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Sunday, Mar 29, 2015

Final budget hearing set for Tuesday


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BROOKSVILLE - County commissioners will meet for the second and final time Tuesday to discuss the 2013-14 budget and it should be pretty much a slam dunk now that the sheriff has proposed returning $700,000 to county coffers.

That money will close the projected $550,000 shortfall and then some.

Two weeks ago, commissioners approved a tax rate hike of 6.9169 mills but asked staff to come back Sept. 24 with revenue-producing alternatives. A mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 in taxable value.

Enter Sheriff Al Nienhuis, who last week fired off an email to the media and county board members saying he would return unspent funds to the county.

Assistant county administrator of Budget and Business Development George Zoettlein said Friday he doesn't expect any major surprises Tuesday. The commissioners know about the sheriff's action and all that needs to be done is adopt a millage rate and budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Citizen input, he said, will be welcome.

The budget hearing will begin at 5:01 p.m. Tuesday at the Hernando County Government Center, 20 North Main St. in downtown Brooksville.

But before that hearing takes place, county commissioners will hold their regular meeting at 9 a.m. at the same location.

On the agenda:

County commissioners will present a resolution honoring Community Relations Coordinator Brenda Frazier, who is retiring after 37 years with the county.

The board will discuss a license agreement with the Southeast Area Motor Coach Association, which has been operating its annual rally at the airport for 15 years.

The association has been undergoing changes, and members want to operate under an annual license agreement and lease the storage building at the airport for the entire year.

It is estimated the airport's revenue will increase up to $14,100 annually. Rental of the storage building is $12,000. Rally participants will be charged $3 per motor coach.

.The Little Rock Cannery is back in the spotlight. Two weeks ago, the board discussed the lease agreement set to expire Sept. 30 with Auro Community Cannery Inc., operators of the facility at 15487 Citrus Way, north of Brooksville.

Commissioners Tuesday will discuss terminating that lease.

The cannery has been closed pending alternative arrangements for its continued operation.

Termination of the lease with Auro resulted in Hernando County taking over the operating expenses of the cannery building, including utilities and insurance.

Staff estimates the cost of operating that building, not including personnel, capital or major repairs and maintenance, is about $1,000 per month.

The board has agreed to keep it open until the end of the year, giving time for cannery supporters to draft a business plan and take over the facility themselves.

To view the agendas and staff reports for both meetings, visit http ://hernandocountyfl

(352) 544-5290

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