County faces tough fiscal choices

Property values in Leon County have plummeted by an eye popping $1 billion over the past year, and the county government, which relies on property tax- dollars is projecting a whopping $18 million deficit for the 2009 budget.

Assistant County Administrator Alan Rosenzweig, stated that they are in search of early guidance with the development of this years’ upcoming budget.

The budget seems insurmountable but in order to balance the budget, county commissioners will have to decide on cutting programs and projects, raising taxes or fees and dipping into fund balances.

Whenever a deficit occurs, major decisions have to be made that may be detrimental to the county or to the people who live in there. 

Possible cuts could include mosquito control and animal control, support for health clinics for the poor and a further reduction in library hours.

If the county decides to make up for the loss in property taxes with a property-tax hike, it would have to raise the rate about 55 cents for every $1,000 of property value.

If this does occur, residents in Leon County would probably have lots of angry citizens with lots of questions.

The county could use money from fund balances to come up with $8.8 million.

New fire-services fees could net the county about $5 million. 

Leon County is in the middle of its worst financial deficit.

With moral decisions that are thoroughly analyzed, it’s best the U.S. and Leon County not be hasty in its decision making and make sure to consider the people in order to overcome issues.

Mike King for the Editorial Board.