveloped acres along the coast won't be part of it.
The so-called Mickler property, the northern portion of which reaches into the Gulf of Mexico, is along Strauber Memorial Highway and sits among four residential neighborhoods in the Key Visa area of southwest Pasco. The land is considered part of the gulf marsh ecological unit and was placed on the county's Environmental Lands Acquisition and Management Program list in 2008. The property — 34 acres of uplands with mangrove swamps and saltwater marshes — received the sixth-highest environmental score of the 27 parcels on the ELAMP list....
Pasco County Court Judge Debra Roberts has drawn a second challenger in her bid for re-election in 2016.
Scott Tremblay, 38, a former prosecutor who now has his own practice in New Port Richey, filed candidacy papers this week.
“I feel I am well-qualified, based on my background, and a good candidate for that position,’’ Tremblay said Thursday afternoon.
Roberts, the first Afrian-American to serve on the Pasco bench, filed her re-election papers for the Group 4 seat in September. She was appointed to her seat by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2001 then won election in 2004 and again in 2010.
The other candidate is Michael P. Wilson, a former private-practice attorney who now is a Pasco Sheriff’s deputy serving a detective in the professional standards office. He announced his candidacy in June.
The non-partisan race will be on the Aug. 30, 2016, ballot....
Help for the congested Interstate 75 interchange at State Road 56 is coming sooner than originally projected, but not soon enough for Pasco County officials and the people making the drive.
The Florida Department of Transportation recently added construction of a so-called divergent diamond interchange at the I-75/SR 56 ramps to its tentative five-year work plan, with construction scheduled to begin in 2020. The state previously said the upgrade likely wouldn't happen until 2024....
11/19/15 Local Government
A church without walls just ran into a City Council without compassion.
The church is Land O'Lakes resident James Bishop, his wife and kids and five other families. They share fellowship in New Port Richey on weekends, picnic in a public park and maybe even toss around a football.
Their gathering spot had been Sims Park in downtown New Port Richey. But it is closed temporarily for renovations, including installation of a new playground. It is scheduled to reopen in December....
11/18/15 Local Government
DADE CITY — The cost of repairing residential streets is about to get a little more affordable for Pasco property owners.
On Tuesday, county commissioners unanimously lowered the interest rate charged through the county's paving assessment program. The county has charged 1 percent above the prime interest rate since 1999 for people financing the cost of neighborhood street repavings. The commission now will skip the surcharge and use the prime lending rate, 3.25 percent, for the coming year....
Pasco takes flight with logo, slogan
"Open spaces. Vibrant places'' is replacing "Room to grow,'' "Bringing opportunities home'' and an assortment of other marketing brands for Pasco County.
Commissioners on Tuesday approved a new logo and marketing slogan to build Pasco's brand name as a place to visit, live and do business. The new logo features a rising sun as the "o'' in Pasco with a sandhill crane taking flight in front of it. Beneath it are the words "Open spaces. Vibrant places'' with "vibrant'' underscored and in italics....
DADE CITY - Commissioner Kathryn Starkey assumed the chairmanship of the Pasco County Commission today, being elevated from vice chairman during the board’s annual reorganization.
Starkey is starting the final year of her four-year term. She has said she will seek re-election in 2016, but she has not yet filed her candidacy papers to open a campaign account and begin fund-raising.
It’s a familiar role for Starkey. She previously served as chairman of the Pasco School Board in 2007. Starkey resigned from the school board after six years to make an unsuccessful run for the state House of Representatives in 2010.
Tuesday morning, Commissioner Mike Moore nominated Starkey for chairman. Commissioner Mike Wells Jr. seconded the motion.
Commissioner Ted Schrader, the outgoing chairman, nominated Moore as vice chairman. It puts Moore, elected a year ago, in line to become chairman in November 2016. Again, Wells seconded the nomination.
Both votes were unanimous. All five board members are Republicans. ...
New Port Richey Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips is challenging three term-incumbent Jack Mariano for his seat on the Pasco County Commission.
Phillips, 58, filed his candidacy papers Friday to run for the Republican nomination for the District 5 seat, held by Mariano since 2004.
Voters returned Phillips, a national account manager for a Lakeland-based roofing company, to the City Council in 2012, two decades after he initially served the city. He was re-elected without opposition in April to another three-year term. Phillips had been on the council from 1992-94, but departed and made an unsuccessful bid for Florida House of Representatives....
WESLEY CHAPEL — The idea of a connected city is facing a disconnect with some of its neighbors.
The connected city is a newly designated special planning area in central and eastern Pasco County bordered by Interstate 75, Curley and Overpass roads and State Road 52. It is a state-authorized pilot program for developments promoting innovation via job creation, alternative transportation, limiting sprawl or protecting the environment. Proponents specifically cite the planned availability of ultra-fast Internet and related technology to spur employment opportunities....