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ROAD PROJECT COMES WITH A NICE SURPRISE

About 300 city residents are in for a rare treat: $130 off their paving assessment. This year's street repaving project came in nearly $200,000 under budget, public works director Tom O'Neill said. That means savings for the residents whose streets were repaved and the city at large. The bill for those residents, originally $642, will now be about $514, the city's billing and collection supervisor, Jane Newcomb, wrote in a memo. The city, which will pay for about 65 percent of the repaving project, expects to have an extra pot of money, estimated at $125,000 to $150,000, it can spend on something else.

NEW PORT RICHEY

Conference looks at housing issues

Help is on the way for Pasco residents struggling with housing and insurance rates. A conference on affordable housing will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at Marchman Technical Education Center, 7825 Campus Drive. Local and state officials will work on a long-term plan to address housing issues such as soaring insurance costs and homelessness. The event is sponsored by the Pasco County Community Development Division and the county's Coalition for the Homeless. For information, call (727) 842-8605.

WESLEY CHAPEL

Board okays plans for 477 houses

The plans for 477 homes on Grantham Ranch narrowly won a 3-2 approval late Tuesday by the County Commission. Neighbors complained a flood-prone community will get worse because of the project - a fear reflected in the "no" votes from Commissioners Jack Mariano and Pat Mulieri. But officials with the project said they are designing the development with drainage standards that are higher than required and should help the area. The project will be on 611 acres west of Interstate 75 at Old Pasco Road.

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