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BOCC Drops Ax on Westchase Road Repaving Hopes

In a Dec. 16 decision the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) allocated surplus funds in a way that makes it unlikely any part of Westchase will see its roads repaved soon.

The decision, occurring after deadline for January’s WOW, marked a disappointing turn for a concerted Westchase effort that began at the beginning of 2015 with a road repaving petition. That effort, led by Government Affairs Committee Chair Joe Odda and Radcliffe VM Eric Holt saw over 900 Westchase residents sign a petition to the BOCC calling for the repaving of aging Westchase roads. When it was delivered in March 2015, Commissioner Sandra Murman expressed hope and confidence some headway would be made on the matter by year’s end.

An opportunity for additional funding for road repaving appeared in December when the county identified $8 million in surplus funds. According to Odda, efforts to both divide the sum into $2 million per BOCC district and prioritize Westchase in repaving, however, were rebuffed in two separate decisions. Commissioners Kevin Beckner, Ken Hagan, Al Higginbotham and Les Miller opposed the division by district and Commissioners Murman, Stacy White and Victor Crist in favor.

The majority instead supported keeping the $8 million in funds intact. The same BOCC majority also supported using the funds to repave roads identified as being in the worst condition on the staff’s current priority list. At the January Westchase Voting Members (VMs) Meeting, Westchase Community Association President Joaquin Arrillaga reported that despite the WCA’s efforts, Hillsborough County currently believes that Westchase’s roads, while having aesthetic issues, are largely sound.

In a memo to Westchase Voting Members, Odda stated, "Westchase has thus, unexpectedly, been placed at a lower level of priority and it is uncertain when funding and resources will be available to do any repaving." 

Asked for comment, Odd stated to WOW, “Combined with present funding limitations, that could mean no resurfacing until as long as four years from now.” Odda added, “We all share disappointment over the vote outcome.”

Odda, however, concluded saying, “ thank those in Westchase who have helped our efforts in so many ways, and for the support I know they will give as we move ahead.”

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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