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No New Taxes, Sheriff Gets $1.2 Mil, Stand-In Commish Says HCSO Budget Process “Systemically Incoherent”

HERNANDO – The $1.2 million dollar battle is over and residents won’t face new taxes; at least not this year, after the Board of County Commissioners finally granted the Sheriff’s budget request, and voted no on a new Municipal Services Taxing Unit (MSTU).

Chairman Wayne Dukes opened today’s BOCC meeting, by stating “The sheriff applied for $1.7 million. At that point we needed a source to find it because the taxes weren’t there.” Dukes claimed that legal advisors said the money could come out of reserves again or “ultimately” an MSTU.”

Dukes turned to stand-in Commissioner John Mitten and asked if he would consider an MSTU; Mitten said “At this point no, and I have reasons for that.” Commissioners John Allocco swiftly agreed, as did Commissioner Steve Champion, leaving Commissioner Nicholson to dissent.

That quickly closed discussion on raising taxes and Dukes said “the item is finished.”

Comm. Mitten explained at the conclusion of the vote “For me the process of how we got her is troubling at times and for most of you. I had one week to prepare for this and I find that the this is the 3rd time in a year and a half that we’ve addressed MSTU, and I believe each time without the sheriff recognizing it until it’s been put on notice publicly – certainly at the last second.” Mitten chastised the Board by stating, “I find that systemically incoherent to do that sort of a process…Mitten goes on to say “I would very much recommend and ask that when that occurs that we have open dialogue over a period of time.”

Dukes responded, “I believe in my heart that it will never be mentioned as long as this board is here.”

Dukes moved on to the Sheriff’s Budget request and once again asked Mitten if he would consider a motion to approve the request. Before Dukes could finish his question Mitten stated “I would make that motion.” The crowd broke out into cheers and applause at Mitten’s quick response but Dukes said “Well lets don’t get that far, let everybody have their discussion first and then I’ll come back to you.” Once again the crowd burst into laughter and cheers as Mitten responded “That’s pretty much my discussion.”  Allocco seconded the motion and Champion who said “For the record, every single meeting this year I’ve brought up to this board to resolve this issue with the sheriff. So I believe we are doing the right thing.” Commissioner Nick Nicholson asked Budget Management Analyst Pamela Lee step to the podium, where he asked Lee to explain where the money was coming from. Lee stated “We feel comfortable with taking the 1.2 from what we project to be our balance forward from the year end close.” Lee explained that the money will be in the form of a resolution and not considered a withdrawal from the reserves.Dukes put a damper on the celebration when he warned the commission that there are still budget issues with Hernando County Fire Rescue. Dukes said “Next year when the sheriff comes back with the same budget, we can’t take it out of reserves, we can’t always wait for a mid-year adjustment. The option is, and you know what that is – raise taxes.” Allocco responded, “I’m looking forward to not having these battles so that we can focus on economic development in this county and that will solve a lot of these problems.”

In the statement to RNRF regarding the Board’s decision, Sheriff Nienhuis said “I want to thank everyone who supports the men and women of the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

I have to express a SPECIAL THANK YOU to those of you who have supported us during my recent budget appeal. It appears as though it has been resolved – because of your support.

Your response was amazing and humbling.

Thank you is inadequate to express how much your support means to each of us at the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

We promise to never take that for support granted and we will do our very best to never intentionally let you down.”

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  • Congratulations Sheriff! You’ve fought for this for YEARS!

    Wednesday, 29 March 2017, 10:56 am
  • The Sheriff always wants more and more money for his department my wife works for the county her department does not get that much every time they get a raise the insurance goes up

    Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 9:00 pm
  • Do them new undercover unmarked cars come out of the 1.2 mil or was that from a previous purchase ?
    How do HCSO protect and serve. By hiding in unmarked cars.

    Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 7:35 pm
    • The unmarked cars serve in an important way. As a crossing guard in this county , I swear every other car speeds, if they see a marked car they slow down. The unmarked cars also serve in many other ways. Are you jealous of the nice cars unmarked

      Wednesday, 29 March 2017, 9:54 am
    • We need more unmarked cars!!! People drive like nuts around here!

      Wednesday, 29 March 2017, 10:53 am
      • But they dont pull them over.

        Friday, 31 March 2017, 11:14 am
  • Thanks, Tom, for fixing the article, can’t get good AUTO CORRECT nowadays!! LOL

    Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 6:42 pm
      • @ Steve, the voters did have a say in what happens to potential tax increases, decreases, or other important decisions that the Board of County Commissioner’s has to make. We, the voters elected them to make said decisions on our behalf. If we’re unhappy with their decision making, we have the right to support other candidates in future elections.

        Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 8:17 pm
  • Read it for yourself. Page 65…Hernando County has 38% reserves and a AAA credit rating.Tax increase? Nope…time for a millage CUT!

    Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 6:09 pm
    • Sorry…page 63 and there are 33% reserves. My mistake. Still WAY too high! 😉

      Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 7:31 pm
  • This ‘can’t take it out of the reserves’ talk is a lie. It is standard practice for counties across Florida to hold NO MORE that 18-22% of their budgets in reserve. According to the online document ‘Hernando County Approved Budget Fiscal Year 2017, (page 65), we presently hold over 38% of our annual budget in reserves. Not only are they lying to us about not being able to take the Sheriff’s requested amount out of reserves next year, they certainly can…and,in fact, they won’t be required to raise taxes in order to do so. In addition, there is no doubt that this reserve fund could have been used in the future by the ‘good ole boys’ to shoo their pals into cushy positions, fund projects bidded out to their buddies, raise their own salaries county-wide… etc ad nauseum… Congrats to the Sheriff for sticking to his guns. And to the people who backed him as well. Imagine what COULD have happened in a county with 1) a huge slush fund available for the goobers to tap into and 2) a Sheriff unable to uphold the laws here because said goobers had him hamstrung with their budgetary maneuvers!

    Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 6:05 pm
  • Better get ready to open up the check book even further as the Federal Government is going to cut off funds to the Sheriff’s Office until they decide to adhere to Federal Law, According to the Department of Homeland Security Hernando County is a Sanctuary City

    Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 6:02 pm
  • Thanks Sheriff for doing a Fantastic job, you will have my vote again.

    Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 5:54 pm
  • Good job bocc the sheriff needs this money to keep us safe

    Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 5:07 pm
  • Yippee! Time to get rid of all the crazies, no excuses! Mitten your a hoot!! Sheriff Nienhuis, spend it wisely….and don’t forget HCFR!

    Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 5:03 pm
  • The people of hernando county should have voted on this … Leaving this up to 4 people is just ridiculous …

    Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 4:50 pm
    • Something that is going to raise our taxes is defiantly a peoples vote, should not be at the hands of any 4 people.

      Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 5:52 pm
    • Lmao! The majority (stupid) of people in this County voted down a HALF cent tax that would have helped schools! I’m glad they gave the Sheriff the money, its about time!!!

      Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 7:25 pm
      • Actually the half cent was approved for the schools and the commissioners were voted in as our representatives for county government. This nation is a representative republic, not a mob-rules democracy.

        Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 10:46 pm
  • Thank the supporting board members for us and keep up the good work!

    Tuesday, 28 March 2017, 4:29 pm

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