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Port Richey in danger of losing status as a city, could be absorbed by Pasco County

Posted at 5:18 PM, Oct 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-01 17:53:59-04

PORT RICHEY, Fla. — Angel Nally says outsiders should not be able to decide Port Richey’s future.

“It’s friendly. It’s old Florida. It’s our small town. We love it and we want to keep it that way. They are in essence making a decision for us without our voice involved,” Nally says.

People who live here and city employees say they are worried after State Representative Amber Mariano and State Senator Ed Hooper announced intent to file legislation dissolving the city’s government.

Services including police, fire rescue, and utilities would all be taken over by Pasco County.

This comes after Port Richey made national news with the arrest of former Mayor Dale Massad, and his replacement.

Jury finds ex-mayor Dale Massad guilty of obstructing justice

RELATED: Jury finds ex-mayor Dale Massad guilty of obstructing justice

But Mariano says the city’s been plagued by years of corruption.

“It’s been in the news too many times and it’s not good for the area,” Mariano said.

And becoming unincorporated would lead to lower taxes and better services.

RELATED: Florida lawmakers announce plans to dissolve Port Richey

Port Richey leaders say the troubled city has survived two past referendums to keep its government, and the recent scandal only shows the resolve to make things better.

“We’ve had an election. We have a mayor. We have two new council people. We have a cohesive council. Our financials are absolutely phenomenal," said City Manager Vince Lupo.

“Our citizens love our city. They love our police department and they love the fire department and everything they get out of being the City of Port Richey," said current mayor Scott Tremblay.

Mariano says she’s willing to talk with people in Port Richey about the future. And the legislation would have to still go through a long process in Tallahassee before passing.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held during the Pasco County legislative delegation meeting scheduled for 8 a.m. on Oct. 11.

The meeting will be at the performing arts center at Pasco-Hernando State College’s New Port Richey campus.