Often, it’s the items that aren’t discussed at all that can yield some of the most interesting details, at Pasco County Commission meetings.
On the Aug. 10 agenda, for instance, the county board voted on issues ranging from approval of a fortune teller’s application to do that type of business in the county, to awarding a contract to replace a flat roof at a fire station in Dade City.
They didn’t utter a word about those issues because the items were on the board’s “consent agenda.”
The way it works is this: During each board meeting, the board chairman reads out a “pull list” from the consent portion of the agenda. If anyone wants an item to be pulled for discussion, that item is moved to the regular portion of the agenda.
Items remaining on consent are approved in a single action.
Here’s a look of some items approved on the Aug. 10 consent agenda:
- An application by Suanne Lynn Gould to engage in the occupation of a fortune teller, and similar occupations. To qualify, an applicant must gain approval from the board,
which requires the applicant to live in Florida and to be of good moral character. If the applicant wishes to conduct fortunetelling at home, she must acquire a Home Occupation special exception from the county.
- A contract for $96,950 to JD Contractors LLC, to install a flat roof at Fire Station No. 24, in Dade City. Information contained in the agenda packet says the flat roof section at the fire station is more than 20 years old and has reached the end of its life span. There have been several leaks in that section of the roof during the past several years.
- Additional purchasing authority for technology upgrades, in a not-to-exceed (NTE) total amount of $195,343.68, over a three-year period. The new cumulative total NTE will be $468,534.97 for the five-year contract term.
- Nearly $1.2 million for future purchase of marketing, advertising and funding programs to support the county’s tourism efforts.
- Spending $70,125 for the purchase of four-channel multimode phase selector traffic signal preemption devices for emergency vehicles, through a Florida Department of Transportation bid. Emergency vehicles that are equipped with the phase selectors can change traffic signals to a green phase, as they approach the signal. That makes it possible for them to reach their destination more quickly. Like any electrical device, the phase selectors will go bad and need periodic replacement.
In addition to the consent agenda, another part of the meeting that can be illuminating involves the reports made by individual commissioners.
During that portion of the meeting, commissioners essentially bring up whatever they want to talk about with their colleagues.
Sometimes, it involves commissioners wanting the county to deal with problems with illegal dumping, or the lack of landscaping in new developments, or the possibility of a new approach for vacation rental homes in the county.
At the Aug. 10 meeting, Commissioner Mike Moore used the platform to give his colleagues an update on how the county is faring this year on the tourism front.
Moore, who is chairman of the Pasco County Tourist Development Council, reported that the figures for May 2021 were actually up 96% from May 2020.
While indicating that’s not terribly surprising, given the impact from COVID-19 in 2020, Moore noted: “If you look at May (2021) TDT (Tourist Development Tax) collections they’re actually up from May 2019, so we’re on track to have our best year ever.”
Moore also applauded the Pasco County Public Transit department for securing three paratransit vehicles for free from the Florida Department of Transportation.
“Now, we have more paratransit vehicles out in the community for our residents and it didn’t cost our local taxpayers any additional dollars,” Moore said.
During his report, Commission Chairman Ron Oakley asked his colleagues to support the initiation of a special planning effort focusing on Lacoochee.
Decades ago, the community thrived when it was home to Cummer Sons Cypress Company, a company that employed hundreds and created a “town within a town,” according to historical accounts.
After the plant closed, about 60 years ago, the jobs disappeared and the area languished.
But efforts have been made to attract manufacturing to the area, and the interest is growing.
Oakley said the county needs to look ahead, so it can prepare to have workforce housing the area will need, as well as planning for the services, such as doctors and a grocery store, the residents will need.
His colleagues agreed to give direction to the county’s planning department to prepare a scope of services for a consultant to develop a “non-binding” concept plan for the area.
During that portion of the meeting, County Administrator Dan Biles typically announces achievements of county staff and updates the board on various issues.
Published August 25, 2021