Tuesday, June 19, 2018
News Roundup

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 [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

Comments
For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

UPDATE, 6:45: Cash said Smith will continue to play a lot, getting time in LF and RF, meaning something of a rotation system for rookie Johnny Field and veteran Carlos Gomez.UPDATE, 4:49: Kiermaier is batting leadoff and playing center as expected, w...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bay’s most influential export. A smart, accomplished and powerful attorney making life-altering decisions on an international stage.But what of tomorrow? And the day after?When the story of President Donald Trump’s border...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Just to preface this, the NFL Network's annual countdown of the league's top 100 players is a made-for-TV deal, good for summer offseason conversation but not carrying any huge amount of real significance.Having said that, it's worth noting that for ...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
St. Petersburg power outage affects thousands

St. Petersburg power outage affects thousands

More than 2,000 Duke Energy customers are without power after a cluster of storms rolled through earlier this afternoon, according to Duke Energy.The area without power stretches along 62nd Avenue N from 12th Street N to 30th Way N, according to the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ice cream man granted bail after lawyer notes weaknesses in 2010 Ruskin murder case

Ice cream man granted bail after lawyer notes weaknesses in 2010 Ruskin murder case

TAMPA — Michael Edward Keetley has spent the last 2,756 days in the Falkenburg Road Jail awaiting trial — and a possible death sentence if convicted — for a Ruskin shooting spree that killed two men.Now he might go home.A judge this week approved Kee...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Victor Hedman is talking from a hotel room in Las Vegas and admits he's a little jet-lagged."Actually, very jet-lagged," Hedman says.That's what happens when you take a flight from Sweden to the party capital of the world.But he knows exactly what he...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police release video of car that killed woman, 58, in Tampa hit and run

Police release video of car that killed woman, 58, in Tampa hit and run

Times staffTAMPA — Police have identified Sally Ann McClellan Webb, 58, as the pedestrian killed when a vehicle ran into her Sunday night as she was crossing N Nebraska Ave at Linebaugh Ave.The collision occurred about 9:15 a.m. as the victim stepped...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Trump threatens more China tariffs

Trump threatens more China tariffs

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has directed the U.S. Trade Representative to prepare new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports as the two nations move closer to a trade war.In response, China threatened what it called "comprehensive measure...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Among the marching bands and twirlers at Saturday’s St. Pete Pride Parade, one major sponsor, Tech Data, is sending by far a record number of employees — more than 700 at last count — to march in Florida’s largest gay pride parade.The parade, which d...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Port Richey council moves closer to minimum housing standards ordinance

PORT RICHEY — In a narrow vote, Port Richey took another step toward enacting an ordinance that will create minimum housing standards in the city. Port Richey City Council members approved in a split vote last week the first reading of an ordinance d...
Updated: 2 hours ago