Hernando County commissioners lean toward a 14 percent property tax rate increase

Hernando County property owners could see a 14 percent increase in their property tax rate this year to begin to resolve the county’s budget deficit.

County commissioners on Tuesday were leaning toward the tax increase over other suggestions made by County Administrator Jeff Rogers for digging out of their $10 million financial hole.images

By state law, the County administrator must present the commission with a balanced budget proposal by July 15, so he gave commissioners three options during Tuesday’s special meeting. In addition to the 1 mill increase in the general fund property tax rate, increasing it to 7.8912 mills, he also suggested a utility rate increase or cuts largely focused on the county’s libraries.

Rogers said he needed to know on Tuesday whether commissioners were considering the so-called payments in lieu of franchise fees. The payments essentially would charge county utility customers to lease the land their water and sewer lines run through, even though the county already controls those properties.

Hernando County’s budget reserve is so deeply depleted, the county will have to borrow money to pay its bills into the new fiscal year that starts on Oct. 1. Rogers said the county may have to do the same again next year.

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