Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco sheriff plans to give back $1.1 million in unspent budget money

County commissioners preparing to put the final touches on next year's budget got an unexpected windfall this week when Sheriff Chris Nocco said he plans to return $1.1 million unspent in the current year.

Constitutional officers routinely give back so-called "excess fees" to county officials, who can spend them in the upcoming budget that takes effect Oct. 1. This year's amount is on the high end of what the Sheriff's Office usually gives back.

During Sheriff Bob White's tenure, he often asked that commissioners plug the unspent fees back into law enforcement. Nocco, who was appointed sheriff after White retired in April, made no such request this year. The sheriff's budget was $86 million.

"It's a lot better than what we've received in the past," said County Administrator John Gallagher.

The money gives commissioners some wiggle room as they begin negotiations on the proposed $1 billion county spending plan. But it might not take long to spend the new cash. Consider some possibilities:

• Saving the last two county swimming pools at Veterans Memorial Park and the Land O' Lakes Recreational Complex. Money could also be set aside for future maintenance costs. Price tag: $289,000.

• Eliminating the new $2 parking fee at 11 popular county parks. Commissioner Jack Mariano has long pushed this, though he's been consistently voted down. Price tag: A projected $800,000.

• Beefing up an economic development fund that can be used to lure a major company. The county already plans to set aside $2 million this year. Price tag: Commissioner Ted Schrader suggested raising that amount by $500,000.

• Employee raises after three years of flat salaries. The move would help offset the new requirement that workers contribute 3 percent of their salary toward their pension. But the decision could be politically unpopular as the Pasco school district sheds hundreds of jobs and other Tampa Bay governments keep salaries level. Price tag: Roughly $1 million for each percentage increase for all county employees.

• Boosting the county's $34 million in reserves closer to a $37 million target.

"I think it might help with some of the holes that we need to try to fill in," said Commissioner Ann Hildebrand, who is one of several commissioners pushing to keep the swimming pools open. "Not having a public pool in Florida kind of goes against the grain."

But Schrader warned that the sheriff's fees are a one-time windfall. He said he's open minded about the pool proposal but wants to ensure the county can commit to keeping them open over the long haul.

"I don't want to just take this money and approve something only to have to face the same prospect of closing pools in the following year," he said.

Commissioners will begin budget talks on Tuesday when they will set next year's property tax rate for county government and fire service. The current rate is $7.68 in tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value, and Gallagher's proposed budget is based on keeping the rate flat.

To take in the same amount of taxes as this year, commissioners would have approve a "rollback rate" of $7.93. That would bring in an extra $3.3 million.

Lee Logan can be reached at llogan@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6236.

Pasco sheriff plans to give back $1.1 million in unspent budget money 07/19/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 8:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Inside the Rays continuing historically bad slump

    Blogs

    The numbers tell the story of the Rays inexplicable ongoing offensive slump, and the words detail how tough it has been to deal with.

  2. How Rays' Chris Archer is branching out on Twitter

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays RHP Chris Archer has made a name for himself on the mound. And at a time when some athletes work to steer clear of any issue with a tint of controversy for fear it could damage their brand, Archer has used that platform to weigh in on some topical social, political and news events.

    Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer (22) leans on the railing of the dugout during the All-Star game at Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times

  3. Candidates for governor get emotional talking about their gay siblings

    Blogs

    Occasionally in today's hyper-rehearsed and contrived world of political campaigns one witnesses moments that are so honest and real, we can't help but understand we're not just listening to another politician give his or her stump speech; We're listening to a human being who understands personal pain at least as well …

    Chris King talking to reporters in Tallahassee
  4. Southern heritage groups sue to keep Confederate monument at old Tampa courthouse

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Groups that say they support Southern heritage filed a lawsuit late Friday trying to halt the removal of a Confederate statue from downtown Tampa.

    Workers place boards around a Confederate monument on Hillsborough County property in Tampa on Thursday, August 17, 2017. It took 24 hours to raise private funds in order to move the statue from its current location.
  5. Bucs mull options at right tackle as Dotson awaits MRI

    Bucs

    Right tackle Demar Dotson, the Bucs' most experienced offensive lineman, will undergo an MRI on his injured groin Saturday, three weeks before the season opener.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneer Demar Dotson, offensive tackle, brought his coffee and breakfast to One Buc Place, 7/31/15, as he reported to training camp.