Port Richey won't be dissolved anytime soon after officials postpone decision

Port Richey's days may not be numbered after all.

On Friday, city residents had the chance to weigh in, once again, on the latest challenge to their city's existence. The morning meeting took place among the Pasco County Legislative Delegation -- but within the hour, officials voted to table the issue of whether to dissolve the city.

State Representative Amber Mariano and state senator Ed Hooper proposed a plan September 30 to dissolve the city and allow Pasco County to take over government duties. The lawmakers said Port Richey leaders have proven they can't be trusted. 

In February, former Port Richey mayor Dale Massad was accused of illegally running a medical practice from his home, then firing on deputies who'd arrived at his house to serve a warrant 

A month later, Massad's replacement, Terrance Rowe, was also arrested. He's accused of conspiring with Massad over a recorded jailhouse line to tamper with a key witness in the case 

That's when Mariano said she began looking into a total overhaul. 

However, close to 100 residents showed up, angered over the proposal, and those lawmakers heard the message loud and clear. The majority of the people in the crowd said the city turned the corner with a new mayor and a balanced budget. 

Opponents said the move would have meant about 60 people employed by the city would be out of a job. Beyond that, they also said the move would be a mistake because they worry that emergency response times would increase if Port Richey is forced to give up its own fire and police forces.