As many as 138 full-time county workers will have to be laid off, and scores of other jobs eliminated, to meet state-mandated property tax cuts that take effect in November, Hillsborough County Administrator Pat Bean said Monday.
In all, Bean is proposing to shed 480 full- and part-time jobs - from parks landscapers to code enforcement officers - in an effort to slash $55.9-million in spending next year.
Meanwhile, the county will cancel construction of 10 fire stations, seven libraries and more than half a dozen parks projects to avoid hiring employees to run them.
Bean said she took pains to spread the proposed cuts among departments and avoid scaling back critical services. Overall, county spending will decline 3.7 percent compared with last year, to $3.68-billion, which includes money from property and sales taxes, as well as other taxes, fees and direct charges.
Hillsborough County currently has about 6,000 full- and part-time employees. Bean said the county will help laid-off employees try to find other, similar jobs within the government. Counseling and resume help will be offered to those who don't.
Most employees who will be laid off have yet to be identified. Bean said she hopes to tell them by the end of the month.
State lawmakers, responding to a taxpayer revolt caused by skyrocketing property taxes, mandated this spring that county and city governments roll back their property tax collections to last year's levels. Hillsborough was ordered to cut back an additional 5 percent.
To achieve that, Bean's budget proposal would cut the county's property tax rate by 1.5 mills, or about $150 for every $100,000 of taxable value.
Some perspective: County commissioners have long bragged about decreasing Hillsborough's tax rate every year for the past 14 years. The cumulative total of those rollbacks: 1.58 mills.
The cost of state-mandated cuts: $55.9-million
Full-time layoffs anticipated: Up to 138
Full- and part-time jobs to be cut: 480
Overall proposed county budget: $3.68-billion
Decrease: 3.7 percent