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City residents won't feel cost of impact fee

The measure to fund construction of new schools, if approved, will add about $1,700 to the average cost of building a single-family home.

By JENNIFER GOLDBLATT

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 17, 2001


NEW PORT RICHEY -- New Port Richey's City Council managed a way Tuesday night to support the school impact fee while ensuring that its residents won't have to pay for it.

The impact fee, which could bring about $4-million annually to build new schools, would add about $1,700 to the cost of building the average single-family home. Port Richey, Dade City, Zephyrhills, San Antonio and Saint Leo have also expressed their support for the fee. John Long, superintendent of schools, has said that in order for the fee to withstand any court challenges, all of Pasco's incorporated cities must support it.

New Port Richey on Tuesday night agreed to do that by repealing its earlier ordinance that exempted the city from the fee. However, the city's Community Redevelopment Area remains exempt from the impact fee. And later Tuesday night, the council moved to expand the Community Redevelopment Area to include the entire city.

The council will give the ordinance a second reading at its meeting Feb. 6.

Also Tuesday night, the city approved a $2.25-million bid from Christiano Construction of Clearwater to build the new police station on Washington Street. The plan for the 15,000-square-foot facility has been on the drawing board for more than 5 years. It would include new holding cells, training rooms, lockers and showers for both sexes and a more secure lobby area. The bid is $200,000 more than the architect originally estimated because the project increased in size.

The city budgeted $1.99-million to spend on the project during the 2000-2001 fiscal year. With furniture and fixtures, the total project would cost about $2.76-million. So far, $405,000 has been spent on design, land acquisition and appraisals, which has been paid for by proceeds from bonds which were issued by the city early last year.

The city will end up with a shortfall of about $450,000. It can make that up with proceeds from selling surplus property or taking on additional debt.

The city needs to make a decision on how to finance it by September so that it can be considered in the 2001-2002 fiscal process. If the new construction gets under way next month as anticipated, the city would occupy it in January 2002, and the city would have to pay the contractor then.

In other council news:

The council voted to hire Tampa Bay Engineering to produce the new redevelopment plan, which would cost about $73,472.

The council voted to renew the contract with City Attorney Thomas Morrison. The contract, identical to the one the council approved last year, provides for paying Morrison $110 per hour with a minimum retainer of $2,750 per month, and maximum retainer of $5,000 without prior City Council approval. Morrison would receive additional compensation whenever he was asked to represent the city in any litigation.

The council voted to declare property it owns on Riverview Drive to be declared surplus so that the city can sell it. The residents who live in the lots on either side of the city-owned property have both said that they are interested in buying the property. The city acquired the property as part of the adjacent mobile home park many years ago.

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