The Pasco County Commission has rejected a recommendation of its staff that would have allowed the sale of a property to Pinellas Habitat for Humanity for $1.
The item had been part of the board’s consent agenda — meaning it would have been approved with a group of items, without discussion — if no one pulled the item off that agenda.
But Commissioner Seth Weightman pulled the item. He told his colleagues that he was “philosophically opposed” to selling any surplus county property for a dollar.
He said he wouldn’t sell any of his personal property for a dollar and doesn’t think the county should do so either.
He said the county has a responsibility to taxpayers to protect their assets.
Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, however, said the county also is facing a significant problem regarding affordable housing.
In her view, this sale would give the county a chance to give a resident a chance to pursue homeownership through Habitat.
Weightman said his position wasn’t a reflection on Habitat or any other nonprofit. He just thinks the county should seek a better price for its property.
County Administrator Mike Carballa noted that the county received the property because it had not paid its taxes, so it was awarded to the county.
Weightman held firm.
Starkey again urged her colleagues to approve the sale to Habitat, but they took Weightman’s position, voting 4-1 to reject the sale.
On another issue, the board authorized additional purchasing authority in the total amount of $100,000 to Nabors, Giblin, Nickerson, P.A., for attorney’s fees, paralegal fees, travel expenses and costs, as may be incurred on behalf of the county, for a cumulative not-to-exceed $235,000.
The action was taken as part of the board’s consent agenda.
The law firm has been providing legal assistance to the county regarding the case of Nikki Alvarez-Sowles, clerk of the court v. Pasco County. To date, the law firm has spent more than 400 hours related to the defense, according to materials in the county board’s agenda packet.
“Given the nature of the litigation, it is the opinion of the county attorney that the time spent has been reasonable, given the amount of work involved,” the agenda backup says.
Alvarez-Sowles lost in the first round of the legal battle, but has notified the county that she plans to appeal that ruling.
In other action, the board:
- Met in closed-door session with the county’s legal representatives to discuss the lawsuit filed by RADDSports, Pasco Wiregrass LLC against Pasco County
- Approved a task order with Alfred Benesch & Company for $70,274.68 to provide planning services as necessary to amend the Pasco County Comprehensive Plan Conservation and Coastal Management Elements, to include Peril of Flood policy as required by Florida law.
This task order is made possible by a $75,000 Florida Resiliency Coastal Program grant, from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
- Approved the reappointment of Michael Davis, Michael Fittipaldi, Jay Michlin, Rocio “Rosie” Paulsen,and Joseph “Joe” Ward to a term of two years on the Jobs and Economic Opportunity Committee, which provides general oversight of the Jobs and Economic Opportunity Trust Fund (Penny for Pasco) projects and marketing efforts funded through the Penny for Pasco
- Passed a resolution congratulating Jackson Davis for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout
- Adopted a resolution commending Bill Roberts for his three-year term as chairman of the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority. Roberts was Tampa International Airport’s representative on the committee
Published March 01, 2023