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Council voting to annex City Hall

The council's temporary meeting place is in unincorporated Pasco. Council members will vote to annex the property tonight.

By MATTHEW WAITE

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 13, 2000


PORT RICHEY -- Since mid-March, Port Richey residents wanting to go to their local City Hall had to actually leave the city.

With a new City Hall on the horizon, government in the Little City by the River had to be moved. Mayor Eileen Ferdinand said when they started looking for a temporary home, there weren't any places in Port Richey for them to go.

"It was just a practical thing that we had to do to relocate," she said.

For the past few months, city business has been done in a strip mall in unincorporated Pasco County, a stone's throw from city limits.

So instead of bringing City Hall to the city, the Port Richey City Council will vote tonight on whether to bring the city to city hall.

The owner of the Custom Commerce Plaza, Sam Hachem, petitioned the city last week to annex his plaza, and the Planning and Zoning Board voted unanimously to make it a part of Port Richey. Now it's up to the council to decide whether they want to annex the plaza.

Ferdinand said the annexation, plus another annexation vote before the council tonight, are the first of several that could be coming to the council. She said several property owners next to Port Richey have asked about annexation.

"We're growing," she said.

The council signed a lease in early March for the two store fronts in the shopping plaza and then moved local government a few weeks later.

The plan is for City Hall to be in the shopping center until next August, when the new city hall is predicted to be finished on the site of the city's water plant, farther west on Ridge Road.

The first go at a floor plan for the new city hall is on display at the temporary City Hall now. The plans show a 17,766-square-foot City Hall, as well as a 7,350-square-foot multipurpose building, and the council has approved a measure to get a $1.7-million loan for the building.

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.

Also tonight the council will discuss two ordinances promised by Vice Mayor Bob Leggiere. The ordinances make it easier for homeowners and city officials to remove signs from public right of ways and set civil penalties for people who let trash pile up around trash bins and homes.

- Staff writer Matthew Waite can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6247 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6247. His e-mail address is waite@sptimes.com.

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