C.T. Bowen - Hillsborough County Reporter

Hillsborough County Reporter

I'm fairly new to the Hillsborough County government beat, but not so new that I'm considered green. Gray is more like it. I've been in Florida for more than three decades and have spent that entire time writing and editing news stories, columns and editorials about the Tampa Bay region. After working at the Tampa Tribune, I joined the Times in 1998 as a member of the editorial board based in Pasco County and later switched to news reporting and column writing. I'm originally from upstate New York (Go Bills!) and worked at newspapers in Jamestown, N.Y. and Syracuse before relocating to Florida. I like reading, listening to music and watching sports. My wife, Mary Beth, is a public school teacher, and we are a house divided. We have two grown sons - one Gator and one Seminole.

  1. Hills borough Commissioner Kimberly Overman wants the county to preserve the 769 acres for which the University of South Florida is seeking development proposals. (Photo courtesy of Jeannie Mounger).
  2. An aerial view of a storage pond at the closed Piney Point fertilizer operation in Palmetto, Manatee County. .
  3. Traffic is seen along Interstate 4 in the Champions Gate area near Orlando. A portion of the road, between Tampa's central business district and southwest Orlando,  is targeted for technological upgrades to better manage traffic flow with the aim to make the highway safer and less congested.  [CHRIS URSO | Times]
  4. A conceptual drawing, by FleischmaGarcia Architecture, of the proposed New Tampa Performing Arts Center on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard across from the main entrance to Hunter's Green.
  5. Mailers promoted the one percent sales tax for Hillsborough Count transportation projects. Voters approved the sales tax referendum by a 57-43 margin in November 2018. This week a judge's order says he will retain the authority to help devise a refund of the tax. TIMES (2018)
  6. A toll gate remains under construction at the westbound entrance to the Selmon Extension, the 1.9-mile toll lane located in the median of Gandy Boulevard, on Jan. 26, 2021, in Tampa. The extension will allow a choice for local residents and regional travelers: use Gandy Boulevard for local destinations or use the Selmon Extension for a direct connection to the Selmon Expressway or the Gandy Bridge. The route is scheduled to open April 19.
  7. Cockroach Bay Preserve State Park, home to mangroves and sea grass beds, is in southern Hillsborough County.
  8. The Cross Bay Ferry, Provincetown III leaves the Vinoy Yacht Basin in January 2019. Hillsborough County commissioners agreed Wednesday to try to negotiate an extension to the seasonal service that is scheduled to end this year.
  9. Nurse Joan Diehl prepares COVID-19 vaccinations at the Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds, in Plant City on Jan. 6. Dr. Douglas Holt, director of the state Health Department in Hillsborough County, projected half of the county's residents could be vaccinated by June 2 if the current surge in vaccinations continues.
  10. An attorney in Lutz is suing Pizza Hut of America, saying it illegally charged a higher sales tax in Hillsborough County after the Florida Supreme Court had voided the transportation sales tax.  [PRNewswire]
  11. Lobbyists start to fill the fourth floor gallery between the House and Senate on March 10, 2020, in Tallahassee,
  12. These are some of the mail pieces used by the, citizens group All for Transportation in the sales tax referendum campaign of 2018. Fifty-seven percent of the voters supported the tax that later was voided by the Florida Supreme Court.   [Times 2018 |
  13. Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer shows an "I Voted" sticker sent to people who voted by mail during the November 2020 general election. Latimer displayed the sticker during a Sept. 30, 2020, press conference at the Robert L. Gilder Elections Service Center, Tampa. Three unsuccessful GOP candidates had challenged the election results, asking for a recount of mail ballots, but the trio has abandoned the lawsuit.
  14. Aerial photo of homes and new construction in the Southfork Lakes subdivision in Riverview in  March  2020.
  15. A receipt from Whole Foods Market shows the store charged a sales tax rate of 8.5 percent on Saturday, March 20. The Florida Supreme Court order voiding the penny-on-the-dollar sales tax for transportation became effective March 15.
  16. Mailers promoting a 1 percent sales tax for Hillsborough County residents to fund transportation projects, which voters approved in November 2018. The Department of Revenue told businesses Tuesday March 16 to stop collecting the tax.
  17. Pasco Commissioner Jack Mariano  bought the undeveloped parcel next to the Gulf Island Resort in Hudson in 2018 for $900,000. It now is for sale with an asking price of $4.99 million.  Times (2018)
  18. Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa are offering $44 million worth of rental assistance beginning next week.
  19. Hillsborough is updating the community plans for the rural areas around Balm and Wimauma in southern Hillsborough County. This week, a Hillsborough Circuit Court judge denied a legal challenge to the county's commission 2019 decision rejecting a rezoning proposal to turn agricultural land in Balm into an 899-home development.
  20. President Joe Biden signs the American Rescue Plan, a coronavirus relief package, in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Washington.
  21. Refunds from Hillsborough County's voided transportation sales tax aren't expected until further court action.  [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times (2015)]
  22. Hillsborough County's water treatment plant in Lithia. The county's south-central utility system serves 465,000 people.
  23. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, announced the COVID-19 relief bill approved by the House of Representatives includes $285 million for Hillsborough County and $80 million for the city of Tampa. Castor, shown on HGTV, made her comments to Hillsborough County commissioners Wednesday morning.