Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando sheriff's budget increase could mean higher tax rate, official says

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando property owners face a potential tax rate increase in the coming fiscal year to pay for the higher budget being sought by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

Early projections show the rate increase — 0.1048 mills — would generate roughly $708,000, enough to cover the shortfall, according to George Zoettlein, the assistant county administrator for budget.

In a memo sent Thursday to Sheriff Al Nienhuis, Zoettlein wrote that there were no alternatives but to increase the tax rate in order to balance the budget and "meet the sheriff's budget request."

The county administrator is required by Florida statutes to present the proposed budget by July 15. County commissioners will take it up on July 22, and the tax rate needs to be sent to the Hernando County property appraiser by Aug. 4.

The county initially did not want to pursue a tax rate increase.

On Wednesday, Zoettlein sent a memo to Nienhuis, informing him that the county would reduce the proposed budget by roughly $600,000.

The memo said the sheriff's budget increase was $1.3 million. Accounting for an expected return of roughly $700,000 in unspent funds, the actual increase for 2014-15 would be $642,829. After discussions, Zoettlein wrote that County Administrator Len Sossamon's proposed budget would include a reduction of $598,585 for the sheriff.

The next day, however, the county learned that statutes prevented the change to the sheriff's request and must be considered as submitted. Any changes must be made by county commissioners during a public hearing.

That's when they sent the memo notifying the sheriff of the needed increase in the millage rate. One mill is equivalent to $1 of tax for each $1,000 of assessed, nonexempt real property.

Zoettlein said the numbers are still changing and nothing is certain at this point. The sheriff could return more money, meaning the tax rate increase might be less or nothing at all.

In real dollars, Nienhuis is seeking $42,760,940 — a 4 percent increase over his request for 2013-14.

In his request submitted to the County Commission in May, he asks for eight new positions and for the return of unspent dollars from the current fiscal year so he can continue to phase in pay raises. He started that process this year to make up for inequities that resulted from several years of frozen salaries.

To retain and recruit staff, the budget also includes a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for personnel below the rank of lieutenant.

Zoettlein said there are no raises built into the budget for any other employees of the County Commission.

Nienhuis said Friday he feels that the latest memo is the result of a miscommunication and that there are too many unknown variables that remain in the budget process.

"If anything, this is way too premature to be saying things as specific as that," he said of the tax rate increase. "I don't think we're far enough in the process to make statements like that."

Hernando sheriff's budget increase could mean higher tax rate, official says 07/11/14 [Last modified: Friday, July 11, 2014 9:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Chasing 125: Bucs hope to hit rushing goal more often

    Bucs

    Ever so often, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter pulls back the curtain a bit and shares some of the stats that matter to him most as a coach.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
  2. Two Boca Ciega students arrested on charges they brought gun to high school football game

    Crime

    PINELLAS PARK — Two Boca Ciega High School students were arrested for having a loaded semi-automatic handgun with them at a Friday night football game at Pinellas Park High School.

    Two Boca Ciega High School students were arrested for bringing a weapon on school property on Friday night at a high school football game at Pinellas Park High School.
  3. Bucs-Jaguars was NFL's lowest-rated ESPN game since 2005

    Bucs

    It is just the preseason, and it is the Jaguars, but Thursday night's Bucs-Jags preseason game earned a 1.6 rating on ESPN, which is the lowest-rated preseason game (excluding NFL Network) in 12 years, according to Sports Media Watch.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, left, talks with coach Dirk Koetter during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
  4. Crash at U.S. 19 in Pinellas Park kills one, shuts down traffic

    Accidents

    PINELLAS PARK — A man is dead after a crash between two cars at the intersection of U.S. Highway 19 and 70th Avenue N just after 7 a.m. Saturday.

    Pinellas Park police are investigating the death of a man during a crash on U.S. 19 early Saturday. (Pinellas Park police)
  5. Tropics watch: The latest on Harvey and what systems could hit Florida

    Weather

    While Eastern and Central America monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Harvey, two tropical disturbances are moving through the Atlantic.