Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brooksville cheers modest financial progress

BROOKSVILLE — After five years under a dark financial cloud, could the city of Brooksville at last be seeing some sunshine?

Figures presented last week to members of the City Council showed gains from several revenue streams for the fourth quarter of 2012, along with a slight decrease in expenditures. Coupled together, the numbers create a somewhat positive picture as the city begins to put together its budget for 2013-14, said City Manager Jennene Norman-Vacha.

"I'd say we're cautiously optimistic," Norman-Vacha said of the trend. "Property taxes and sales taxes are in line with or above what we normally see. Also, we've been able to either eliminate or lessen some expenses. Anytime you can do both things, it's a good sign."

A report for the first quarter of the 2012-13 fiscal year, presented to the City Council during a workshop last week, showed a modest revenue gain of about $73,000 over the same period during 2011-12. And while that figure may not seem impressive, Norman-Vacha said it's a big turnaround from two years earlier, when the city saw an $180,000 revenue deficit.

However, there are still unanswered questions when it comes to how the city will deal with its 2013-14 budget. County property tax revenue estimates won't be finalized until June, and that information, Norman-Vacha said, will likely play a major role in determining the course of the City Council's budget decisions.

But for now, early indications are that the heavy fiscal bleeding of the past three years has slowed, and Norman-Vacha doesn't think her office will be forced to make the kind of massive cuts needed the past three years to balance the city's budget, which this year totals $6.53 million.

With 30 fewer employees than it had in 2006, the city has saved about $1 million each year. And by reducing other day-to-day operating expenses, and taking recent actions such as restructuring several sewer bonds — a move that saved more $700,000 in interest payments — the city has a little more financial breathing room, said Brooksville Mayor Lara Bradburn.

"We've done things that the county probably wish it had," Bradburn said. "By working smarter at making less do more we now have the lowest operating budget in six years and without a loss in quality of services."

Bradburn said that dollar-stretching will likely remain the city's financial mantra for some time to come, and is essential if the city is going to tackle long-neglected infrastructure needs.

"A lot of cities have had to put those kinds of things on the back burner," Bradburn said. "In my opinion, doing that only leaves a bigger problem for others to have to deal with later on."

In fact, a City Council workshop scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday will focus on the city's newly completed pavement management study, which surveyed the condition of streets, sidewalks and curbing throughout Brooksville. Most council members say they would favor a plan that would apply a portion of the city's red-light camera revenue toward jump-starting road restoration.

"It's a good investment," Bradburn said. "Every penny we spend wisely now gives us an advantage for what we have to deal with in the future."

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1435.

Brooksville cheers modest financial progress 03/02/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 2, 2013 12:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Official: Hurricane Maria set Puerto Rico back decades

    Hurricanes

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico's nonvoting representative in the U.S. Congress said Sunday that Hurricane Maria's destruction has set the island back decades, even as authorities worked to assess the extent of the damage.

    National Guardsmen arrive Sunday at Barrio Obrero in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to distribute water and food to people in need after the damage inflicted by Hurricane Maria. The death toll on the island from Maria is 10, but that number is expected to climb.  
  2. Gunman opens fire in Nashville church; 1 dead, 7 wounded

    Crime

    NASHVILLE — A masked gunman invaded a Nashville church Sunday and opened fire, walking silently down the aisle as he shot unsuspecting congregants. At least one person was killed and seven others wounded, authorities said.

    Kaitlyn Adams, a member of the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, hugs another church member at the scene after shots were fired at the church on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Antioch, Tenn. (Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP)
  3. Woman dead in St. Petersburg shooting

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Woman fatally shot Saturday night

    A 31-year-old woman was shot and killed Saturday night, police said.

  4. Jones: Rather than criticizing anthem protests, we should be asking about the reasons for them

    Bucs

    MINNEAPOLIS — They are football players. They are teammates. They are Tampa Bay Bucs.

    Bucs wide receivers Mike Evans (13) and DeSean Jackson (11) kneel during the national anthem. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Here kitty, kitty ...

    Blogs

    In a toned down version of the annual rookie dress-up day based on MLB's new anti-hazing policy, Rays rookie players and staff - plus second-year LHP Blake Snell - donned DJ Kitty onesies for the trip to New York.

    Rays rookie players and staff - joined here by Alex Colome - sporting their DJ Kitty onesies before the flight to New York.