Monday, December 11, 2017
News Roundup

Pasco County commissioners get first look at budget Tuesday

Pasco County commissioners will get their first look at the proposed draft budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year Tuesday.

It will likely be a year for tough decisions, as commissioners are faced with yet another year of essentially flat property values.

Staff also is calling for a nickel-a-gallon increase in the gasoline tax, just to bring road maintenance up to 2008 levels.

Also being recommended is a nearly 8 percent increase in fire taxes just to keep the fire budget reserve fund afloat and to avoid losing a $2.3 million federal grant as well as 30 firefighter positions. The department has been dipping into its rainy day fund for about seven years to pay for unanticipated emergency expenses.

The commission also will get a look at a proposed contract for Michele Baker, a former chief assistant county administrator who is now the interim administrator. Commissioners voted to give Baker the permanent job last month after top pick Tomas "Tommy" Gonzalez, the city manager of Irving, Texas, declined a job offer.

County commissioners also will hear from top judicial officials who have been pleading the case for a $28 million Land O'Lakes courthouse. Three of the five commissioners last month indicated they did not support the project moving forward this year given the financial picture. Supporters say it would be paid for with bond money from traffic fines and a half-cent sales tax already being collected.

The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. at the historic courthouse in Dade City. Visit www.pascocountyfl.net to see the full agenda.

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