BROOKSVILLE — Sheriff Al Nienhuis announced this week that streamlining efforts within his department, combined with a hurricane season that has thus far been quiet, will allow him to return $800,000 in unspent funds to Hernando County.
Nienhuis said Tuesday in a press release that the department also will return another $415,000 to the county after finding more money from other sources.
Those sources include fees paid by inmates for booking, food and medical costs; investigative costs recovered from criminals; civil fees; contracts with the school board to help fund school resource officers and school crossing guards; and contracts with agencies for dispatching their units.
That additional money, which exceeded budgeted projections by about $100,000, will help offset costs and will help the county as it tries to close its budget deficit, Nienhuis wrote.
George Zoettlein, assistant county administrator of budget and business development, said the sheriff’s announcement of returning unspent funds helps but it doesn’t close the budget gap completely.
“The sheriff is returning $200,000 more than what I estimated in July he would give us back,” Zoettlein said. “Yes, it helps, but I’m still working through the numbers.”
Earlier this year, Nienhuis submitted a $42.8 million budget (4 percent higher than this year’s budget) that includes a 2 percent cost of living raise for employees below the rank of lieutenant.
The first public hearing on the fiscal year 2014-15 budget will be held at 5:01 p.m. Sept. 9. The second is at the same time Sept. 23.
Both will be held at the Hernando County Government Center, 20 North Main St. in downtown Brooksville.