A blog dealing with Sarasota County and the City of Sarasota.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sarasota County 2009: Getting By on $43 million less

While I was at the County Commission meeting today Chief Financial Planning Officer Jeff  Seward showed up with some projections about revenue shortfalls anticipated in the coming year. Turns out Mr. Todora is projecting a 17% lower initial assessment on real property. The combined effects of tax cut legislation and these declining property values is estimated to carve $33 million out of next year's budget ( and another $6 million less when you factor in Emergency Management Services -- a fact had a big effect on me even though I didn't fully understand it). They are also projecting about $4 million less in sales tax revenue. So the best guess now is that the County will have $43 million less revenue next year. 

I think that may mean for every eight dollars the county had from property and other taxes last year, it may only have seven this year. That's significant.

People talk about the fat and I suppose there may be some incredible waste and inefficiency somewhere in county government (and I would encourage people that have an eye on some to write to me at jonosarasota@gmail.com).

But my guess is that next year's budget is going way beyond fat to muscle and in some cases, vital organs and bone.  Our local economy is suffering and we need come together and revive it -- not going back to old patterns that made our economy brittle, but forwards towards economic solutions that facilitate watching out for each other: buying locally, building on local strengths, investing locally, and moving towards resilience and sustainability. 

PS When I first drafted this I added wrong and came up with $41 million. It didn't take long to catch that, but the blog had already been posted and I think Sarasota Speaks may stick with the initial filing and not update blog changes.