Thursday, Jan 29, 2015

Elected officers submit budgets

Published:   |   Updated: June 15, 2014 at 12:35 PM

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— Now that all five of Hernando’s elected constitutional officers have submitted their 2014-15 financial proposals, it is up to George Zoettlein to crunch numbers and prepare a balanced county budget.

Zoettlein, assistant county administrator of budget and business development, said there are no glaring surprises this year but, as always, he anticipates lively debate when budget talks begin next month.

“We will see where we are with revenues vs. expenses and I will meet with the constitutional officers,” Zoettlein said.

He has until July 15 to present a proposed balanced budget to county commissioners.

Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis, whose budget is the largest among the five elected officials, submitted a $42.76 million budget that includes a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for employees below the rank of lieutenant.

Nienhuis’ request is $1.6 million — or 4 percent — higher than last year’s budget.

Here is a breakdown of the other constitutional officers’ budgets:

♦ Supervisor of Elections Shirley Anderson is asking for $955,412, a $91,207 increase over her current budget.

♦ Tax Collector Sally Daniel is asking for $1.89 million, an increase of $10,000 from this year.

♦ Circuit Court Clerk Don Barbee is requesting $1.87 million, up $41,250 from his current budget.

♦ Property Appraiser John Emerson’s budget is more complex because it is distributed to the general fund and other taxing districts. Calculating only the general fund portion, Emerson’s submitted budget request is $2.13 million, a reduction of $45,590 from the current year.

Zoettlein said he was hoping for more revenue from the property appraiser’s good faith estimates that came out last month showing Hernando’s taxable value was $7 billion in calendar year 2013 — higher than in recent years.

Adding in $50 million in new construction results in an increase of 1.42 percent from calendar year 2012’s property value.

In real numbers, that equates to about $643,562 in added revenue for county coffers. While that sounds nice, Zoettlein said, it doesn’t get the county where it needs to be, especially when dealing with a $90 million general fund budget.

Emerson will release his certified taxable values July 1, which might reflect better numbers, Zoettlein said.

(352) 544-5290

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