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Year in review: Brooksville braces for more budget cuts in 2018

By Barbara Behrendt

BROOKSVILLE — For anyone who cared to watch, the Brooksville City Council spent the summer of 2017 painstakingly pulling apart its budget, line item by line item.

In hours of workshops with interim city manager Lyndon Bonner, the council and city department heads analyzed spending on everything from office supplies to police bonuses. Their aim was to fix what Bonner said was a history of the city spending more than it collected in taxes and fees.

The ultimate budget approval in September came with a small tax rate increase and an increase in fire fees.

What also came from the exercise was a no-frills budget and the reality that something more would have to give in 2018. The most likely targets for the budget ax are sure-fire recipes for controversy — cutting costs and losing the city’s police department, fire department or both.

City residents have been vocal on all the options with a contingent from Southern Hills urging the council to take away what they see as double taxation; they pay both the city and county for aspects of their police and fire service.

Other citizens have staunchly supported keeping fire and police services, saying they help define the city.

As the new year begins, petitions to save city services and petitions to recall city council members were circulating in area businesses.

Barbara Behrendt, Times staff

RELATED: Financially strapped Brooksville raises tax rate and fire fees