Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando County budget news gets millions worse

BROOKSVILLE — With housing starts a fraction of what they were three years ago, one in 10 Hernando residents jobless, and property values plummeting, Hernando County is hurting financially.

County commissioners heard more grim news on Tuesday when budget officials confirmed that tax revenue for the 2009 general fund budget is expected to be $1.6-million shy of projections.

Commissioners should also expect $1.7-million less in impact fees, a $1.9-million hit in income from solid waste and recycling services and a nearly $1-million drop in fees from development services. That department on Monday announced it was laying off six more workers.

And the outlook for 2010 is even worse.

The county will likely have to make spending cuts equal to about $6-million to $7-million to balance next year's revenue shortfall, according to Budget And Management Director George Zoettlein. The shortfalls are due to falling property values and falling sales tax receipts and revenue sharing dollars from the state, he said.

This year, the county pledged to take $2-million from reserves to help with the crunch and county officials have pledged not to dip into the reserves in 2010.

Zoettlein had yet another warning. He learned Monday that state officials are talking about cutting another $100-million from state programs, cuts that typically trickle down to counties.

In response, commissioners voted unanimously to form a standing budget committee. Its first priority will be to address ways to balance the budget, said County Administrator David Hamilton.

Dave Russell, who was appointed chairman of the County Commission on Tuesday, recommended that the new vice chairwoman, Rose Rocco, chair the budget committee.

Another committee, one on economic development, was also discussed and Russell recommended that John Druzbick, the newly appointed second vice chairman for the County Commission, chair that group.

Facing such major funding shortfalls, Zoettlein said that he is preparing a memo to department heads and constitutional officers telling them they needed to begin to look hard at their spending plans for this year and next.

"What you're saying is that we really have our work cut out for us,'' Russell said.

Zoettlein agreed.

County Administrator David Hamilton told commissioners that he would be bringing forward regular reports now on the county's "fiscal health.''

Druzbick noted that the county leaders have many important tasks on their plate in the coming weeks including the proposed reorganization of government and he encouraged county staff to think hard about how they can make their operation more efficient.

"We really have to start thinking differently than the way we have in the past,'' he said.

Several other times during Tuesday's regular commission meeting, the specter of the looming funding shortfall prompted commissioners to turn down some big-ticket items in an effort to find some other way to get by for now.

In one case, the commission rejected a $191,000 bid for a new fuel island construction project at the landfill asking instead that it be delayed because it wasn't a critical, immediate need.

And in another, they delayed awarding a bid to renovate an abandoned home at the Cypress Lakes Reserve, which was to be used as a security station there. The price tag on that project was nearly $89,000.

Commissioners instead asked for the staff to bring back other options for the old building and to provide needed security on the property.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando County budget news gets millions worse 01/06/09 [Last modified: Thursday, January 8, 2009 11:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  4. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  5. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests

    World

    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. A Spanish judge on Monday June 26, 2017, has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman named by Europa Press agency as Pilar Abel, 61 from the nearby city of Girona. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]