County passes budget

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Staff Report

The Levy County Commission passed an austere $63,854,262 budget for the coming year and kept the property tax millage at 7.4212.

Approval of the budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 came during a special meeting held Monday at the county courthouse in Bronson.

"It was a very well thought out document," County Coordinator Fred Moody said. "All the constitutional officers were cooperative and we avoided layoffs and cuts in services.

"But this will be a tight budget year and next year will be an even tighter budget year."

He said the county will have to be careful in its spending and be budget conscious at all times.

The county has instituted a hiring freeze and, in past meetings, Moody has planted the seed of an idea for considering 4-day work weeks.

The drop in ad valorem property taxes has been the biggest hit to the budget, Moody said. The drop is due to decreasing property and home values and the cuts implemented with the passage of Amendment 1.

He said the Clerk of Court Danny Shipp's budget has also taken a hit this year. "There are not a lot of land transactions so there's not a lot of fees being collected to support that office," Moody said.

Along with that, the county has also seen a drop in building and zoning permit fees it collects. Fuel taxes and sales taxes are also down.

"Fuel taxes are way down but and that will affect our ability to pursue some projects," he said. "But that won't hamper us on smaller in-house projects and maintenance, limbing and trimming."

He said the cooperative effort among all county agencies and constitutional officers helped with meeting the budget constraints.