Hurricane Irma: A disruptive force

With Hurricane Irma threatening Florida last week, officials weren’t taking any chances on where or when the massive storm would make landfall. The deadly storm was churning in the Atlantic, when Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency on Sept. 4, warning residents that Irma is a “a massive storm” that could prove devastating. “This storm is bigger, faster and stronger than … [Read more...]

Roads, beautification among legislative priorities

Funds for the Interstate 75/Overpass Road project and the Land O’ Lakes Boulevard Beautification Plan are among priority requests for the 2018 legislative session. Pasco County commissioners agreed to a wish list for the upcoming session at their Aug. 29 meeting in Dade City. The $15 million sought for I-75 and a new interchange at Overpass Road made it into the state’s 2017 budget. But, … [Read more...]

Education is key issue at town hall

Education was a recurring theme during a recent town hall meeting that featured U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, State Rep. Danny Burgess, and State Sens. Wilton Simpson and Tom Lee. About 100 residents gathered inside the Pasco Middle School Auditorium on Aug. 22 to voice their thoughts and concerns with their local representatives, via a question-and-answer-style town meeting that lasted more than … [Read more...]

Japanese investment focus of roundtable

On a map of Florida, more than 18 Japanese-owned companies are pinpointed across the state. South Florida has the most, with only a handful scattered in central and northeastern cities, including the port city of Jacksonville. Noticeably blank is Florida’s central west coast, including Pasco County. “I think there has not been much of a connection,” said Japan’s Consul General Ken … [Read more...]

Pasco approves $4.6 million for Ridge Road project

The Ridge Road extension is still on the drawing board, waiting for a permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers. But, at their July meeting in Dade City, Pasco County commissioners took a step forward in the nearly 19-year process of qualifying for the coveted permit. They updated a contract with NV5 Inc., and approved about $4.6 million toward the final design and construction … [Read more...]

Downtown Dade City to get flood relief

Puddle jumping in downtown Dade City is often a rainy day sport especially along Seventh Street, the spine of downtown’s business district. Sidewalks can quickly overflow, forcing pedestrians to hunt for spots less than ankle deep to cross from one side of the street to the other. Other downtown streets, including Meridian, Pasco and Live Oak avenues, also see the waters rise. But, $1.4 … [Read more...]

Pasco County projects axed by Gov. Scott

Gov. Rick Scott signed an $83 billion budget for 2018 and used his veto pen to slash nearly $22 million earmarked for Pasco County projects. In total Scott struck out nearly $410 million from local projects across Florida. Pasco lost about $15 million for a new interchange to connect Overpass Road with Interstate 75, and $4.3 million for the Thomas Varnadoe Forensic Center for Education … [Read more...]

Land O’ Lakes site aims to improve forensic research

Pasco County had a dedication ceremony for a 5-acre field that will be used to advance forensic research and aid in criminal investigations. The “body farm” is next to the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center, off U.S. 41. A separate forensics and training facility also is being planned near the body farm site. The field has been named the Adam Kennedy Forensics Field, in honor of the former … [Read more...]

Pasco County schools expect budget squeeze

As things stand now, Pasco County Schools could be facing an $8.7 million budget shortfall for the 2017-18 budget year, and Superintendent Kurt Browning has begun laying the groundwork for potential cuts. He briefed the Pasco County School Board during a May 16 budget workshop about what he’s been doing so far to gear up for what could become a tough budget year. The final budget numbers … [Read more...]

Could homestead exemption be $75,000?

A proposed constitutional amendment to increase homestead exemptions to $75,000 could be a boon for homeowners, but a bust for local governments that stand to lose millions in property tax revenues. If approved, homeowners potentially could add another $25,000, excluding school taxes, to the current $50,000 homestead exemption. At least 60 percent of voters statewide would have to … [Read more...]