Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

First public hearing is Sept. 12 to solve Brooksville's budget deficit.

BROOKSVILLE — As the Brooksville City Council heads toward its first budget hearing in two weeks, one thing is clear: Taxpayers are going to have to pony up more in order to keep their current level of services.

The continued downward slide in property values and tax revenues, coupled with escalating costs, has made for a bleak picture that City Manager Jennene Norman-Vacha warned could no longer effectively be controlled by simply cutting staff.

Earlier this month, the council approved a tentative property tax rate of 7.5 mills, which would allow the city to balance its budget. That rate is 17.7 percent higher than the 6.37 mills residents have paid the past two years.

Tuesday's final budget workshop brought little discussion of changing those plans unless council members choose to enact a fire assessment for property owners. The fee could generate up to $600,000 for fire services.

That measure, currently under a 30-day appeal period in Hernando County Circuit Court, could allow the city to set the tax rate to 6.58 mills — still an increase of .21 mill over last year.

"The reality is that it's costing us more all the time to provide essential services," Vice Mayor Lara Bradburn said. "In the meantime, we're falling behind. We have a backlog of needs, and we haven't found a way to make them happen."

Council members bandied about several short- and long-term options for how the city could further shave expenses. The suggestions ranged from choosing to rent some city vehicles and equipment rather than buying them, to the elimination of the municipality's police, fire and recreation departments.

Council member Kevin Hohn expressed surprise at the depth of the discussion, and quipped that it was "like going for a haircut and receiving a beheading instead."

The council also discussed ways to increase revenues, including having the city adopt its own construction impact fees and collecting them in an escrow fund, adding a $1 surcharge to utility bills and billing mobile home park residents individually for water and sewer services.

Council member Joe Bernardini said that although he didn't favor adding financial burdens to taxpayers, it was clear the city needs to look at every way possible to limit its financial bind.

"We have no way of knowing what's coming next year or beyond," Bernardini said. "Maybe it's time to look at everything differently, even the sacred cows."

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or [email protected]

. If you go

Public hearings

The Brooksville City

Council's first public hearing on the 2012-13 budget is 6:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at City Hall, 201 Howell Ave.

The second hearing will be at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 26, also at City Hall.

The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

First public hearing is Sept. 12 to solve Brooksville's budget deficit. 08/29/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 5:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday


    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start


    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy


    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)


    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102