Hendry Commissioners Hold Budget Workshops - Now Ready For Public Comment
LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry County Board of County Commissioners met on August 18th and19th at a public workshop to work on the 2009-2010 county budget. The Commissioners were looking for a 10% decrease in the budget across the board from both the general fund and from the constitutional officers.
As a result of cost cutting measures by the Board, for the second year, Hendry county employees will not receive any cost of living increases, raises or bonuses. Commissioner Tris Chapman said, ''Call me old fashioned, but when property values decline by 10% as they have on average this year, our constituents should see a 10% decrease in their property taxes."
Hendry C0unty Commissioners as well as all elected officials receive a state mandated salary, based on county population. They could elect to voluntarily give back a portion to the county if they desired, in lieu of a wage cut.
One area under consideration is the cost of employee health insurance benefits. Employees would be asked to take on a greater share of the costs for their insurance benefits. Commissioner Kevin McCarthy stated that health insurance is a huge issue and must remain affordable.
Constitutional officers, the Clerk of Court, and County Property Appraiser, also worked to reduce their budgets by the suggested cuts. The Commissioners expressed a desire for consistency in the budget process as opposed to only asking one part of the government to cut their costs. Commissioner Janet Taylor expressed her appreciation for the hard work done by her fellow Commissioners and staff in reviewing the budget and finding areas to reduce costs.
The workshop discussions continued on August 25th regarding the Hendry County Sheriff's budget. The Sheriff committed to saving money wherever he could to reduce his budget. Insurance is an area he will be looking into to make some additional adjustments. Commissioner Harris conveyed his appreciation for the excellent job staff did in restoring the $2.7 million the Commissioners borrowed from the Disaster Relief fund used to balance the FY 2009 budget.
The first public hearing on the proposed 2010 budget is scheduled for September 3rd at 5:15 p.m. in the Clewiston City hall located at 115 W. Ventura. The second public hearing is scheduled for September 22nd at 5:15 p.m. in the Hendry County Courthouse in LaBelle. For further information please call 863-675-5264.