What factors are affecting county revenues?
Pinellas County continues to face significant budget challenges due to the combined effects of the economic recession and the real estate market downturn. The county’s general fund, the county’s largest pot of money, has seen property tax revenues decrease 34 percent or $147 million in the last several years.
In 2007, the Florida Legislature required counties to roll back property tax rates. In Pinellas County, the mandate was not only to roll the tax rate back to what it had been the previous year, but to further reduce expenses by an additional 7 percent, resulting in a $20 million reduction of property tax revenues.
In 2008, voters across the state of Florida approved Amendment One to the Florida Constitution which doubled homestead exemption and further reduced property tax revenues by an additional $35 million.
By 2009, the economic recession was in full swing and revenues dropped yet again as property values took a pounding countywide.
For the years 2010 through 2013, high unemployment and record foreclosures further squeezed the Pinellas County budget.
Our FY14 budget forecast demonstrates that the current levels of service are not sustainable based on the growth trends for our revenue and expenditures. However, we will continue to balance the budget based on the programs and level of services that the citizens of Pinellas want and deserve, within our revenue limitations.