Hillsborough County Government Prepares for Major Budget Cuts

06/06/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

As big property tax cuts are contemplated in Tallahassee, Hillsborough County Administrator Pat Bean told the County Commission what those cuts could mean to the County's budget.

As she detailed in a news conference last week, Bean says that even under the most modest proposal offered by the state Senate, that could mean postponing 10 fire stations and the expansion of 7 libraries.

The most draconian plan would be one in which Bean said the County would need to make $217 million in cuts (roll tape#1 o.q."with that plan")

Bean compared that other possible proposals - one in which she said would trim $46 million from the County's budget, and another that would eliminate $108 million dollars. (roll tape#2 o.q."affecting services")

County Commissioner Mark Sharpe said that the perils that the County may be under soon compels them, regardless of how significant the dent is to their budget - to begin looking at virtually every department in the County Government, to see how to make it more efficient (roll tape#3 o.q."just discussed")

Sharpe suggested the County conduct a workshop to take a transformative way of delivering government.

County Administrator Pat Bean said her department has already been examining how to streamline how the government is organized.

Commissioner Ken Hagen chastised the state legislature for, in his words, wanting to have their cake and eat it too. He said the legislature is cutting their budget by only 3%, yet is demanding that local governments cut their budgets by as much as 25%. (roll tape#4 o.q."by some in the legislature")

But as a new poll shows a majority of Floridians WANT a property tax cut - preferably a 'major' one, County Commissioner Brian Blair said the cuts to local governments were perhaps being exaggerated (roll tape#5 o.q."great things")

The County Commission canceled a proposed discussion that was to be held tomorrow to discuss the ramifications of a proposed property tax cut - since the legislature has not actually came up with specifics of those potential cuts.

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