T. Rowe Price says its expansion into Pasco County will be delayed by the same economic factors slowing business growth across the nation, the Times reported on May 14.
Most readers probably agree with Price officials that their announcement was not surprising.
What might be a bit surprising to some is the audience the company selected to publicly update its development plans, and to candidly answer homeowner questions about them.
As Times staff writer Lisa Buie reported, "PACA is the first public group T. Rowe Price officials have visited." PACA is the acronym for the Pasco Alliance of Community Associations.
We are a not-for-profit corporation formed in 2007. Our goals are to inform and assist homeowner groups with operational issues, and to represent their interests before all levels of government.
PACA welcomes the public and invites the press to its monthly meetings, alongside of our members who represent 71 homeowner and condo associations plus community development districts. We also have 35 individual members. PACA meetings are the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Land O'Lakes Community Center on U.S. 41.
The Times attended our May meeting and reported Price's delayed timetable for its expansion in Land O'Lakes that is still expected to ultimately employ upwards of 1,600 workers with an average annual salary of nearly $50,000.
Previous speakers attracting the public and our members to monthly PACA meetings include then-U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, current state House Speaker-designate Will Weatherford of Wesley Chapel and a host of county commissioners, other elected and appointed county officials and Pasco's school superintendent. We've also heard from experts on such matters as community legal issues, Florida-friendly landscaping, financial practices and internal auditing, as well as water resource management. Many of our speakers were so impressed with PACA that they joined us as individual members.
Upcoming speakers include freshman U.S. Rep. Richard Nugent and our new Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco, plus veteran state Sen. Mike Fasano of New Port Richey. We'll also hear from representatives of the hospitals under construction in Trinity and Wesley Chapel, as well as from the Pasco-Hernando Community College campus being built in Wesley Chapel, and from Raymond James on its plans to expand at Wiregrass Ranch.
Providing information to our members goes well beyond the speakers who enrich our communities by sharing their knowledge and expertise. We set aside time at our meetings to allow members to ask, and other members to answer, questions on the issues and challenges we face in our communities. We often find the best advice we can receive is from the experiences of our own members - both good and bad.
Our goals also include representing member needs and priorities to elected officials.
Pasco residents may recall the debate between Pasco commissioners and then-Sheriff Bob White over the latter's latest annual budget request. PACA presented the commissioners with a membership resolution last Sept. 7. It called on both parties to review their respective budgets and identify funds that could be redirected to road patrols and other deputy costs. That is, roughly, how they independently chose to resolve the issue months later.
PACA is now working cooperatively on the issue of "street trees" with county commissioners and their staff. As many of our newer communities were built, trees were planted in the narrow grass strips between streets and sidewalks. As the tree roots have grown, many are now tearing up sidewalks. That's raising questions about who decides and pays for any removal and potential replacement of trees, as well as for any repairs to damaged sidewalks. We hope to assist the county in resolving these issues this year as it works to revise its land use code.
PACA also realizes there is strength in numbers when advancing the issues that matter to homeowners. We invite more Pasco homeowner and condo associations plus CDDs to join our ranks. Homeowners can also join as individual members. Details on PACA and memberships can be found on our website atmypaca.org, or by contacting our vice president/membership director Dave Quinones at (813) 991-1505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together, we can continue PACA's efforts to inform, assist and represent homeowners to ensure an even better and brighter future for all of Pasco County.
Jim Flateau is the president of PACA and chair of the Ballantrae Community Development District in Land O'Lakes. He can be reached at email@example.com