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Zephyrhills library will offer 4 times the space

Published Nov. 28, 2006

The City Council voted Monday night to build an 18,000-square-foot library more than four times bigger than the current facility.

The project will cost about $5.5-million, with part of the money coming from the Penny for Pasco sales tax. The city also will apply for a state grant.

The current library next to City Hall was built in 1965 and expanded to its current size of 4,100 square feet in 1980. It serves an area of more than 28,000 people.

The new library, which will be one of the largest in Pasco County, will sit on 10 acres that the city purchased for $500,000 across from the Zephyrhills Police Department on Eighth Street.

Kathleen Burnside, director of library and museum services, said the city is in the preliminary planning stages and that construction will begin in about four years.

The new library could include a preschool activity area, story and study rooms, a computer lab and a lemonade and coffee caf.

In other news Monday:

RESIDENTS WILL BE SURVEYED: The council agreed to participate in a survey by University of South Florida graduate students to determine how satisfied the city's residents are.

The survey will be available on the city's Web site and mailed to residents' homes. Those who complete and return the survey will be entered into a drawing for tickets to a Tampa Bay Lightning home game.

"I feel pretty strongly that incentives will get results," Mayor Cliff McDuffie said.

He asked for additional prizes, such as gift certificates to local stores.

The survey includes questions about property taxes, budgeting, online bill pay and satisfaction with the mayor and the city manager.

REVISITING GARBAGE RATES: Residents and businesses might soon pay more for garbage pickup. The city, which has not raised sanitation rates since 1992, will hire the Kessler Consulting firm to review the rates and look at a possible increase. The study will cost $27,500, which is $7,000 more than what the City Council budgeted.

WATER RATES ALSO UNDER REVIEW: City officials discussed the pending increase to water and irrigation rates.

The proposed plan is twofold: increased usage rates and higher connection fees. If the rates are approved, they will increase by about 3 percent every year for four years. Plus, those who use more than 10,000 gallons a month will pay a higher rate in order to encourage conservation.

Officials said the increases are necessary to cover the growth of the city's utility system, which adds 300 customers and 1.2-million gallons of water use a year. Improvements for the water and wastewater systems will cost an estimated $31.9-million through 2010.

The recommended water impact fee for new construction will be $641, a 53 percent increase over the existing fee of $419. The wastewater fee, recommended at $2,010, represents a 24 percent increase over the existing fee of $1,616.

The council will vote on the proposed increases at an upcoming meeting.