Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando commission approves budget and tax increase

BROOKSVILLE — After a last-minute effort to cut more dollars out of their spending plan Tuesday night, a divided Hernando County Commission accepted a $395 million budget and 16 percent hike in the tax rate to support the general fund.

Even after the special adjustment was made, Commissioners Nick Nicholson and Wayne Dukes said no to the tax hike and budget.

Tuesday's final public hearing on the 2013-14 budget included a handful of residents speaking out against the increase.

"Don't reach into my pockets," said Weeki Wachee resident Larry Ball. "My funds are pretty tight."

Others argued that those on fixed incomes couldn't afford an increase and government critic Hamilton Hanson used terms like "sleight of hand," "hoodwink" and "shell game" to describe the budgeting process.

The builders association also sent a resolution begging the commission to forgo the increase.

The builders suggested that the commission "stick to the services mandated by law as the guide for what should be spent in the budget and find another way to cover the cost of running our county other than to increase property taxes on homeowners."

After public input, Commissioner Jim Adkins suggested a $300,000 cut from the general fund budget to further reduce the tax rate. That sent assistant administrator for budget George Zoett­lein to his office for two more hours of number crunching while commissioners shared pizza with the public and employees in the chambers.

Zoettlein said the extra dollars could come from deferring maintenance on county equipment.

For the past several years as property values and tax revenue fell, the county balanced the budget using attrition, restructuring and spending down reserves.

Those reserves have been depleted and county officials say they have cut staff to the bone.

The final total budget is a decrease of approximately $17 million from the current year. The general fund is $92 million.

The tax rate to support the general fund increases by 0.95 of a mill from 5.9169 to 6.8669.

A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 in appraised taxable property value. For the owner of a house with a $60,000 taxable value, the tax to support the county's general fund would increase $57.

Hernando commission approves budget and tax increase 09/24/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 9:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Mexico anxiously awaits the fate of a 12-year-old schoolgirl after deadly earthquake


    MEXICO CITY — A sprawling earthquake recovery effort spanning several states turned intensely personal Thursday as Mexicans were riveted by an effort to save a 12-year-old girl who was pinned in the rubble of her elementary school.

    Search and rescue efforts continue at the Enrique Rebsamen school in Mexico City, Mexico, Thursday. Tuesday's magnitude 7.1 earthquake has stunned central Mexico, killing more than 200 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. ]AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell]
  2. 'What Happened'? Clinton memoir sold 300,000 copies in first week


    Despite being met with decidedly mixed reviews, What Happened, Hillary Clinton's new memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign, sold a whopping 300,000 copies in its first week.

    The new memoir by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sold 300,000 copies in its first week.
  3. After Irma topples tree, home sale may be gone with the wind

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — To house hunters searching online, the home for sale in St. Petersburg's Shore Acres neighborhood couldn't have looked more appealing — fully renovated and shaded by the leafy canopy of a magnificent ficus benjamini tree.

    Hurricane Irma's winds recently blew over a large ficus tree, left, in the yard of a home at 3601Alabama Ave NE, right, in Shore Acres which is owned by Brett Schroder who is trying to sell the house.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  4. Bucs' Josh Robinson excited for return to Vikings


    For much of Josh Robinson's four seasons with the Vikings, there was excitement leading up to the arrival of the $1.1-billion U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened last season, just as Robinson signed with the …

    Josh Robinson (26) tackles Chicago punt returner Eddie Royal (19) during a game between the Bucs and Bears in 2016. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. For starters: Rays at Orioles, meeting up with ex-mate Tim Beckham


    The Rays open their final roadtrip of the season tonight in Baltimore, and - continuing the theme of the week - willl cross paths with another familiar face, INF Tim Beckham.

    Tim Beckham made a smashing debut with the Orioles, hitting .394 with six homers and 19 RBIs in August.