Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco budget proposal calls for job shifts, no raises

DADE CITY — Pasco's county administrator is calling for roughly the same level of spending next year as the county reshuffles more than two dozen jobs and plans the high-profile step of closing the last two county-owned swimming pools.

County Administrator John Gallagher's proposed spending plan for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 includes slightly more than $1 billion in spending, nearly equal to the current year.

The plan would cut 31 jobs, including 14 workers who would be subject to layoffs.

But the county would add an equal number of positions in other departments. Laid off workers with the correct skills would be encouraged to apply for the new jobs and would receive priority in hiring.

Most of the job cuts would be from the parks and facilities departments that are funded with property taxes. New jobs would be created in the utilities and stormwater departments, which are paid for with assessments and fees.

For the fourth straight year, Pasco employees would not receive raises.

But the biggest budget flashpoint is the plan to end a $329,000 program: running the swimming pools at Veterans Memorial Park in Hudson and the Land O'Lakes Recreation Center. Entrance fees at those pools only bring in $39,000 a year.

County parks director Rick Buckman told commissioners Tuesday that he has a tentative agreement with the Land O'Lakes Lightning club team to operate that pool.

Although he declined to discuss more details before sharing the plan with Gallagher and commissioners, he said any agreement would likely involve some level of access for the public.

Buckman said he plans to meet with coaches from the schools that use the Veterans Memorial pool and with nearby hospitals to talk about doing more water exercise classes. But he said an agreement there might be harder to reach because there is no club team similar to the Lightning.

"It's vital that we have these pools open," Commissioner Jack Mariano said, adding that he would like any agreement with a private entity to keep the county's costs as low as possible.

Commissioner Ann Hilde­brand said she hopes to keep the pools open for a year so they can weather a down period for county property values.

"I'm cautiously optimistic they're starting to inch up," she said. "But they need to jump up."

Values dropped 2.5 percent this year, though Property Appraiser Mike Wells has said he believes values are beginning to bottom out.

The proposed budget is based on the assumption that commissioners won't increase the property tax rate for the county's general fund and for fire service. Raising those rates to collect the same amount in taxes as last year, to the so-called "rollback rate," would bring in an extra $3.3 million.

The county caught a pair of budgetary breaks this year that spared it from the more severe budget cuts of previous years.

First, the Legislature set lower pension rates, partially funded by a required 3 percent contribution by all workers in the state retirement system. That saved the county $5.6 million.

The county also will carry over $4.2 million in unspent money in various funds from the current budget year.

The proposed budget will be discussed at upcoming workshops before a final vote in September.

Pasco budget proposal calls for job shifts, no raises 07/12/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 9:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility


    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia


    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]