Archived Blogs & Articles

Posted: 6/3/2015
Legislature rescinds requirement for Children's Board funding referendum
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Letter from Kelley Parris, director of the Children's Board of Hillsborough County:

Dear Partners and Advocates,

I have said many times that families in Hillsborough County are fortunate to live in a community that cares deeply about the health and welfare of our children. Recently, Senate Bill 7078 the Child Welfare bill that addresses the Critical Incident Rapid Response Teams, passed both Houses of the Legislature on May 7, 2015; the Governor signed the bill May 21, 2015. Contained in that bill was a provision to rescind the requirement for the Children's Board of Hillsborough County to go out for referendum in 2016. Accountability measures remain in place with the Board of County Commissioners and the Legislative Delegation retaining the authority to call for a referendum of the people at any time; nonetheless keeping the decision local.

This is wonderful news for the stability of services to children and families of Hillsborough County. We owe a great deal of thanks to the Friends of The Children's Board, the Board itself, and the Legislative Delegation.

Thank you for all of your support over the last two years of my tenure; the outreach and education was not wasted on the individuals in need of support. Our partner agencies saw utilization rates for services rise 37% between 2013 and 2014!

The Children's Board will continue to do the great work that the citizens of Hillsborough County have entrusted us to do as well as support outreach efforts to ensure children and families are provided the services they need to make Hillsborough County the greatest place in the nation to raise children.

Thank you again for your continued support.

My best,

Posted: 5/11/2015
Solid Waste Trucks to be on Streets Longer; Call Center Hours Extended

Hillsborough County Solid Waste customers can expect to see garbage trucks and recycling trucks on neighborhood streets as late as 8 p.m. on collection days as drivers get accustomed to changes in routes and service.

Also, the Public Utilities Department’s Solid Waste customer service center has extended its hours to answer phone calls, as have the three collection companies.
Changes to collection service for garbage, recyclables and yard waste in the County’s Solid Waste service area went into effect Monday. Drivers are adjusting to new routes, new collection days, different vehicles and the new automated collection process.
Residents can help drivers stay on schedule by using their County-provided roll carts correctly. At the curb, place the carts at least 3 feet away from other carts, yard waste piles, mailboxes, cars, trees, shrubs, fire hydrants and utility poles. Don’t block the carts with vehicles parked along the street or in the driveway. Place all items to be collected in the carts.

To report a missed pickup or other collection issues, residents should contact their service provider directly, or call the Solid Waste customer service center at 813-272-5680. The County’s call center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Residents are also reminded that if they can’t find a use for their old trash cans and recycling bins, put these in the GRAY garbage carts for collection, or take them to one of the County’s four Community Collection Centers.
For more information or questions about the new collection service, including a link to find the collection schedule and service provider information for a specific address, visit

Posted: 5/7/2015
U.S. Ranks Worst Developed Country for Maternal Health

A woman in the United States faces a one in 1,800 risk of maternal death, according to an annual report by the charity Save the Children, the worst of any developed country in the world. What’s more, they’re more than 10 times as likely to die from a cause related to pregnancy as those in Belarus, Poland and Austria.

The State of the World’s Mothers 2015 report, a global index that ranks the best and worst places to be a mother based on the latest available data on indicators like political status, economics, education, children’s well-being and maternal health, ranks the U.S. at No. 33 of 179 surveyed countries—down two spots from last year.

The U.S. ranked No. 42 on children’s well-being, No. 61 on maternal health and No. 89 for political status—or the participation of women in national government. Among the other statistics, the report finds that an American child under the age of 5 is nearly just as likely to die (6.9 per 1,000 live births) as one in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovakia or Macedonia.

Of the 25 capital cities of wealthy countries surveyed, the report finds Washington, D.C., had the highest rate of infant mortality (7.9 deaths per 1,000 live births as of 2012). In comparison, cities like Stockholm and Oslo had rates below 2.0. Washington’s rate fell in 2013, to 6.6, but a number of major American cities have had rates much higher. In 2011, Detroit’s rate was reported at 12.4, and in Cleveland, it was 14.1.

Read the story in Time »

Posted: 5/4/2015
Annual Hillsborough County Neighborhoods Conference on May 9

Free workshops offer valuable information to foster safe, sustainable neighborhoods

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – Confused by how the transfer from developer to owner is done? Curious about homeowner associations, grant writing, or new home improvement products?

Get your questions answered by attending the 12th Annual Neighborhoods Conference on Saturday, May 9 from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Sheraton East Tampa Hotel, at 10221 Princess Palm Ave. in Tampa. Admission is free and includes: continental breakfast, awards luncheon, tote bag, access to all exhibits and more than 18 valuable workshops. Pre-registration is recommended and available online or you may register on site the day of the event, however desired workshops may be closed due to pre-registered attendees.

Workshops include:
• What Do We Do Now? Developer Turn-over
• Permission GRANTed
• 411 on Taxing Districts
• Effecting Change in Three Minutes
• Take Heart - Citizen CPR

The goal of the annual Neighborhoods Conference is to provide tools and training to help residents of Hillsborough County and surrounding cities make their neighborhoods attractive, friendlier, safe, and more sustainable. The event concludes with a networking luncheon and the Neighborhood Recognition Awards presentation at 1 p.m.

For more information or to register for the 12th Annual Neighborhood Relations Conference, call the Office of Neighborhood Relations at (813) 272-5860 or visit online (link below).

To learn more about becoming a sponsor or an exhibitor for this conference visit the link below or contact Kizuwanda Agee at (813) 612-7751.

More information and online registration »


AleshiaJones,Communications & Digital Media,Hillsborough County,
phone:(813) 274-6787.

Posted: 5/4/2015
2015 Tampa Bay Hurricane Expo encourages Bay area residents to “Be Ready”
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What: 2015 Tampa Bay Hurricane Expo
When: Saturday, May 30, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: MOSI, 4801 E. Fowler Ave. in Tampa

The City of Tampa and Hillsborough County, in partnership with MOSI, will host the 2015 Tampa Bay Hurricane Expo from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 30, at the Museum of Science & Industry. Admission to the Tampa Bay Hurricane Expo is FREE, and will include access to MOSI's exhibit galleries. In addition, Tampa Bay Hurricane Expo guests can enjoy one documentary film in the Florida Hospital IMAX® DOME Theatre for only $4 per person (children under 2 admitted FREE).

At the EXPO, attendees will learn what to do before, during and after a storm. Residents will learn the importance of having a solid disaster plan in place well in advance so that they can quickly recover after a storm. Additionally, MOSI's S.T.E.A.M.punks will provide science demonstrations and activities, while the adults enjoy a variety of speakers and vendors. Attendees also will have the chance to win one of two Kindle Fire HDs.

The Tampa Bay Hurricane Expo attendees will be able to attend question-and-answer weather panels, held at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., to hear from meteorologists representing local news stations and the National Weather Service. Additionally, a public safety panel will be held at noon and a cybersecurity panel will be held at 2 p.m. Additional sessions on pet care and preparation techniques will also take place throughout the day.

For more information and the latest news on the Tampa Bay Hurricane Expo or to become a vendor/sponsor, visit the link below.

More information »

Posted: 4/13/2015
New projects will improve fire protection in East Lake

Public Meeting to Discuss Projects in Herchel Heights That Will Provide Fire Protection Improvements

The Hillsborough County Public Utilities Department has scheduled a public meeting on Jan. 27 to discuss two projects that will provide better fire flow protection and more reliable water service for residents in the Herchel Heights neighborhood.

The $950,000 Herchel Heights Fire Protection Improvement Project will construct 15,500 feet of new 6-inch water pipeline, install 33 additional fire hydrants and upsize water mains that supply fire hydrants where required. The targeted area for this project is generally located north of Roberta Lane, east of Whittier Street, south of the Hillsborough River and west of 56th Street. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2014 and completed within 150 days.

The $400,000 Herchel Heights - City of Tampa Interconnects project will construct 1,050 feet of new 6-inch water pipeline and install two City of Tampa master meter assemblies and backflow preventers, providing additional water interconnections between Hillsborough County’s and the City of Tampa’s water distribution systems. Three new fire hydrants will also be installed. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2014 and last approximately 90 days.

The Herchel Heights Fire Protection Improvement Project is part of a multiyear program to improve fire protection in older neighborhoods which don’t have enough fire hydrants by today’s development codes. The Herchel Heights - City of Tampa Interconnects project is part of the Countywide Potable Water Main/Distribution Lines Renewal and Replacement Project, a long-term program to improve water quality by providing additional interconnections with existing water mains. Both programs are funded through the Water Enterprise’s Capital Improvement Program.

County staff will be at the meeting to talk about the project and answer questions from residents.

DATE: Monday, Jan. 27
TIME: 6:30 p.m.
PLACE: All People’s Life Center
6105 E. Sligh Avenue
For more information about these projects, visit the Herchel Heights Fire Protection Improvement Project and Herchel Heights – City of Tampa Interconnects pages on the County’s website. Visit and click on the Water & Sewer Projects link.

All meeting facilities are accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additional necessary accommodations will be provided with a 48-hour notice.

For more information, call Steve Valdez, Citizen Services Manager, 813-272-5275. TTY: 301-7173

Prensa: Para información, llamar al 813-272-5314.


SteveValdez,Citizen Services ManagerHillsborough County

Posted: 4/13/2015
Public meeting to discuss Fletcher Avenue project July 31st

The Hillsborough County Public Works Department has scheduled a public meeting on Wednesday, July 31, to discuss the Fletcher Avenue "Complete Streets" project. The project will help improve pedestrian and bicycle safety and is a 3.1 mile segment that spans from Nebraska Avenue to 50th Street.

The proposed improvements include pedestrian refuge islands, mid-block pedestrian crossings, bicycle lanes, and resurfacing of the existing pavement. A sidewalk is proposed for the south side of Fletcher between Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and 50th Street.

The estimated construction cost is $4.4 million including $2.5 million in federal funds being provided by the Florida Department of Transportation through safety grants. Construction is expected to begin in August and be completed within approximately one year.

County staff will be at the meeting on July 31 to talk about the project and answer questions from residents.

Date: Wednesday, July 31 Time: 6:30 p.m. Place: University Area Community Development Center 14013 N. 22nd St., Tampa

All meeting facilities are accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any additional necessary accommodations will be provided with a 48-hour notice.

For more information, call Steve Valdez, Citizen Services Manager, 813-272-5275.
> TTY: 301-7173. Para información, llamar al 813-272-5314.

For more information about the project, visit the Fletcher Ave Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety project page on the Hillsborough County website.

Posted: 4/13/2015
Apply Now For 2015 Hillsborough County Neighborhood Mini-Grants
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Neighborhoods may now apply for mini-grants up to $2,500 to fund projects to improve their communities and increase civic involvement. The purpose of the grant program is to strengthen neighborhoods, associations and the communities they serve. Applications should demonstrate community support in the application and implementation phases of proposed projects or programs. Hillsborough County's Office of Neighborhood Relations is accepting applications through Friday, August 8 at 5 p.m.

Mini-grants are available to fund a variety of community projects in both unincorporated areas of the County and the cities of Plant City, Tampa, and Temple Terrace. Another type of grant is available year-round for tree-planting, low-flow irrigation and clean-up projects in neighborhoods in unincorporated Hillsborough County. Previous grant-funded projects include shrub and flower planting, subdivision entrance signs, playground equipment, neighborhood festivals, crime watch programs, websites, newsletters and education activities.

Applications will be reviewed by the Neighborhood Mini-Grant Evaluation Committee and approved by the Board of County Commissioners. Only one grant will be awarded per neighborhood. Recipients will be notified by November 30.

Neighborhood interested in applying for a mini-grant must view an online orientation training video that explains the application process, grant criteria and qualifying projects before applying. The video and application are accessible at the link below.

Completed applications may dropped off or mailed to Office of Neighborhood Relations, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., 21st Floor, Tampa, FL 33602, e-mailed to Wanda Sloan at or faxed to 813-276-2621.

The Mini-Grant Program was established in 1988 by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners to improve and revitalize communities and strengthen neighborhood associations.

For more information, call ONR at 813-272-5860 or visit the link below.

Posted: 4/6/2015
Register now for “Women of Sulphur Springs Empowerment Summit”

The Children’s Board is empowering the women of Sulphur Springs through the development of strategies and initiatives to improve their lives economically and identify educational, training, and career opportunities to strengthen community bonds. To register, visit the link below or call Veronica Blanco at (813) 204-1760. Questions? Call (813) 443-5004.

What: Empowerment Summit for the Women of Sulphur Springs
When: August 23, 2014, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (sign-in begins at 9:30 a.m.)
Where: Springhill Park and Community Center, 1000 Eskimo Avenue

Lunch provided — Childcare provided on request

Posted: 3/27/2015
Hillsborough governments building sea-level rise into development plans

By Christopher O'Donnell

TAMPA – More Florida cities and communities are taking the first steps to prepare for climate change and, especially, sea-level rise.

That includes Hillsborough County, where the City-County Planning Commission is pushing for the county and its three cities — Tampa, Temple Terrance and Plant City — to add climate change this year to their comprehensive plans, which the communities use as a blueprint for future growth.

The proposed language sidesteps the term “climate change” and instead states that the four communities will develop policies and identify issues related to “climate adaptation.”

Still, the move would provide a legal foundation for the communities to begin drafting more specific land regulations to mitigate the effect of sea-level rise.

“Previously there has not yet even been a mention of climate issues in the comprehensive plan,” said Shawn College, leader of the planning commission’s environmental planning and research team. “This enables the cities and county to follow through with whatever they deem right now.”

Those measures could include relocating crucial infrastructure like pumping stations out of flood prone areas and regulations governing the elevation of future coastal construction.

Florida’s vulnerability to hurricanes and storm surge has already served as a rehearsal for sea-level rise. Some low-lying shoreline is designated as coastal high-hazard areas where developers are usually required to use fill to raise the ground floor of any new construction.

“The problem we have now is these flood level maps are the flood levels today not 50, 100 years from now,” College said. Modern sea level rise began in the 20th Century and has accelerated since then, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The most pessimistic estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, set up by the United Nations and the World Metrological Organization, predict sea level will rise two feet by 2100.

But the effects are likely to be felt much sooner than that.

Continued on »

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