New Port Richey, FL – Seven candidates have qualified to run for two open seats on New Port Richey’s city council. The election date is Tuesday, April 10. NewsPortRichey reached out to all seven candidates to feature an early profile on each to help you decide as the election approaches.
Two seats are open in this election, and both incumbents must vacate their seat. The top two vote earners from the candidates will win a seat. Voters may vote for up to two candidates. Voters must reside within the corporate limits of New Port Richey (illustrated here by the red line), and must bring proof of residency to the polls.
Voting will take place at the New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center at 6630 Van Buren Street between the hours of 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM. Voting is also available by mail. Interested voters can request a Vote By Mail ballot through the Supervisor of Election’s office. There, citizens can also check on their voting eligibility.
Brian E. Corley, Pasco’s Supervisor of Elections, announced the nearly 5,000 vote-by-mail ballot requests currently on file for the April 10, 2018 Municipal Elections will be mailed on March 6, 2018. There is still plenty of time to request a vote-by-mail ballot by calling 800-851-8754, or request one online at www.pascovotes.com. Voter turnout will be posted daily on www.pascovotes.com as vote-by-mail ballots are returned. To be counted, vote-by-mail ballots must be returned to the elections’ office by mail or hand delivery by 7:00 p.m. election day. Mail ballots may also be returned to city halls, but may not be turned in at the polls. Voters can check the status of their vote-by-mail ballot at http://www.pascovotes.com/
Voters who wish to vote in person before Election Day may vote at City Halls beginning Friday, March 9, 2018. As always, election results will be posted on-line at www.pascovotes.com beginning 7:00 p.m. Election Day.
Read or click below for a brief biography, contact information, and platform statements asked of each candidate by NewsPortRichey.
The qualified candidates are:
Peter Altman, 60, is a former New Port Richey City Councilman, New Port Richey Mayor, and Pasco County Commissioner, overall serving 12 years in public office. He has also served as New Port Richey’s Finance Director and helped to overhaul the city’s street lighting and water meter systems. He currently works in downtown New Port Richey at the accounting offices of Matthew Potter. Altman has a large extended family whom he has shared with his wife, Barbara, who recently passed from ALS. “I am running for city council because of my desire to support the positive momentum that is occurring in the City I love,” Altman said, “I want to foster a cooperative spirit with Pasco County to the mutual economic benefit of our residents and business owners… and improve our quality of life through improved delivery of public services.”
Mr. Altman can be reached via e-mail at paltman1987[at]gmail.com or by phone at 727-237-8842.
Marilynn deChant, 67, previously served on New Port Richey’s city council from 2005-2009.Prior to that she was also the first executive director of the downtown Main Street program, helping the city win the coveted Florida Main Street designation from the State of Florida in 1990. She was Executive Director of what is now the New Port Richey Main Street program from 1987 to 1997 as executive director. She is a member of two chambers of commerce, the West Pasco Historical Society, and is a 25-year member of the New Port Richey Rotary Club.
“My platform will focus on ways to revitalize the city’s neighborhoods and address the ratio of residential and rental housing,” deChant said, “I’m also concerned about the state legislature’s attack on Community Redevelopment Agencies throughout Florida. New Port Richey has had a CRA since 1989, and we don’t want to lose that.”
Ms. deChant and her husband, Dell deChant, a Master Instructor at USF, have lived in New Port Richey for 36 years.
Ms. deChant can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joan Nelson Hook is a prominent New Port Richey lawyer who has operated her practice on Floramar Terrace for 25 years. A widow, she lives in a house on the Pithlachascotee River. Hook says her campaign focuses on an overcrowded library, concerns regarding the difficulty in getting a permit, parking and traffic downtown, and crumbling sidewalks and streets.
Matt Murphy, 47, grew up in New Port Richey and owns Farrell Power, an electrical contracting business. “I want to make sure we take the right steps in [New Port Richey]’s progress to ensure a great place for our families to live,” Murphy said, “to have a robust economy in our downtown and preserve our natural beauty and cultural heritage.” Murphy’s wife, Amanda Murphy, is a former Florida State Representative.
Mr. Murphy can be reached via e-mail at simplymurphy[at]gmail.com or by phone at 727-514-6577.
Rob Oman was born in Minneapolis, Mn but has lived in Central Florida since 1990 and thinks of himself as a “Florida Boy.” Mr. Oman manages a natural pest control company that provides service from Orlando to Sarasota. Mr. Oman has lived in New Port Richey for 7 years.
I’d like to promote home ownership by utilizing a smart growth economic plan that takes advantage of the assets the city currently has. One thing that would surely attract homeowners is connecting our amazing parks with walking/biking trails. Lastly id like to work on exorbitant amount of regulation that makes it difficult to live in New Port Richey.
“The biggest thing I’d like seen done by the city is an effort to be on 100% renewable energy by 2050,” Oman said, “The money saved from creating our own power can then be reinvested into our crumbling roads without having to use city wide assessments to pay for them. We are the sunshine state and we should take advantage of it.”
Oman previously ran unsuccessfully for city council in 2016.
Linda Rice, 56, worked at Moffitt Cancer Center as a Registered Nurse for more than 20 years before retiring. Her husband, Scott, works as a Respiratory Therapist. Rice has two children and one grandson. Rice and her husband moved to Florida in 1988 and bought a home on the Pithlachascotee River in 2013. She is originally from Endwell, New York. Rice says that she is running for council because she has seen neighbors destroying mangroves along the river since 2016 and is frustrated by the city’s lack of enforcement.
Mrs. Rice can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 727-514-6577.
Bob Smallwood, 61, is a commercial real estate agent and electrical engineer currently working with F.I. Grey & Sons. Smallwood grew up in Safety Harbor, attending Dunedin High School and USF. He later earned an MBA from the Florida Institute of Technology. He has worked on multimillion dollar contracts with organizations such as Lockheed Martin, Hewlett Packard and NASA. Smallwood and his wife moved to New Port Richey in 2005. He is currently a member of the NPR Land Development Review Board, the NPR Main Street Program board (of which he has also been chairman), and is a member of the Bayou Business Association Board. He has also served as Flotilla Commander in the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Mr. Smallwood says he would like to focus his platform on economic development in New Port Richey and wants the City to attract new industries with higher paying jobs. “The downtown district, the US19 corridor and the community hospital site are all areas that need attention,” Smallwood said, “and housing inventory and delinquent properties need fresh ideas for positive change. Our property tax remains one of the highest in the state which is hindering new investment.”
Mr. Smallwood can be reached via e-mail at smallwood.bob[at]gmail.com, or by phone at 727-267-5863.
NewsPortRichey will continue to cover this spring’s election and will offer follow up articles with the candidates. Have a question for the candidates? Send us an e-mail at jrtietz[at]gmail.com, or reach and follow us on Twitter at @NewsPortRichey. You can also like us on Facebook for the latest news, and don’t forget to sign up for our Daily Headlines e-mail! Do that in the sidebar to the right!