Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando's revenue woes eased as Cemex loses bid to cut taxes

BROOKSVILLE — While Hernando County's property tax revenue shortfall is worse than officials had feared, it is not quite as bad as it could have been.

That's because of a vote of the Value Adjustment Board on Wednesday that did not reduce the value of concrete giant Cemex's properties in Hernando.

Had the board approved Cemex's petitions, it would have wiped $172 million in property value off the books and cost the county about $900,000 in tax revenue. Cemex is expected to file suit over the decision, meaning that the county can't count on keeping those funds, officials said.

County officials had been basing their 2012 budget on a 5 percent reduction in property values and an anticipated $5.2 million budget shortfall. Property Appraiser Alvin Mazourek told them Tuesday that the drop in value was even higher than that and that it would top 10 percent if the petitions were approved at the VAB.

With the Cemex petitions denied, the actual property value drop stands at 8.4 percent.

Mazourek on Tuesday indicated the county would face an additional $2.4 million in cuts needed to balance the budget because of the larger drop in property values. But county budget manager George Zoettlein analyzed the figures and determined that shortfall would rise only to $5.65 million.

Cemex officials have argued this year and in previous years that the slowing of the economy has idled down their business, reducing the value of their tangible personal property, which in this case are the cement plants they operate. Mazourek has countered with requests for specific information about the cement production that were not fulfilled, Mazourek said.

An attorney for Cemex argued to the VAB that the recommendations of the special magistrate to approve the values Cemex had requested should be followed, but by a three to two vote, the board rejected that recommendation.

School Board member James Yant and county commissioners John Druzbick and Jim Adkins — who all serve on the VAB — voted yes to deny the petitions. Citizen board members Tom Beisacher and David Shrader voted no.

The VAB on Wednesday did vote to approve most of the value reduction recommendations made by a special magistrate, all of which were dwarfed by the Cemex case.

Overall, the county has lost approximately $709 million in property value from 2009 to 2010. Lost value equates to lower property tax revenue to the governments that operate off those taxes.

Mazourek noted that, while the vote Wednesday means the county won't be scrambling to find even more areas to cut immediately, in the end there was no way to "count on'' the extra tax revenue from Cemex because of the expected lawsuit. Cemex file a similar suit last year.

Druzbick said that Cemex had proposed "such a drastic drop'' in value without documentation that he couldn't support it. But he also noted that it is a sign that the county needs to be conservative in its budget decisions.

"I'm going to say we're not ultimately going to win this one,'' he said.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Fast fact

>> The county has lost approximately $709 million in property value from 2009 to 2010.

By the numbers

5 percent reduction in property values would have meant $5.2 million budget shortfall.

8.4 percent actual property value drop would require the county to make an additional $2.4 million in cuts to balance the budget.

Hernando's revenue woes eased as Cemex loses bid to cut taxes 05/04/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 7:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, acitvate Alex Cobb


    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  2. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  3. Six home runs doom Rays in loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — A curve that didn't bounce was the difference Wednesday as the Rays lost 7-6 to the Blue Jays in front of 8,264, the smallest Tropicana field crowd since Sept. 5, 2006.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) greets center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) at the plate after his two run home run in the third inning of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  4. Jones: Stop talking and start building a new Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was good to see Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred at Tropicana Field on Wednesday, talking Rays baseball and the hope for a new stadium somewhere in Tampa Bay.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred is popular with the media on a visit to Tropicana Field.
  5. Ousted to political Siberia by Corcoran, Kathleen Peters sets sights on Pinellas Commission

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The perks of power in Tallahassee are a coveted chairmanship, a Capitol office in a prime location and a prominent seat on the House floor. Now Rep. Kathleen Peters has lost all three, but here's the twist: Her trip to "Siberia" might actually help her reach the next step on the Tampa Bay political …

    Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-South Pasadena, has been relegated to the back row in the State House chamber, moved to a fouth floor office and stripped of her job as chairwoman of a House subcommittee after a series of disagreements with House Speaker Richard Corcoran. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]