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County approves 2004-05 budget

County commissioners Thursday approved the 2004-05 Hernando budget, a spending plan that tops $304-million. The final figure leapt from a previously reported $286-million because of unspent grant money that was carried forward.

The approved budget includes a single tax increase for ambulance service that applies only to residents who live outside the Spring Hill Fire Rescue District. The ambulance tax will rise from about 55 cents to 67 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value.

As a result of the increase, the owner of a $100,000 home who gets a $25,000 homestead exemption would pay an additional $8.68 annually.

Property-value-based assessments that apply to all county residents will remain at just over $8.42 per $1,000 of assessed home value. That means the owner of a $100,000 home with a $25,000 homestead exemption will continue to pay the county $631.53 annually.

That bill does not include taxes or fees residents pay to the school district and other taxing districts.

Of the five board members, only County Commissioner Robert Schenck voted against the spending plan, which takes effect Oct. 1. Schenck said he voted against the budget because high administrative costs in the Tourism Development Department had not been addressed.