Port Richey staying: Lawmakers nix plan to dissolve city

Pasco County

PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) – Port Richey has had more than its share of bad publicity lately with not one, but two mayors arrested on criminal charges.

But a plan to dissolve the city stirred up a hornet’s nest of angry residents and on Friday, they faced off with state legislators to stop the plan.

A group of residents showed up wearing blue to give Rep. Amber Mariano (R-Port Richey) the blues about her plan to do away with their city. Mariano had proposed the legislature fold the city into the county.

“Just seeing how these residents have dealt with headache after headache,” Mariano explained.

The problems include the arrest of not one but two former mayors. But at Friday’s meeting, Mariano and others in the Pasco Legislative Delegation shifted the entire plan.

They now want a legislature to audit the city’s finances and then possibly put the matter to a referendum and let voters decide.

“This is just the first step of the process and now we want to make sure we are really digging in deep and looking at the numbers in the city and making sure the performance match up with what they’re saying,”  Mariano said.

Port Richey’s newly-elected mayor and city manager told News Channel 8 they’re good with that plan.

“The city runs well. We’re financially stable,” Mayor Scott Tremblay said.

“It will give the voting public, if you will, a better idea of whether they want to dissolve the city based on how the finances look,” added City Manager Vince Lupo. “They want to do a performance audit which we welcome because we don’t have any problems. We have a $12.3 million budget and  our total indebtedness is less than 2.5 million.”

According to Mariano, the audit could take eight to 12 months.

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