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Council to weigh in on street plans
New Port Richey will consider whether to continue splitting the cost.
By JODIE TILLMAN, Times Staff Writer
Published January 15, 2008
Street assessments are necessary, says council member Robert Consalvo.
NEW PORT RICHEY - This year the city plans to spend at least $900,000 to repave 30 streets, from Marine Parkway to River Road.
The question for the City Council tonight is: Should the city and benefiting property owners continue to share the price tag for such improvements?
For years, the city has split the costs of street improvements with people who own property along that street. By contrast, county residents pay the full cost for residential street improvements.
But some critics have said local government should foot more, if not all, of the bill because all drivers benefit from the improvements. This is especially true in New Port Richey, where residents are often averse to paying additional fees on top of their city property tax bill.
"I, like everybody else, hate them," council member Bob Consalvo said of street assessments. "But if you don't do them, there's not enough money to do everything else you want."
Finance Director Rick Snyder said administrators want to continue with the current policy of splitting the costs.
But officials wanted to make sure the council supports that policy, too, before getting started on putting plans together for the 2008 improvements.
In its 2007-08 budget, the city anticipates $900,000 worth of street work, though Snyder said the cost could end up higher.
Sections of 30 city streets are scheduled to get resurfaced or rebuilt, including High Street, Bellview Avenue and Charles Street.
In other news, officials recently learned they will get a grant to pay for half of a $2.3-million reclaimed water project in the North River Road neighborhood. The grant will come from the Southwest Florida Water Management District, commonly known as Swiftmud.
"There's widespread desire on behalf of that neighborhood to get it (reclaimed water)," Acting City Manager Tom O'Neill said.
Reclaimed water is highly treated wastewater that can be used for irrigation, saving potable water.The grant requires that at least half of the 480 customers in the neighborhood commit to using reclaimed water before construction begins. Hookup fees will cost about $150.
The city's other neighborhoods with reclaimed water, such as Woodridge Estates, pay a flat monthly rate of about $10, said O'Neill. But as a condition of the grant, Swiftmud is requiring the city change its policy and charge residents based on the amount of reclaimed water they use.