By Kyle LoJacono
The Pasco Commission has outlined how it plans to spend $915.6 million toward making a better county.
The plan of attack was approved by commissioners in the capital improvements proposal for the next five years, which includes hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade the county.
In total, the 93-page plan includes 292 projects from 2012-16. Of the $915.6 million that is scheduled to be spent, $312.2 is slated for next year.
“We’ve got a lot of things planned to continue Pasco’s growth,” said Commissioner Pat Mulieri.
Capital improvements are considered as one-time projects that designed to improve the county for several years. Generally, such jobs include buildings, parks, streets, utilities and land and equipment purchases. They must also cost at least $50,000 in total and have “an anticipated useful life of at least five years.”
The majority of the projects for 2012 in central and east Pasco will go toward road construction, with smaller amounts for land purchases and public safety equipment.
The plan calls for $5.67 million to be spent on six road projects in east and central Pasco, with most of it going to finish the job on Clinton Avenue in Dade City.
It is projected to take $5.03 million to complete the last two stages of the project, which is in part widening Clinton between Pasadena and Fort King roads. It is also realigning the curves on Clinton from west of Meigs Lane to east of Pasadena to make the stretch of road safer.
The job is fully funded by Penny for Pasco money and includes all right-of-way land acquisition and design costs.
Another project to improve the intersection of Curley and Old St. Joe roads in Dade City will cost $7,650, part of the $627,394 to finish e the job. It is scheduled for completion in 2014-15. It is also fully funded by Penny for Pasco.
The project is eliminating the curved intersection by reconstructing a T-shaped meeting of the two roads and their turn lanes. The goal is to make driving on the roads safer, according to Pasco chief project manager Robert Shepherd.
“It’s one of several similar jobs to make intersections safer that we are doing in the coming years,” Shepherd said.
The county is also contributing $162,500 for the future widening of SR 54 in Wesley Chapel to the edge of Zephyrhills.
The future widening will take SR 54 from two to four lanes from Curley Road to Morris Bridge Road, a stretch of 4.55 miles. So far, $650,000 has been contributed for the project, paid for with a combination of gas taxes, Florida Department of Transportation grants, impact fees and Penny for Pasco money.
Shepherd said the widening is still “a ways off” and wouldn’t start until the current widening of SR 54 between I-75 and Curley is finished.
Also in Wesley Chapel, Pasco will spend $75,293 to add turn lanes on Old Pasco Road, while also extending the turn lanes on Quail Hollow Boulevard. The project is funded by Penny for Pasco money and is meant to make the area safer to drive.
Another $1.02 million will be contributed to the project from 2013-14 before it would begin.
The remaining money, $396,490, will finish paying for the job to improve the intersections of SR 52 and Prospect/Happy Hills Road. It is currently adding turn lanes and resurfacing the roadway.
Pasco is buying mobile data terminals for emergency service use and 34 rugged laptop computers for fire prevention vehicles. The total for the purchases is $546,515, paid for completely by Penny for Pasco.
The terminals will let emergency service units have and update data maps of fire hydrants within the county, including the shortest route while checking water supply.
The laptops will replace old units in 11 fire prevention vehicles throughout the county. The old models are described in the plan as “old” and “out of warranty.” The plan also states it would cost more to repair the older computers than to buy new ones.
Pasco will spend $8.3 million in 2012 to buy land for environmental purposes throughout the county.
While no specific locations have been chosen, the majority of the land will go to connect various wetlands, such as linking Starkey and Cross Bar nature preserves. Last year, Pasco purchased part of Morsani Ranch north of SR 52 on US 41 to help with such passages, according to county assistant administrator Michele Baker.
“This land was identified in our updated regional environmental strategy in 2000 as one of the critical linkages between preserves,” Baker said. “The strategy recommends connecting these areas to protect the environment in the county. It is one of seven critical linkages we want to eventually buy and make into preserves.”
For more information on the capital improvement plan, visit portal.pascocountyfl.net.