The Pasco County Commission has adopted a new budget for fiscal year 2021-2022, which includes an increase of $106 million in general fund expenditures.
“The county realized a 10.8% increase in taxable assessed values the past year,” said Robert Goehig, the county’s budget director.
Goehig identified some of items included in this year’s budget:
- A wage increase for board and constitutional officer employees
- Bringing Fire Station No. 3 and Fire Station No. 9 online. Adding a second rescue unit at Fire Rescue Station 30
- Adding a veterans service officer
- Adding positions in the planning and zoning divisions
- Reaching the recommended reserve level of 16.7% of budgeted expenditures.
Not on that list, however, was full funding for a request by Nikki Alvarez-Sowles, who is Pasco County’s clerk and comptroller.
In previous discussions, the clerk said her office has been covering expenses, which, by law, are the obligation of the county.
In essence, she said her office has been subsidizing the county.
The clerk maintains she is just asking for what she is entitled to, by state law.
During the public comment portion of the hearing, three speakers urged the county board to step up to cover those costs.
The county has agreed to provide the funding, but only 40% of it this year.
In previous discussions, County Administrator Dan Biles said paying the full amount in a single year is too big of an ask.
During the budget hearing, however, Commissioner Christina Fitzpatrick made a motion calling upon the county to cover the entire cost.
Her motion failed, for lack of a second.
In action earlier in the day, the county board:
- Approved a request by Pasco County Fire Rescue for emergency authorization to purchase $627,481 worth of equipment to enable the department’s personnel to safely respond to needs of COVID-19 patients. Items include patient lifts, infection control airway bags, specialized aerosolized nebulizers, safety goggles and others. The expenditures will be paid for with Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.
- Approved $865,000 for the purchase of library books, resource subscriptions and other items by Pasco County Libraries for fiscal year 2022.
- Held the first reading on a change to the land development code relating to solar facilities, in response to state legislation. Under the change, solar facilities shall be allowed as a principal use in all agricultural zoning categories and as a special exceptions use in commercial/light manufacturing, light industrial and general industrial categories. The second and final hearing is scheduled for Oct. 12.
- Approved an amendment to the county’s land development code to change the planned alignment for Tyndall Road, in the Villages of Pasadena Hills, and to make changes relative to administrative review fees in the special planning area.
- Approved renaming water and wastewater service impact fees to instead call them connection fees. At the same time, the board approved increasing the charges associated with the connection fees and moving the fee schedule out of the land development code. The new connection fees call for an increase of $499, phased in over four years, for water and sewer connections; and an increase of $475, also phased in over four years, for water, sewer and reclaimed water connections. The last time the rates were modified was 2006.
Published October 06, 2021