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Port Richey tightens limits on residents' daily water use

Unlike the county's, the city's water use rules will be stricter on uses such as car washes. Fines, on the other hand, will be more lenient.

By MATTHEW WAITE

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 14, 2000


PORT RICHEY -- Like county residents before them, Port Richey's residents now can only water their lawns once a week. And forget washing a car in the driveway.

The Port Richey City Council passed emergency water restrictions at Wednesday night's council meeting that are largely based on the county's restrictions passed nearly a month ago. However, Port Richey isn't allowing car washes at home, unlike the county, which on Wednesday decided to permit low-volume car washes in the driveway using a bucket and hose with an automatic shut-off sprayer.

Under the Port Richey restrictions, residents of houses with even numbers can water their lawns on Tuesdays; odd numbers on Sundays. And on those days, residents can't water between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Those using reclaimed water for irrigation are exempt.

Port Richey residents no longer can wash their cars at home -- commercial car washes are exempt -- or flush their driveways under the restrictions. New lawns are exempt from the watering restrictions for the first 30 days after they are planted.

Port Richey's fines differ from the county's. City residents face a $35 fine for the first offense, identical to the county. But in Port Richey subsequent offenses will cost $155. Second offenses in the county cost violators $500.

Council members had a phrase inserted into the ordinance that allows boaters to flush saltwater from their outboard motors.

The ordinance passed 4-0, with council member Ann Lennon absent.

In other council business, members got to see the floor plan of the new City Hall for the first time.

City Manager Vince Lupo said the floor plans for the 17,766-square-foot City Hall, as well as a 7,350-square-foot multipurpose building, were a good first try at a final plan.

The new City Hall will house the police department as well as city staff. It also will serve as a shelter for as many as 300 people during a hurricane or other emergency, Lupo said.

Council members also approved a resolution that clears the way for the city to get a $1.7-million loan for construction of the new building.

Lupo also announced that he was devising a system for council members to review the job performance of the city manager and city attorney. Council members verbally agreed that evaluations of Lupo and Paul Marino would be in June, before the city budget was considered.

Wednesday's meeting was the last for Lennon and council member Ron Barnett. Lennon was absent, and Barnett thanked the council and city staff for the past four years he served. He made the motion to adjourn his last meeting.

Incoming council members Tom Brown and Joe Menicola, as well as incumbent Pat Guttman, will be sworn in on Monday.

- Matthew Waite covers the city of Port Richey. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6247 or (800) 333-7505, extension 6247. His e-mail address is waite@sptimes.com.

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