1. News
  2. /
  3. Hernando

Brooksville council maintains tax rate and approves 2020 budget

Spending plan includes a new fire fee calculation, new positions and a plan to improve city infrastructure.
Brooksville City Hall
Published Sep. 23

BROOKSVILLE — It took Brooksville City Council members a half dozen workshops and hours of detailed discussions since March to come up with its 2020 budget. But the final public hearing last week was over in less than 15 minutes and without a single public comment.

The Council approved a general fund budget of $5.4 million, compared to last year’s $6.9 million, and an overall budget of $30 million compared to last year’s $31.7 million.

The budget held the existing property tax rate of 6.2 mills or $6.20 in tax for every $1,000 in appraised taxable property value.

Starting next year, the city is changing how it charges residents for fire services. After a consultant’s study of the matter, the City Council voted to implement an "on-demand'' fee system. It replaces a two-tiered system that was based both on property value and a fixed fee per parcel.

In the past, multifamily facilities paid a single fee, but now the city will assess each unit individually. Most believe that owners of apartments or mobile home parks, such as Clover Leaf Farms, likely will pass the cost on to tenants.

Council members decided the on-demand system was more equitable. Those with expensive residential properties will see a break in their fire costs. So will those who own vacant parcels, who have long argued that the fire risk on an empty piece of land was not the same as on parcels with improvements.

Under the new system, residents pay $165 per improved parcel, owners of vacant lots pay $31.62 and non-residential locations pay per square foot, depending on usage. Previously, the cost was $135 per parcel, plus 97 cents per $1,000 of appraised taxable property.

Another controversial decision for the council was to continue funding the Brooksville Main Street Program. For the past three years, the city has spent $51,000 per year. This year’s expense is $45,000, and council members will begin requiring regular financial statements about Main Street activities.

The city budget also includes 3 percent pay raises for most employees, with the city manager determining raises for department heads.

When council members made the difficult decision to close its police department last year, they talked about wanting to become more financially solvent. They also wanted to begin working on needed city maintenance and upgrade projects ranging from aging utility lines to crumbling city streets.

The approved spending plan includes the first year of a five-year capital improvement plan. Among the road projects are a $15,000 expense for core drilling, $500,000 for repairs and $100,000 for milling and resurfacing.

The city also added an engineer to its workforce for 2020, as well as a special projects leader, a fire inspector, an information technology staff member and two sanitation workers.

Council members, who voted unanimously for the new budget and the tax rate, had little else to say about the spending plan at the final hearing.

"I think we’re all seeing the city going in a good direction,'' Mayor William Kemerer said.


  1. Workers begin construction in 2010 on what would become Winding Waters K-8. That was the last new public school built in Hernando County, which faces capacity strains as officials ask for impact fee increases to keep up with growth. HERNANDO TODAY PHOTO BY HAYLEY M  |  Hernando Today
    The district first would add classrooms at three existing schools, but could need four new schools by 2039.
  2. A vistor at Harvest Moon Fun Farm's grabs a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch in Masaryktown. ANGELIQUE HERRING  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Things to do for Halloween in Pasco and Hernando counties
  3. Challenger K-8 School students, from left, Jeremy Gonzalez, 13, Jackson Hoyt, 12, Benjamin Harper, 12, and Gianni Labdar, 12, finish meals consisting of fresh salads, quesadillas and nachos during a lunch service on Oct. 15 at the school in Spring Hill during the county's Fresh from Florida Plate Day event. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Starting a farm-to-school initiative has been more complicated than district officials expected.
  4. Disco Freak will perform music from the 1970s in a free concert Oct. 27 at the South Holiday Library. Pasco County Libraries
    Things to do in Pasco and Hernando counties
  5. Hernando County sheriff’s sergeant  Louis “Lou” Genovese died Saturday after struggling for weeks with an undisclosed medical condition, according to the Sheriff's Office. He was 41. HERNANDO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE  |  Hernando County Sheriff's Office
    Sergeant Louis “Lou” Genovese, a deputy since 2006, was 41.
  6. Hernando County community news Tara McCarty
    News and notes from Hernando County
  7. Dr. Manjusri Vennamaneni (center) was awarded Businesswoman of the Year by the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce. With her are Matt Romeo, President of PrimeCare (left), and Dr. Pariksith Singh, CEO, Access Health Care Physicians. Vince Vanni
    News and notes on local businesses
  8. Spring Hill First United Methodist Church treasurer Theresa Smith and her daughter, Chelsea, hand out treats to children last October during the church’s Trunk or Treat event. First United Methodist Church Spring Hill
  9. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2018) Hernando County School District office, 919 N Broad St., Brooksville
    Hernando County debates the pros and cons of superintendent John Stratton’s recommendation.
  10. The 53rd-annual Rattlesnake Festival will be held Oct. 19-20 at the Pasco County Fairgrounds in Dade City. The weekend event, kicks off with a prelude concert featuring the Bellamy Brothers on Friday, and raises money for the Thomas Promise Foundation. The foundation provides meals for Pasco County school children who do not have regular access to nutritional meals on weekends when school is not in session. "LUIS SANTANA  |  TIMES"  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The annual festival offers a family-friendly outing while raising money to feed school children in need.