Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas County considers slightly smaller tax hike for 2013

Pinellas County commissioners are leaning toward raising the property tax rate next year, but by slightly less than they anticipated.

New estimates from the state show that Pinellas County will have to pay about $10 million less in Medicaid payments, owing $59 million over 10 years instead of $69 million.

County officials said they would still press for a property tax hike to cover this cost, albeit a slightly smaller one.

At a board meeting Tuesday, County Administrator Bob LaSala proposed increasing the countywide property tax rate by about 22 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, down from his original suggestion of 25 cents.

Doing so would raise enough money to cover next year's Medicaid costs, he said, adding that the board could lower the tax rate once the debt is paid off.

Those 3 cents may not make much of a difference to taxpayers. For example, the owner of a $150,000 homesteaded property would pay $22 more instead of $25. However, lowering the tax to collect only what is needed could make it more palatable for the commissioners, three of whom are running for election.

Two of them, Nancy Bostock and Neil Brickfield, continued to object to any tax rate increase on Tuesday.

"We want to hold our budget harmless and I can certainly understand the desirability of doing that from where we sit, but I would just like everybody to consider what that says to our residents," Bostock said. "It says: You have to make this up, we don't have to."

"I just don't think it's right for us to eliminate more of our services in a time of need," responded Commissioner Ken Welch, adding that taxpayers should blame state lawmakers for the rate hike.

"Where do we go to fund this unfair mandate from the state?" Welch asked. "I just don't see where in the budget we can do that."

Welch, Susan Latvala, John Morroni and Norm Roche said they would support some form of a tax rate increase. On Monday, Commissioner Karen Seel said she was still undecided. A majority vote is needed to pass the rate increase.

Roche argued that the board should approve LaSala's original 25-cent tax rate increase, allowing the county to pay off its Medicaid debt sooner. Proposed plans call for a five-year repayment plan.

"We could do 25 cents for two years and be done with it," he said.

Though county officials put Pinellas' budget shortfall at $24.1 million just a week ago, they revised that figure upward to roughly $25 million on Tuesday, saying that although their Medicaid bill for next year would be slightly smaller, their budget shortfall is larger than they predicted.

They now estimate a $13.9 million budget gap for 2013, combined with an $11.4 million Medicaid bill.

Anna M. Phillips can be reached at aphillips@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8779.

Pinellas County considers slightly smaller tax hike for 2013 07/17/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 10:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Andy Serkis' directing debut 'Breathe' is not so inspiring

    Movies

    After such a revolutionary acting career, Andy Serkis should be expected to make an equally inventive directing debut. Breathe is anything but that.

    Clare Foy and Andrew Garfield star in Breathe as Robin and Diana Cavendish, an English polio victim and his devoted wife, who pioneered disability rights and wheelchairs with ventilators. [Imaginarium]
  2. Federal judge blocks Trump's third travel ban

    A federal judge on Tuesday largely blocked the Trump administration from implementing the latest version of the president's controversial travel ban, setting up yet another legal showdown on the extent of the executive branch's powers when it comes to setting immigration policy.

    Protesters waved signs and chanted during a demonstration against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban outside a federal courthouse in Seattle in May. The third version of Trump's proposal was blocked by a federal judge Tuesday. [AP photo]
  3. The #BrooklynCow delighted Twitter for one glorious afternoon

    Blogs

    In the long tradition of social media delighting in news reports of a non-native animal running loose in an urban setting, Twitter, for a few blissful hours this afternoon, turned its collective …

    A bull was on the loose in Brooklyn for a little while on Tuesday afternoon.
  4. Pinellas, Hillsborough to join forces

    Blogs

    What is this, a crossover episode?

    Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins did make an appearance at the Pinellas County School Board workshop Tuesday in a first public move to establish an official partnerships between the two districts.

    Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins (center) and Pinellas school superintendent Mike Grego discuss a new partnership between the two districts at a Pinellas County School Board workshop Tuesday in Largo.
  5. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]