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Tempers flare as Hillsborough Commission discusses executive pay raises listen

06/18/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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A week after it was reported that some of Hillsborough County Administrator Pat Bean’s top assistants received raises, the issue was revisited again today by County Commissioner Kevin Beckner.

Saying he wanted to control his anger, the freshman lawmaker said he needed more understanding about why such an issue happened at a time when Commissioners are dealing with a deficit of more than $100 million that could lead to more than 500 employees being laid off.

Beckner called for an in...

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Ken Welch on Pinellas economy, listen

06/16/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Pinellas County Commissioners are conducting their public hearing portion of their meeting this afternoon.

Over the weekend, WMNF spoke with Commissioner Ken Welch about the economic woes Pinellas is undergoing. He says the county is staring at a deficit of at least $110 million.

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Hillsborough honcho gets backlash over raises for staffers listen

06/11/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Hillsborough County Adminstrator Pat Bean got a smackdown today at a county budget hearing today regarding recent pay raises for some of her top assistants.

It came as the Commission met to try to find a way to cut $144 million from next year’s budget. It also came a day and a half after hundreds of citizens packed the County’s chambers begging that certain services not be cut next year.

Commissioner Kevin Beckner brought the issue up, which was first reported in today’s *St. Pete...

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Florida Virtual School supporters worry about funding listen

04/21/09 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Not all students in Florida take all of their courses in a classroom. Many take some or all of their classes online through the Florida Virtual School. But some supporters gathered in Tallahassee today to ask state Legislature not to cut millions of dollars of funding from the online program.

Pam Birtolo, chief learning officer at Florida Virtual School, spoke with WMNF before the rally.

Florida Virtual School

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Hillsborough budget process analyzed listen

03/31/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Officials with Hillsborough County announced earlier this month that decreasing property taxes would leave a huge deficit for next fiscal year, possibly more than $100 million. County Administrator Pat Bean said the reduced revenue could lead to 1,000 layoffs in the county, an admission which stunned some Commissioners and led to a heated discussion about how the County Commission ultimately works.

Leading off the discussion was county Budget Director Eric Johnson, who had little positive ...

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Hillsborough Commissioner: Let's talk about the budget now listen

03/04/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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Tuesday night, the Pinellas County Commission held a public hearing where local citizens could weigh in on how the county should deal with spending cuts that will have to be made as they prepare next fiscal year’s budget.

In Hillsborough, County Commissioner Al Higgenbotham says its incumbent for the government to be vigilant and do whatever it can to help the local citizenry in these challenging economic times.

So Higgenbotham today was able to cajole other board members to get a bud...

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Pinellas seeks input on how to trim local government

03/02/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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The Pinellas Board of County Commissioners plans to cut at least 20 percent from its overall general fund for the next fiscal year, which begins in October.

Because of that, the Board is hosting public hearings unusually early in the budgeting process this year, beginning tomorrow night in Palm Harbor.

Mary Burrell is a spokeswoman for Pinellas County. She says these early meetings are a little unusually early this year, but that’s because the cuts will be substantial.

The County C...

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Hillsborough Commissioners discuss dismal budget scenario listen

02/11/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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Hillsborough County Commissioners began the first of many public workshops they will conduct on their fiscal year ’09 budget today – and the news was sobering.

Kevin Brickey, an economist with the county, said with the housing market continuing to deteriorate, economic forecasts are more difficult than ever before. And he listed statistics on dropping home prices in the area and the state from a variety of sources.

But existing sale have actually gone up in recent months, due to the...

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Hillsborough proposes creating economic stimulus task force listen

01/07/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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As all indications are that the local economy will get worse before it gets better, the Hillsborough County Commission today voted to create an economic stimulus task force to try to bring new jobs to the county. The idea was proposed by Board Chairman Ken Hagen.

Hagen said ideally the task force would be made up of no more than 10 to 20 people that would come back before the board in two to three months.

Earlier this week, Gov. Charlie Crist announced his Economic Stimulus Plan that ...

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Will Egmont Key lose its state park designation? listen

12/22/08 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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Egmont Key State Park is a one-square-mile island located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, offshore of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and Ft. DeSoto. Because of Florida's budget shortfalls, the state parks department is considering saving $140,000 by cutting funding for the rangers who run the Egmont Key State Park.

But environmental activists, including Lorraine Margeson, want it to remain a state park. Margeson said royal terns can nest on Egmont Key...

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