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Sheriff Nienhuis Says Chairman Nicholson Unwilling to Meet – Releases Budget Proposal

HERNANDO – The unstable fault line between the Sheriff’s Office and Board of County Commissioners appears to be widening again, after Sheriff Al Nienhuis says attempts to speak with Chairman Nick Nicholson regarding his FY2016 budget proposal went unanswered.As a result, Nienhuis released the following letter, video, and portions of his proposal to the public this afternoon.

Dear Chairman Nicholson:

My desire is always to maintain transparent and productive communication regarding matters of mutual concern. Therefore, it would have been my preference to review this exciting proposal with you in person. Unfortunately, after several attempts on my part, it is apparent that you are unwilling to meet.

Nonetheless, I think you would agree that there is no more important issue for the citizens of Hernando County than the proper expenditure of tax dollars to ensure public safety. Toward that end, I have some exciting news that I believe will adequately fund my modest and necessary budget increase and, at the same time, allow the BOCC to provide a slight decrease (0.0384) to the current millage (tax) rate. This is a potential savings of almost $300,000 for our citizens.

I, in the interest of being completely transparent, would like to address some facts that should help us avoid unnecessary acrimony, misconceptions, and, most importantly, unnecessary cuts to law enforcement and detention services during Thursday’s hearing.

It is quite clear from information available via public sources that Hernando County will be benefitting from increased revenue for the upcoming budget year. In fact, property tax revenue will increase approximately $1,734,607.84 , sales tax revenue is expected to increase by approximately $493,882 , and revenue sharing increases will total about $284,565 .

This good news means that for the upcoming budget year the County will have approximately $2,513,055 in additional revenue with which to work. This provides the Board of County Commissioners with a tremendous opportunity for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, an opportunity that was apparently missed at the Board meeting on July 28th.

Despite the modest and necessary increases requested by the Sheriff’s Office, the aforementioned increased revenues actually allow for funding all our requested needs and still allow for a modest decrease to the millage (tax) rate. As an example, per your own Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Sheriff’s Office customarily accounts for around 42% of the County’s general fund budget.

If that be the case, it would be appropriate for the Sheriff’s Office to receive that percentage of the County’s additional revenue, or about $1,055,483.03 . Combining those funds with the substantial amount of revenues and excess fees from my FY2015 budget, which we expect to equal $800,000, provides the Board with more than enough to cover the bottom line Sheriff’s Office increase identified by your own OMB to be $1,571,122 . In fact, this plan leaves $284,361.03 to fund other budget needs or, better yet, provide a slight tax rate decrease to the citizens of Hernando County.

To summarize:

Budgeted General Fund Tax Revenue Increase $2,513,055

(with no millage increase)

Sheriff’s historical % of above revenue (42% per OMB) $1,055,483

Sheriff’s Estimated Revenues and Excess fees $800,000

Total Revenue typically allotted to the Sheriff’s budget $1,855,483

(by policy/practice)

Sheriff’s Requested Increase (per OMB) $1,571,122

Excess Revenue for potential Tax Cut

(0.0384 mill reduction) $284,361

This plan, it is important to note, also leaves the usual 58% of this new revenue, in the amount of $1,457,571.81 to fund increases for the other Constitutional Officers and/or the Board.

I hope that this information assists you and the Board in reaching a responsible budget outcome, one that will serve the citizens well—both in the provision of needed funding for important public services and the consideration of returning money to them in the form of a cut in their tax rate. This is an opportunity for the Board to display the transparency that is frequently mentioned during public meetings.

As I stated in my budget submission letter, under my leadership the Sheriff’s Office is committed to ensuring the citizens of Hernando County are afforded the most effective and efficient law enforcement, detention, court, emergency management, and animal enforcement, as well as emergency and non-emergency dispatch services possible.

My budget submission reflects that philosophy by focusing on addressing mandated cost increases, while at the same time my staff works diligently to increase efficiency and save money so as to maximize our annual return of revenues and excess fees to the County. Please see my budget letter for more information on the mandatory increases in my budget, increases that equate to about 1.9%, assuming I return about a week’s worth of FY2015 revenues and excess fees.

I am excited to offer this solution to meet the budget needs of our growing county next fiscal year and I look forward to your leadership in seizing this opportunity for good government rather than unnecessary controversy. I, along with my staff, am always available to discuss these issues in more detail and look forward to providing you and the public a budget overview on Thursday evening.


Al Nienhuis


The following are cited sources for information provided in letter to county commissioners.

Worksheet labeled “County Taxable Value History” at

Obtained by subtracting the FY2015 taxable value from the FY2016 taxable value, multiplying this number by 6.9912 and dividing the result by 1000

The number listed on page 66 (or .pdf page 74 of 296) at

Subtracted from the number on page 4 of 11 at

The number listed on Page 37 (or pdf page 45 of 296) at

from the number listed on page 1 of 2 at

Page 26 of 799 (.pdf) at

Page 23 of 671 (.pdf) at

Page 9 of 587 (.pdf) at

Pages 350 and 394 of 663 (.pdf) at

$2,513,055 X 42%

Page 283 of 533 (.pdf) at

A BOCC meeting is scheduled at 5:01 p.m. Thursday at the Commissioners Chambers inside the Hernando County Courthouse.

RNRF attempted to contact Commissioner Nicholson at his office this afternoon but we have not received a reply.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ™2013 – 2015 Real News Real Fast, Inc.



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  • Wanna save a couple of bucks???….end having all deputies take his/ her cruiser home….then have deputies have partners….do you know how much a new fully equipped police car cost???….No need for a cruiser for every deputy. .

    Saturday, 5 September 2015, 10:23 pm
  • @Dennis Purdy, I applaud you. You are 100% correct.

    Saturday, 5 September 2015, 12:57 pm
  • What they said yeah tax weed takes care of alot of those problems. GO VOTE Rastafari have a safe weekend alcohol kills.

    Friday, 4 September 2015, 3:35 pm
  • Hey Nicholson,,,,remember you are voted in…. I assure you,,, you won’t recieve this vote. After watching that meeting, Nicholson is one rude jackass. What a bunch of good ole boy rhetoric from a bunch of talking head ass-clowns!!! C’mon Hernando voters,,, certainly we can do better than that! So far, I have only seen the Sheriff stand up and present facts. The Kangaroo court only presents uninformed opinion to protect their special interest pet projects.

    Friday, 4 September 2015, 2:08 pm
  • Frankly, I don’t see a meeting between the Sheriff and a commissioner as being consistant with at least the spirit of the Florida Sunshine Laws. The sheriff can go before the commission at a regularly scheduled meeting, just like the rest of us.

    Friday, 4 September 2015, 11:12 am
  • Commissioner Nickolson is castrated coward! How disrespectful for you to blow off the Sheriff of Hernando County, esp when its dealing with the greater good of the citizens of our county. After all this is your Job you F-In idiot! You should be fired. Your a disgrace to our county Goverment and the position you hold. Enjoy your position, you can count on this being your LAST term.

    Thursday, 3 September 2015, 10:59 pm
  • @Dont Short Change the Sheriff’s Department says….. The crime rate is already sky high. Throwing more money at HCSO would be like throwing your money in the toilet. How about we hire respectable deputies who dont make up the rules as they go and get rid of the unacceptable ones in HCSO.

    Thursday, 3 September 2015, 9:41 pm
  • he tryed to charge me 10 thousand for engineer work and when i went else where it was only 2500.00..JERK

    Thursday, 3 September 2015, 6:15 pm
  • I guess most of your viewers slept through their math and economics classes.
    Example: If you have one house valued at $100,000. and the millage rate is .05%, the tax collected is $5,,000. If you have two houses valued at $100,000. and the millage rate is .05%, the tax collected is $10,000. Sheriff Nienhus explains that he can decrease the percentage he will need because the county will now collect taxes from two houses instead of one.

    Thursday, 3 September 2015, 3:01 pm
    • Becky,
      When it comes to figuring the dollars of taxes due on a particular millage rate, here’s how it’s done.

      Using your figures: $100,000 x millage rate of .05 = $5.00
      (percent sign is not part of the equation)

      For every $1,000, you pay so much based on the rate.

      So, for a property assessed at $100,000, you multiply the millage rate by 100 to get your figure.

      Thursday, 3 September 2015, 4:16 pm
      • YUP! You are right on!

        Thursday, 3 September 2015, 6:50 pm
  • 60000 plus a year for a county commissioner,good part time job

    Thursday, 3 September 2015, 6:27 am
    • AMEN! Would great for even a full time job! Most of our County Commissioners need replaced!

      Thursday, 3 September 2015, 6:47 pm
  • If we give the sherriffs office more money, can we expect them to do their jobs and not be a bunch of cowboys? Clean house, sheriff first, unruly deputies next.

    Thursday, 3 September 2015, 12:34 am
  • Has there ever been an accounting of the city/county share of the revenue from Red Light Camera’s? I would like to see a breakdown of how these monies were divided up and how they were used in Hernando County over the years.

    Thursday, 3 September 2015, 12:32 am
    • The money was not for the county of Hernando….the money was for the City of Brooksville so County Commissioners and other County Entities did not receive a dime. Only City of Brooksville entities received money.

      Thursday, 3 September 2015, 2:07 pm
    • The red light camera project money only benefits the City of Brooksville. Indirectly it costs us, the State of Florida taxpayers, money to litigate each disputed case that is brought to court in the 5th District.

      Thursday, 3 September 2015, 6:32 pm
  • How about using some of the surplus for our understaffed schools ?

    Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 10:51 pm
  • BS. Whats the extra 1 mil for ? If you operated with less than that last yr why the increase and so much ? I didn’t see a list of expenditures in a few of the links I checked out. More importantly use that money for the schools, update the parks for the kids, etc not the cops.
    That whole bs letter did NOT explain a fricken thing for the increase. He just wants more $$$ since there is more money. You all retards.

    Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 10:27 pm
    • B Rebel…..that is an idiotic statement…..First of all, the school system does not need anymore money dumped into it until there is an investigation into their funds and how they are used because that is the biggest misappropriation of taxpayer dollars. Second of all, we need to increase the size of the sheriff’s department staff. The crime is getting worse and by short changing the sheriff’s budget, you take deputies off the road and crime will get worse. As far as updating the parks, that is a waste of money too. We dont need to pay county employees to hang out at parks doing”maintenance”.

      Thursday, 3 September 2015, 2:05 pm
  • So people lets make a change for the better!! Why?? Here is a start…
    “I love this county and it has always been my home. The Champion family has been in Brooksville since the 1930’s. As a child I grew up in Brooksville before moving to Fort Lauderdale at the age of 12. I built a successful career with one of the largest retailers in the country. I held several key upper management roles.  In 2008 I realized my dream of returning to Hernando County and in 2013 decided to open a business down the street from my great grandparent’s home”

    “I’m running for County Commission because the people need a voice. I’m not a Politician; I’m a small business owner and I will work closely with the citizens of our county.  I have a family and know what the people are going through in the county.  Unfortunately we have career politicians in several key positions now.  I have no other intentions other than to make Hernando County the best for the people. I will focus on policies geared around supporting small business and promoting economic growth. “

    “I look forward to meeting the voters in the county and sharing my thoughts and ideas for a stronger Hernando County.  I am committed to working overtime to show the people of the county that I’m their candidate for  Hernando County Commissioner, District 5 “

    Steve Champion has over 23 years’ executive experience leading multimillion dollar retail stores for one of the largest retailers in the US. He has a record of achieving all financial goals which is exactly what is needed in the county.  In 2014 Steve along with his wife Shanda realized their dream of opening American Gun & Pawn in historic Brooksville Florida. Steve & Shanda live in District 5 since 2010, their business is in district 5 and Steve’s family home is also in district 5. Steve has 5 children, Steve’s son Christopher (18) graduate of Nature Coast high just recently enlisted in the US Marine Corps.  Steve Attended Broward Community College in South Florida and in 2003 received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Hamilton University.

    Champion for Hernando….He’s one of us


    Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 9:32 pm
  • So let me get this straight – the TOTAL increase in revenue to the County is $2.5 million and the Sheriff is asking for $2.2 million of that – leaving $0.3 million to Commission. WTF?

    Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 9:11 pm
  • Other county sheriff offices only need 35% of general fund budgets and maintain lower crime rates. But then if you leave any money in the general fund, Sossamon will either misappropriate or givr it to a pedophile.

    Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 8:58 pm
  • That’s Nicks way of dealing with things he doesn’t understand. He treated us the same way with his Engineering Business

    Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 6:35 pm
  • Just fix Nick…

    With a little hair treatment, a voice coach and opera lessons you got a screaming goat with club in the Chairman’s Seat.

    Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 6:32 pm
  • This Hernando County citizen is behind you, Sheriff N., 100%!!!

    Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 6:09 pm
  • Sheriff Al Niehuis should be applauded for his honest and well informed request. Finally, someone who realizes that the current millage (tax) rate at it’s current levels will more than sustain all of Hernando County’s tax requirements because of the increase in empty home and new home sales, in addition to all the new business developments. The Hernando County School Board should take a lesson form Sheriff Al Niehuis.

    Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 6:02 pm
  • Sheriff Nienhuis is an up front class act. The job he has done with what he has had to work with in this county has been nothing short of outstanding. Nick Nicholson on the other hand is a want to be big time political hack. Just what has he and the other tax eaters on the county commission done to for us the people-taxpayers who pay their high wages and benefits? Oh wait, built sidewalks to no-where and supported the one cent sales tax for Hernando increase last year and are behind the half cent for schools today.
    Zero based budgeting for non essential services such as sheriff and fire.

    Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 5:42 pm
    • AMEN! Most of our County Commissioners need to be replaced!

      Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 6:06 pm
    • Don’t forget the THREE cents per gallon raise in the gasoline tax, that was voted on, recently.

      Sunday, 6 September 2015, 7:10 pm

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