A change in fundraising rules seems to have helped Pasco County Commission candidate Mike Moore who pulled in more than $11,000 in November, including eight $1,000 contributions tied to a Trinity developer.
Fundraising rules approved the last legislative session permitted state and county candidates to accept $1,000 donations instead of the previous $500 maximum.
The change has certainly aided Moore’s campaign. The business broker and president of Wesley Chapel’s Republican club pulled in $8,000 in $1,000 contributions from companies tied to developer Lew Friedland of Palm Harbor. One of those, Adam Smith Enterprises, was a major developer of Trinity....
12/10/13 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — A development group submitted a new proposal this week to build and operate an elevated toll road in south Pasco County after pulling the idea in October.
International Infrastructure Partners, working with a related company called Florida 54 Express, submitted its plan after the Florida Department of Transportation requested developers' ideas for a toll road on State Roads 54 and 56....
12/10/13 Human Interest
Hundreds of low-income families are expected at Tax Collector Mike Fasano's annual holiday food giveaway set for Friday.
This year's event promises to have a bipartisan flavor.
Fasano, a former state legislator, started the giveaway in 1994. The event has since grown in size and scope — luring more families while attracting a larger slice of Pasco's political establishment to hand out the bagged food....
12/05/13 Human Interest
HUDSON — Rescue groups worked on Thursday to find shelter for more than 60 dogs and other animals discovered on Sunday in filthy conditions.
About 30 dogs remain at the property just south of the Hernando County line, said Mike Shumate, director of Pasco Animal Services. He said he's counting on a "pretty extensive network" to place the remaining animals in coming weeks.
Sheriff's deputies responding to arguing in the home at 18310 Montour Drive discovered the menagerie — cats, horses, mules, a potbelly pig and possums. Pasco Animal Services inspectors arrived later and put out calls for assistance to save the animals....
12/03/13 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco commissioners on Tuesday gave their blessing to a feasibility study linked to a proposed toll road on State Roads 54 and 56 in south Pasco County, but they couldn't agree on whether to back the project without more information and public input.
The approval, at the request of state transportation officials, came a week before developers are due to submit proposals to build and operate a privately run toll road along the highways....
Mayor Burgess enters state House race
Mayor Danny Burgess has filed to run in the Florida House District 38 race to replace Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, who is term-limited. Burgess, 27, a Republican and a local attorney, is the youngest mayor to serve in Zephyrhills. He filed with the state Division of Elections on Tuesday. He'll face two political newcomers: Dade City Democrat Beverly Anne Ledbetter, 60, who teaches at Saint Leo University; and Trinity Republican Minerva "Minnie" Diaz, 51, a former Air Force officer and real estate agent....
12/03/13 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County Commission Chairman Jack Mariano got an earful at Tuesday's commission meeting after he sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott blasting the Army Corps of Engineers and suggesting that other commissioners felt the way he does.
The note concerned a rejected permit application to dredge a channel at SunWest Park in Aripeka to give Pasco boaters more access to the Gulf of Mexico. The channel would also play a key role in the creation of the county park, as well as a nearby housing development....
11/29/13 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — Joan Clark said she was stunned to learn her water bill had hit $3,000 because of a leaky pipe under her house.
"I couldn't believe it," said Clark, 67, of Port Richey. "It was more than a shock, and everybody I told, they couldn't believe it. Can you imagine getting a bill for $3,000 — for water?"
Her monthly bill usually comes to about $30.
She said she found out about the expense a couple of months ago — not when her bill arrived but when she called Pasco Utilities to ask why her water service had been turned off. After a staffer explained about the high water usage, she learned she owed the county about $3,000....
NEW PORT RICHEY — The Rev. Mark Hamilton, pastor of the Congregational Community Church, expects a long Thanksgiving eve after concern about overnight lows in the 30s prompted Pasco County to open two emergency shelters for the homeless at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
"We have a rotation of seven churches and tonight our church is on," said Hamilton, who plans to remain awake all night as the church welcomes homeless looking to keep warm....
NEW PORT RICHEY
Had enough of those orange barrels on U.S. 19? If you're waiting for them to disappear, don't hold your breath. Better yet, take a deep breath. The Florida Department of Transportation says the $53 million improvement project on U.S. 19 between Pinellas and Hernando counties has another two years to go.
Just as one phase hit its midway point earlier this month — the stretch from Pinellas to State Road 52 — another was getting started. That phase, from SR 52 north to Hernando, began the second week of November with workers milling the lanes north of the intersection....
11/21/13 Human Interest
ZEPHYRHILLS — Eugene Williams couldn't believe his eyes when he opened the envelope from the county tax collector last week.
His organization, the Coalition for the Homeless of Pasco County, regularly seeks state and federal funds to help with homeless outreach. The group has enjoyed tax-exempt status for years.
But last week as Williams perused the letter, in particular one line at the bottom, he was stunned: "Total due: $9,097.29."...
11/20/13 Real Estate
ODESSA — An international development company said it plans to break ground early next year on a 536-acre residential and commercial development on State Road 54.
The privately owned company, Hines, which has its U.S. headquarters in Houston, said the project will include 550 single-family homes, 200 townhouses and 300,000 square feet of stores.
Hundreds of multifamily units and another 530,000 square feet of office/light industrial space are planned as well. No date for the groundbreaking is set and the project hasn't yet been named. The $21 million sale of the former Behnke family ranch closed Nov. 12 and was announced Wednesday....
DADE CITY — A Democrat and a Republican have jumped into the District 38 race to replace Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, who's leaving the House next year because of term limits.
Dade City Democrat Beverly Anne Ledbetter filed paperwork last week with the state Division of Elections to mark her first bid for elected office.
Also running is newcomer Trinity Republican Minerva "Minnie" Diaz, who filed election papers in July. As of Oct. 31, Diaz had raised $1,960 in cash contributions....
11/19/13 Local Government
DADE CITY — Courtney Little and Kimberlee Markou would have been in the midst of their senior year at River Ridge High School if not for an accident in July on a stretch of Moon Lake Road that claimed the teens' lives.
Now, after hearing safety reports and a recommendation from county engineers, Pasco commissioners are taking steps that they hope address longstanding safety problems on the winding high-speed road....
11/15/13 Human Interest
NEW PORT RICHEY — State regulators ruled Thursday that Summertree residents will incur a double-digit rate increase for water, but they'll pay less than what their provider, Utilities Inc. of Florida, had requested.
"At least it's something," said Richard Neilson, a resident of the 1,200-home development south of State Road 52. "The big thing was that they ordered the utility to meet with representatives from the community to come up with a permanent solution."...