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Pasco to focus on future challenges from sea-level rise to next pandemic

A new department will coordinate efforts to snag funding available to avert threats on the horizon.

With Pasco County hugging the Gulf of Mexico, officials and residents have always known they are vulnerable. But hurricanes and sea-level rise are not the only potential threats in the county’s future.

To be ready for whatever challenges lie ahead, Pasco County government took a step earlier this month to improve the chances of being better able to effectively provide the services the community will need — no matter what.

The County Commission unanimously approved establishment of the Office of Strategy and Sustainability, a new county department that will coordinate efforts to prepare for that unknown future, said Marc Bellas, the county’s organizational performance manager.

A key part of that job will be to aggressively seek funding for projects that will help. Bellas said the county knows that larger jurisdictions to the south are already capitalizing on ways to do that. “It’s time for us to get on board,” said Bellas, who will lead the new effort.