The Pasco County Commission is having a workshop to explore whether a charter form of government would be in the best interest of residents.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., on Feb. 12 at the West Pasco Government Center, in the boardroom on the first floor. The government center is at 8731 Citizens Drive in New Port Richey.
Switching to a charter government could lead to massive changes in Pasco County government.
State Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, is advocating that Pasco voters be allowed the option to vote on whether the county should shift to a government governed by a charter.
Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano thinks shifting to a charter government would lead to higher taxes and more layers of bureaucracy.
Commissioners discussed the idea at their Jan. 13 meeting, then decided to call a workshop for a more detailed look at the issue.
Under state law, either a majority of county commissioners or a petition signed by 15 percent of the county’s registered voters can create a charter commission. In Pasco, that would require more than 46,000 signatures.
Once a panel is formed, it has 18 months to complete a charter that Pasco voters would adopt or reject.
At the Jan. 13 meeting, Pasco County attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder said there are 20 charter counties operating across the state’s 67 counties.
The charter dictates the shape that the government will take, he said.
At the board’s Jan. 27 meeting, Schrader reminded commissioners of the upcoming workshop and encouraged them to find out about how charter government works in other jurisdictions.
“We need to make sure we ask as many questions as possible,” Schrader said.
Commissioner Mike Moore said commissioners may benefit from talking with elected officials in jurisdictions using a charter form of government.
Schrader added: “Don’t just stop with the elected officials.”
Constituents served in those jurisdictions may offer a different perspective on the issue, Schrader said.
Schrader said it’s also a good idea to talk with the constituents in those places, to hear how charter government works from their perspective.
The commission has invited representatives from the Florida Association of Counties to provide information and answer questions at the public workshop.
Ginger Delegal, the general counsel for the association of counties, will make a presentation on the charter process. Kurt Sptizer, former executive director of the association of counties and now a private consultant, also will be on hand.
Pasco commissioners also have invited the county’s legislative delegation and the county’s constitutional officers.
Published February 4, 2015