The Pasco County Commission has authorized county staff to secure funding from the county’s general obligation bonds to pay for expansion of the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center.
The expansion is funded through general obligation bonds that Pasco voters approved in November 2018. The board unanimously authorized an amount of nearly $108 million of those funds to pay for the work.
The project will add 1,000 new beds, plus major upgrades to the jail’s central services, including medical, laundry, kitchen, intake and administrative facilities to meet a larger capacity.
At completion, the 352,700-foot-facility will be about 200,000 square feet larger.
The current facility has 1,432 beds, but is operating above capacity.
Completion of the expansion will allow the facility, at 20101 Central Blvd., in Land O’ Lakes, to house more than 3,000 inmates.
Commissioner Jack Mariano requested an update on the project for the board and County Administrator Dan Biles said he would schedule a presentation sometime in July or August.
On another matter, the board agreed to amend an ordinance, at the county administrator’s request, to permit greater flexibility in how the county spends it transportation tax increment funds.
Chief Assistant County Attorney David Goldstein told the board the proposed change would allow the funds to be transferred to the general fund for other public facilities and services — to the extent they’re not needed for mobility fee subsidies.
“The exact amount of this transfer will be determined yearly, as part of the budget process,” Goldstein said.
The change also will apply to the Villages of Pasadena Hills, which has its own tax increment financing district. Those funds also had been restricted to transportation-only related costs, Goldstein said.
No one from the public spoke either for, or against, the change.
In another item, the board appointed members to the Northeast Pasco Rural Advisory Committee.
The county’s planning and development department sought applicants for the 13-member volunteer board and received 22 applications.
The committee’s task will be to evaluate policies and regulations related to the Northeast Pasco Rural Protection Overlay District, and to recommend commercial development design standards and guidelines to the Pasco County Commission.
The northeast rural area is bordered by Bellamy Brothers Boulevard, the Green Swamp, State Road 52 and the Hernando County line.
Those appointed to the committee are:
- Area residents: Nancy Hazelwood, Anthony Midthun, Lisa Moretti, Mary Kaye Harrison and Diana Hughes Diaz
- Area business owners: Craig Linton Jr., James N. Hancock, Paul Boetcher, Frank Greco and Ronnie L. Deese
- Land-use attorney: G. Randall (Randy) James
- At-large members: Cyndi Tarapani and Chris Williams
The board, at the suggestion of Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, also appointed Seth Weightman, one of the applicants, to serve as an alternate.
Commission Chairman Ron Oakley, whose district includes the area, said “the staff did a good job of selecting the 13 out of the 22.”
With Northeast Pasco’s growth, the board will be able to address issues regarding the need for workforce housing and other issues, he said.
Oakley said the board will provide an avenue for input.
“People will be able to voice their opinion,” the commission chairman said.
Advisory committee members will serve until a final recommendation is made to the county board and then the committee will disband.
On another issue, Commissioner Kathryn Starkey said she would like to pursue a board workshop on the issue of the county’s vacation rentals ordinance.
She said she knows that opinions are divided on the issue, but she thinks something must be done regarding the county’s current ordinance — which she said is not working.
It is not yet known whether a workshop will be held.
In other action, the board:
- Authorized the acquisition of 7.41 acres on State Road 54 for what will become Fire Station No. 5, and will serve central Wesley Chapel and communities within a 5-mile radius. A market value appraisal was completed on Feb. 8, using a sales comparison approach and it came in at about $3.1 million. The parcel is vacant and is zoned for commercial uses. The county’s purchase price is $2,450,000.
- Approved a task order with Fleishman and Garcia Architects and Planners, AIA, PA (FGA) to perform architectural, engineering and related services for the design and construction of Fire Station No. 18 on Chancey Road in Zephyrhills in an amount not to exceed $261,230 for fiscal year 2021.
- Accepted the donation of an electronic varsity scoreboard from the Dade City Little League, Inc. for John S. Burks Memorial Park. The 8-foot-by-4-foot LED scoreboard with wireless remote control, is valued at $3,090. It will be used for baseball games.
Published June 16, 2021
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