Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

More Hernando County jobs on the line in budget cuts

BROOKSVILLE — This is the week the Hernando County Commission must stare its $10.4 million budget shortfall straight in the eye — or, more accurately, eyes.

In order to close the huge gap between projected revenue and spending, the county administration is recommending losing the equivalent of 47 full-time employees, leaving some services with just one worker and privatizing other functions.

And even after all of that, the county is still off by nearly $1.2 million and must find either that much in new revenue or that much more to cut.

The recommendations include cutting 16 of 29 parks maintenance workers, seven of eight recreation workers, two of three employees in community relations and three of 15 in animal services.

"Everyone is taking a hit across the board," said George Zoettlein, director of the office of management and budget.

Knowing that some of their favorite services were on the chopping block already has prompted numerous residents to speak up. Fans of the county's dog park have signed a petition asking that it be saved and voicing interest in paying a fee to use it.

Those who use THE Bus, the county's public transit system, which is also recommended for the chopping block, have been contacting commissioners. One anonymous donor last week mailed a check to the county to cover the $55,000 annual operating cost of the Little Rock Cannery, in hopes of keeping its doors open another year.

On Wednesday and Thursday, commissioners will hear department heads and constitutional officers line up and explain the effects of the proposed cuts on the services they offer.

Commissioners will also be given a laundry list of options for what they might do to raise more revenue. Those include raising fees, further reorganization and consolidation, creating new fees, further cuts in departments' budgets or those of the elected constitutional officers, and possible reductions in employee benefits.

Also on the table is a possible increase in the property tax rate. The commission can opt to levy what is known as the "rollback" rate — the tax rate that would bring in the same amount in tax revenue as this year — or some lesser tax increase. Last year's rate will bring in less money because of a sharp decline in property values.

Another possibility that commissioners have talked about is tapping into some of the $18 million set aside to build a new judicial center. Last week, Commissioner Rose Rocco said she was willing to look at that option, as did Commissioner Jeff Stabins, adding their voices to other commissioners' similar public statements.

A preview of the workshops could come during Tuesday's regular commission meeting when commissioners will discuss what to do about proposals received from firms interested in drawing up the specifications for the judicial center project.

Stabins said that as far as he is concerned, with the county looking at such a deep reduction in revenue this year, all possibilities are on the table.

"People are going to lose their jobs this year," he said, "but it doesn't have to be 40 to 70 people if everyone is willing to share the pain."

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

If you go

Budget discussion

This week's two County Commission budget workshops are slated for 9 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday in the commission meeting room at the Hernando County Government Center, 20 N Main St., Brooksville. There will be other budget discussions during the summer, and two formal public hearings will be scheduled in September.

More Hernando County jobs on the line in budget cuts 06/19/10 [Last modified: Saturday, June 19, 2010 12:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. From the food editor: Three ways to curb your red meat cravings


    After a certain point in my life, it became a reliable joke at the house of one my best friends: Michelle loves meat.

  2. HomeTeam 100: Players 41-50


    Bulldog QB Charles Harrison III, (12) during the fourth quarter of the Zephyrhills at Nature Coast High School football game on Friday, 11/11/16.
  3. For Dunkirk veteran, movie brings back different memories

    Human Interest

    Movies like the World War II epic Dunkirk are popular escapes from reality.

    Fred Clutterbuck poses for a photo in front of the "Dunkirk" movie poster at the Cobb Theatre in Tyrone on Friday. Clutterback is a survivor of the Dunkirk evacuation. (EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times)
  4. Coquina Key Neighborhood Association to hold forum for District 6 council candidates

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Coquina Key Neighborhood Association is inviting residents to meet the crowded field of candidates running for St. Petersburg's City Council District 6 at a forum Monday evening.

    International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement-affiliated City Council candidate Eritha "Akile" Cainion pauses between answers during a forum at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront earlier this month. The Coquina Key Neighborhood Association plans to hold another forum on Monday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Coquina Key Neighborhood Association Clubhouse, 3850 Pompano Drive SE. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  5. Lake Tarpon bass tournament still going strong after nearly 40 years (w/video)


    Matt Smith, left, and Gary Muchler, work to bring a large mouth bass into Smith's bass boat with only minutes to spare while fishing off Dolly Bay in Lake Tarpon during the Lake Tarpon Tuesday Night Bass Fishing Tournament on Tuesday (7/18/17). The fish sealed second place for the duo.