10/13/15 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County has learned how much damage 40 inches of rain can do to its antiquated residential streets and storm-water drainage pipes.
"You're going to have some sticker shock,'' DiAnna Rawleigh, Pasco County's public works manager, told county commissioners Tuesday.
Combined, the county is looking at more than $107 million worth of repairs.
The 144 damaged streets in west Pasco, originally projected as a $6 million repair, now could cost $15 million for traditional repaving. Additionally, 156 roads are in danger of crumbling. Fixing those would double the cost to $30 million....
WESLEY CHAPEL — Simon Property Group has filled 103 stores in its new Tampa Premium Outlets scheduled to open Oct. 29 in Pasco County.
Sprinkled among nine individual buildings will be 21 shoe stores, 37 outlets for designer fashions and sportswear, 15 gift and speciality-item stores and nine places to grab something to eat or drink. The mall, designed with a Key West theme, also will have a half-dozen courtyard areas featuring nautical names like "pearl,'' "coral'' and "starfish.''...
10/08/15 Public Safety
DADE CITY — The car alarm signaled trouble, and Phillip Tyler knew what to do. He dialed the Pasco County Sheriff's Office to report the attempted auto burglary.
The call, about noon on a Friday to the sheriff's nonemergency number, went unanswered and then unattached.
"I got disconnected twice,'' said Tyler, 51, of Holiday. "It's not the first time.''
It took three hours, and two phone calls to the assistant county administrator in charge of public safety, before a sheriff's corporal called back to take the report....
Pasco County wants to take a dry ranch and turn it into wetlands.
Part of it, anyway.
The county's utilities services is working to build 200 acres of wetlands on 4G Ranch in central Pasco to disperse up to 5 million gallons a day of treated wastewater.
When completed, the wetlands will aid existing natural habitats and help replenish the aquifer during the dry season, said Michael Carballa, engineering director for the county's utilities division....
10/08/15 Local Government
The poster child for blight along U.S. 41 just got put up for adoption.
This week, a front-end loader deposited piles of wood and concrete into dump truck beds on the lot at 4610 Land O'Lakes Blvd. The rubble is the former home of McFarlane's Appliance Center and, at one time, had been a truck stop and a used car lot. The 63-year-old building sat vacant for years, and crews finally demolished it, a few months after Pasco County condemned the property....
LAND O’ LAKES – Bonnie Zimmer, who served as both a Pasco School Board member and a county commissioner during her political career, died Friday at the age of 81 after a lengthy illness.
The 1990 election of Zimmer and fellow Republican Ed Collins over two entrenched Democratic commissioners became a precursor for the GOP’s dominance in Pasco County politics that would be cemented later in the decade....
Five companies, including the incumbent, are seeking a Pasco County contract to lobby in Tallahassee.
On Tuesday, county commissioners will be asked to allow the staff to short list the five companies to three and to schedule oral presentations for Oct. 19.
The applicants include the Pittman Law Group of Tallahassee, whose government clients include the cities of Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee, Port Orange, North Miami, Royal Palm Beach, and Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties; Public Affairs Consultants of Tallahassee which represents the municipal governments of the village of Tequesta and Jupiter Inlet Colony; Smith, Bryan & Myers, whose client list includes the Florida Association of Counties, the city of Pembrook Pines and Osceola County; incumbent Shawn Foster whose Sunrise Consulting Group is based in Trinity; and the county’s former lobbyist, The Advocacy Group of Cardenas Partners....
Pasco Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley filed campaign papers Thursday morning to seek re-election in 2016.
Corley, a Republican, was appointed to the job in 2007 by Gov. Charlie Crist to fill the vacancy after Crist named then-Elections Supervisor Kurt Browning as Florida secretary of state. Corley, 45, defeated Democrat Patricia Carroll in 2008 and ran unopposed four years ago. The current president of the Florida State Association of Supervisor of Elections, Corley was instrumental in working with the Legislature to authorize online voter registration beginning in 2017....
LAND O'LAKES — John and Linda Pollock have to use a rented, portable toilet sitting next to the driveway outside their house.
Across the street, Damon Navari built an outdoor shower — it's the blue-tarped rectangle at the corner of the house — to keep the bath water out of the septic field. Neighbor Joe Morrow doesn't bother with his well.
"I wouldn't drink that water; I'm pretty sure nobody else would,'' Morrow volunteered....
Pasco County is trying to figure out how to move people from here to there, besides the traditional way of staring at the red brake lights in front of you.
Essentially, the county wants residents to complete the sentence: The best way to get from Trinity to Wesley Chapel is (fill in the blank).
Helicopters don't count.
The county purposely left that sentence incomplete when it compiled its 25-year transportation plan through 2040....
WESLEY CHAPEL — Construction of the Tampa Premium Outlets mall and the Florida Hospital Center Ice complex is helping to trigger another burgeoning business sector along the State Road 56 corridor in Pasco County — the hospitality industry.
Three new motels are planned east of the Interstate 75 interchange. The latest is a six-story, 125-room Hilton Garden Inn, earmarked for SR 56 and Silver Maple Parkway in the Cypress Creek development....
The environmental stewardship lasted exactly seven days.
That's how long it took some Pasco commissioners to morph from waxing nostalgically about preserving favored fishing spots and kayaking routes along the coast to hemming and hawing their way toward another delay on a proposed ordinance to protect wildlife from encroaching development.
What's the hurry? It's only been 15 years since a court settlement required the county to start working on the ordinance....
NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County's quest for a sports tourism attraction should be heading indoors, a consultant reiterated to commissioners Tuesday.
The Atlanta Braves likely hammered home that point earlier in the day when it was revealed that the Major League Baseball team, retired slugger Gary Sheffield and a private developer want to put a spring training stadium and tournament-caliber amateur sports complex in Pinellas County....
09/23/15 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — Here's something you don't see every day — people applauding a property tax increase.
But, that's what happened Tuesday evening when deputies, firefighters and their families gave a round of applause to Pasco commissioners after the board unanimously approved the 2015-16 county budget, which included salary increases for the first responders and a higher tax rate to help pay for the increased wages....
09/22/15 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County utilities customers with disputed water bills will be getting some relief, but the amount of their discounts remains unresolved.
On Tuesday, county commissioners agreed to change their rules governing when the county will forgive exorbitant water bills. Under the proposal, which is still subject to a public hearing and a commission vote, the county would offer discounts of more than 50 percent for customers showing unexplained high water use....