New Port Richey launches a 38-street, $1.4-million repaving program for 2001. Public hearings are planned.
By MATTHEW WAITE
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 24, 2000
NEW PORT RICHEY -- Gladys Brown knows about the pothole in Idlewild Street near her home, but it's small, really.
"I don't think the whole street needs to be repaved," she said Wednesday evening.
But that might just happen.
The City Council took the first step Tuesday night in a 38-street, $1.4-million repaving program for 2001 that would resurface the streets in the Tanglewood Terrace subdivision, parts of the Floral Park addition and several other streets in the city, including Idlewild Street. Council members started the street project Tuesday by declaring intent to repave the streets and pay for it by a special assessment on the property owners who would benefit. The declaration is part of the state-mandated steps they have to go through.
But what's left to be decided is exactly who's paying for it, and how much.
"In two weeks, you'll have good numbers," City Manager Gerald Seeber said Wednesday.
A reporter's call was the first Brown said he had heard of the repaving project and the special assessment.
"How can they do that?" she asked.
The city is working on a list of homeowners along the streets to be repaved. The costs will be divided equally for each property.
Some of the streets date from the 1970s and have never been repaved, Seeber said.
"The streets are beyond their useful life and need attention," Seeber said.
In a memo to council members, Seeber said the city has used the equal portions method instead of the amount of property that lines the street to make special assessments because it eliminates a step in the process. By using the equal portions method, the city doesn't have to convene an equalization board.
And council members said they believed billing everyone along the streets equally was fair.
"I think this is the more equitable way to assess this," council member Tom Finn said.
On Dec. 5, the city will send notices to affected homeowners, telling them what the city plans to do and how much they could be in for. Public hearings will give affected homeowners a chance to speak about the special assessment.
In the past, the city has added tax money toward projects to drive down the cost for each homeowner, Seeber said. Plus, the costs were divided up over 10 years, with a 7 percent interest rate.
Seeber said the first of a series of public hearings on the repaving and the special assessments will be held at the end of January.
The Tanglewood Terrace area has been getting a lot of attention from the council lately. The city is trying to get grants to pay for a reclaimed-water line through the subdivision.
Seeber said the attention is part of the council's plans to revitalize neighborhoods.
In other council business:
The City Council approved a new contract with police officers, giving them a 3 percent pay raise in October and 1 percent in April. The contract also gives officers an additional 15 minutes of pay per workday for the mandatory roll-call briefing.
The council also gave approval for the city attorney to seek a judge's order allowing the city's code enforcement officers to go into an abandoned house at 5830 Ohio St.
City workers went to the house last week and cleaned out truckloads of trash from the back yard that a previous tenant had tossed.
The city has billed Bank of America, which recently foreclosed on the house. The city will give the bank 10 days to clean the inside of the house or it will seek a judge's order to go inside, clean it and bill the bank.
Neighbors have complained about the house attracting rats and causing a health and safety problem.
High Street, from Madison Street to Shadow Lane
First through Sixth avenues E
Palmetto Road from Jasmine Drive to Mandy Lane
Indiana Avenue from Grand Boulevard west to the dead end
Mount Vernon Street between Indiana and Virginia avenues
-- Staff writer Matthew Waite can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6247 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6247. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.