Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo braces for budget cuts

Over the next several years, some Largo residents will lose their favorite programs and city workers will feel the brunt of budget cuts.

Despite tax reforms, cuts have been relatively painless the past couple of years. Just a few employees lost their jobs and few programs were on the chopping block.

But this year and the coming years will be different, said city finance director Kim Adams.

"We've made all the easier cuts, all the obvious cuts, already," Adams said.

The city expects to slash its general fund budget from $6 million to $8 million over the next four years. Those cuts mean the city will have to reduce city services significantly, leaders say.

The general fund gleans funding from property taxes. And city workers clearly will be affected by future budget cuts because 75 percent of the city's general fund goes to personnel costs.

Last week, city leaders and department heads attended an all-day session to discuss budget priorities over the next few years. Specific details weren't hammered out. But the city is looking at a variety of methods to cut the budget short and long term.

Last year, the city cut 38 positions, mostly through attrition and early retirement.

Now, city leaders are looking at reducing more jobs. They're considering freezing salaries or reducing annual raises. They also may require employees to work shorter work weeks or take days off without pay.

Those steps may reduce the need to reduce positions and therefore layoffs, said Assistant City Manager Henry Schubert.

Mayor Pat Gerard said it was unrealistic for anyone to expect a 4 percent raise this year.

City Commissioner Harriet Crozier asked department directors to see how city workers feel about the proposed ideas.

"I don't want anyone to lose a job," Crozier said.

City leaders also may be asked to downsize major projects, such as the renovation of the Highland Recreation Center and the new Community Center.

The recession has reduced city revenues, such as sales and utility taxes and franchise fees. But the city's financial predicament is impacted more by legislation than the current economy, Adams said.

The full effect of Amendment One has not been felt yet, Adams said. And the Florida Legislature is still looking at cutting property taxes more.

"The economy could start booming tomorrow," he said, "and 80 percent of our problems would still be here."

fast facts

Current budget

Overall: $149.9 million

General fund: $61.9 million

General fund cuts from fiscal year 2010-2014: $6 million to $8 million

Ideas Largo is considering to deal with short- and long-term budget woes:


• Eliminating or freezing vacant positions

• Freezing salaries or limiting annual raises to 2 percent

• Reducing or cutting programs entirely

• Reducing employee hours, possibly to 37.5 hours per week

• Mandatory furloughs, unpaid days off


• Partnering with other cities or the county

• Reducing or eliminating services that benefit small groups

• Increasing user fees, such as those for recreation services

Largo braces for budget cuts 02/28/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 28, 2009 3:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Memorial for Snooty the manatee, postponed because of Irma, to be held Sunday


    A public memorial to celebrate the life of 69-year-old Snooty the manatee will be held at the South Florida Museum on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

    Snooty , the world's most celebrated manatee, begs for another slice of apple in his pool in the Parker Manatee Aquarium at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton in 2008. Snooty was 60 then. [Times 2008]
  2. Residents wade through a flooded road after the passing of Hurricane Maria, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Friday, September 22, 2017. Because of the heavy rains brought by Maria, thousands of people were evacuated from Toa Baja after the municipal government opened the gates of the Rio La Plata Dam. [Associated Press]
  3. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem


    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  4. New earthquake, magnitude 6.1, shakes jittery Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — A strong new earthquake shook Mexico on Saturday, causing new alarm in a country reeling from two still-more-powerful quakes this month that have killed nearly 400 people.

    Locals play pool at a venue in Mexico City's La Condesa neighborhood, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, four days after the 7.1 earthquake. The upscale Mexico City neighborhood was one of the hardest hit, with more than a half-dozen collapsed buildings in the immediate vicinity. The few Condesa residents who ventured out Friday night said they were anxious for relief from an anguishing week. [Associated Press]
  5. Tests show North Korea earthquake not caused by nuclear test


    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's weather agency said a magnitude 3.2 earthquake was detected in North Korea on Saturday close to where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, but it assessed the quake as natural.

    People watch a TV news program reporting North Korea's earthquake, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. South Korea's weather agency said an earthquake was detected in North Korea on Saturday around where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, but it assessed the quake as natural. The signs read " The weather agency said a magnitude 3.0 earthquake was detected in North Korea." [Associated Press]