Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando Supervisor of Elections Office left with $100,000 operating deficit

BROOKSVILLE — As former Hernando County Supervisor of Elections Annie Williams was preparing last week to depart from the job she had held since 2000, she notified county commissioners of some unfinished business: She was leaving the office with a $100,000 operating deficit.

In a letter dated Jan. 4, Williams said that unexpected expenditures in connection with November's general election, coupled with $31,000 that was cut from her $874,000 annual budget, created the shortfall. She requested that commissioners add $50,000 to the office's 2012-13 budget.

Though commissioners did not discuss the letter during their meeting Tuesday, the last-minute notice did not sit well with commission Chairman Dave Russell, who blasted some of Williams' claims and criticized her lack of explanation for others.

"I'm a little disturbed to be learning this now," Russell said Wednesday. "It's a significant amount of money, and it hasn't been justified to my satisfaction."

The November general election was, by all accounts, record-setting. More than 68 percent of Hernando County's 123,865 registered voters cast ballots. Williams said she and her staff faced challenges that were beyond their control.

In her letter, the retiring supervisor blamed several unprecedented factors, such as the mailing of a record 27,799 absentee ballots, for the cost overrun. A two-page ballot was needed to list all of the races, plus 11 state constitutional questions. That, and the added cost of mailing the larger ballots, accounted for a $50,000 increase in costs, Williams said.

Also, she said, in addition to added personnel costs for processing and tabulating ballots, the office was forced to spend $25,000 to re-send 957 ballots that were lost in the mail.

Russell said that although he was aware of the elections office budget deficit before Tuesday's commission meeting, he plans to wait until a complete financial accounting of the election is completed before bringing the matter up before his colleagues. As to how to deal with the deficit, Russell said he wasn't sure whether the shortfall would be made up through a carryover or through reserves.

Incoming elections supervisor Shirley Anderson, who began work Tuesday, said she didn't have enough information regarding the budget shortfall and could not comment Wednesday on how she thought it might affect the operation of the elections office.

"We're looking into it," Anderson said. "Hopefully, we'll have some answers soon."

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1435.

Hernando Supervisor of Elections Office left with $100,000 operating deficit 01/09/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 7:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Buccaneers defense was among NFL's best when its pressure got to the QB

    Bucs

    It doesn't matter how many times they've thrown a football. It doesn't matter how many seasons they've played. It doesn't matter whether they have a degree from Harvard or Central Florida.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recorded 6.5 sacks last season, but many of his other contributions didn't show up in the box scores. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]

  2. What you need to know for Thursday, June 29

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    See that thing in the water? No? That's the point. It's that time of the year when stingrays are often lurking in the sand, often not visibly. Remember to do the stingray shuffle if you're out at the beach this weekend. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]
  3. Pinellas beaches seeing fewer injuries from stingrays, but the summer is still young

    Environment

    FORT DE SOTO — Rebecca Glidden leaned back in her lifeguard chair, watching behind sunglasses as families splashed in the water at Fort De Soto's North Beach.

    A Clearwater water safety supervisor demonstrates the stingray shuffle. Pinellas beaches are reporting relatively few injuries from stingrays so far this year, but they anticipate more as the summer wears on. Officials are reminding beachgoers to do the shuffle when they enter the water and keep an eye out for purple flags flying from the lifeguard towers, which indicate stingray activity. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  4. Weeki Wachee River advocates agree to work to resolve issues

    Local Government

    WEEKI WACHEE — Degradation of the Weeki Wachee River is a complex mix of circumstances, with a variety of jurisdictions holding the authority to fix the problems. That has made finding solutions over the years more about frustration than success.

    A boat and kayak drift into one another as they share the narrow passage near Rogers Park on the Weeki Wachee River in March. Advocates fear too many vessels are damaging the river.
  5. Despite change in Cuba policy, cruise ships sail on

    Tourism

    TAMPA -- It's smooth sailing for cruises from Tampa to Havana, with the first of Carnival Cruise Line's 12 such excursions launching today, two months after Royal Caribbean's initial voyage from Port Tampa Bay to the island.

    The Empress of the Seas cruise ship docks at the Port Tampa Bay Cruise Terminal 3 in Tampa. President Donald 

Trump's new Cuba policy may not hurt cruises to Havana at all. In fact, it may help these cruises. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times