The Dade City Planning Board has added a new face, plus a few familiar ones to its dais.
Dade City Commissioners on Aug. 11 reappointed three board members whose terms recently expired, and approved a new at-large member to the agency’s group of seven.
The three reappointments are James Cosentino, Bermice Thomas and Joe Kennard.
Dade City native and resident Matthew Munz is the new at-large appointment.
Terms of each of the four appointments will expire April 2024. The other planning board members are Jimmy Miller, Davis Henley and Juliann Hale.
Munz, the newest addition, is a project manager for Mead & Hunt, an architecture design, engineering, environmental and construction administration services company.
He takes over the at-large seat previously held by new Commissioner Knute Nathe, who vacated the seat after being elected last month to the Dade City Commission.
“I enjoyed a great deal my tenure on the planning board. It can be thankless service, but it is service that is necessary to the city,” Nathe said.
With that, Nathe recommended Munz for the at-large seat, citing his experience as an engineer leading various water, wastewater, and stormwater projects in multiple stages of development — matters that go hand-in-hand with planning board responsibilities.
Fellow commissioners concurred, unanimously approving the recommendation.
Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez said Munz’s credentials “certainly are impressive” and his knowledge in development-related matters “should be an asset to the board.”
Hernandez noted that Munz sat through a four-plus hour commission meeting last month, underscoring his passion for community issues.
“If that ain’t dedication, then I don’t know what is,” Hernandez quipped.
Aside from professional experience, Munz also has deep-rooted ties to Dade City coming from a family of public servants.
His mother, Barbara Munz, was principal of Pasco Elementary School for 23 years.
His father, William Munz, was assistant county administrator for Pasco County throughout the 1990s.
Munz kept his comments brief following the appointment. “I look forward to being able to serve the city,” he said.
The city’s seven-member planning board also serves as the Local Planning Agency for quasi-judicial procedures, and also includes one member representative from Pasco County Schools.
The board meets monthly, or as needed.
Duties include transmitting recommendations to the commission regarding zoning district amendments, comprehensive plan amendments, variances, and conditional use permits.
On another matter, commissioners unanimously approved a final plat for Countryside, a 25-lot subdivision located on 5.72 acres east of U.S. 301 and adjacent to a busy block that includes a McDonald’s, O’ Reilly’s Auto Parts, Captain D’s and EZ Clean Car Wash, among other businesses.
The Countryside development has been in the works for some time.
Commissioner Scott Black noted the subdivision has been in entitlement ever since the city landed the McDonald’s location when he was a freshman in high school, roughly 40 years ago.
“It is rather interesting that the project is finally, after so many years, something is happening there,” he said.
The development has received some pushback due to potential negative traffic impacts in that area, including from former Dade City Commissioner Nicole Deese Newlon.
Budget transparency headed to city’s website
Local residents soon will be able to get an inside look at Dade City government’s spending and departmental operations, in real-time online.
Newly appointed Dade City interim finance officer Andrew Laflin told commissioners he’s rolling out a cloud-based budgeting transparency software program onto the city’s website, within the next month or two.
The new program, will allow users to view and navigate the municipality’s multi-year capital projects and budget actual data, with links to the city’s annual budget document and ongoing budget preparations. It also will provide updates and messages from the city’s various departments, he said.
The new online feature will “show really a whole lot of stuff,” Laflin said.
Mayor Hernandez applauded the initiative, especially at a time when the city is experiencing a wave of commercial and residential development.
“I think that’s excellent,” Hernandez said. “I love the fact that it’s not only going to be available to the commission, but it’s going to be available in real-time, so I’m excited. That sounds like a good addition to providing information and transparency to our residents and those in Dade City.”
Laflin has hit the ground running on budget preparations for fiscal year 2020-21 since being hired to provide consulting financial services a month ago.
Other items worth noting:
- The Dade City Police Department announced the hiring of two new police officers — Christopher Amatruda, 35, and Ronny Rivera, 48.
- Dade City’s public restrooms have reopened, accessible from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily.
- Work is underway on the design of a visitor’s information welcome center building at the Roy Hardy Trail trailhead.
- Pasco County issued a notice to proceed with a route study for the extension of Morningside Drive — to connect U.S. 301 to Fort King Road in Dade City.
Published August 19, 2020