by JULIE B. MAGLIO
BROOKSVILLE, Fla.– In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Hernando County administrator Jeff Rogers has placed a hold on hiring with a review for critically needed positions. He has also evaluated the potential economic impacts on the county.
Rogers remarked that the biggest hit areas will be sales tax, tourism and agriculture.
“We have a number of $1.6 million lost to the county general fund for the next three months.”
He said they arrive at this figure by assuming a 50% loss in sales tax revenue, but it could be more than that. They are watching this carefully and remarked that the state does not have any guidance on this.
Rogers stated that the county is predicting a 15% loss in state revenue sharing for the rest of 2020.
He said at this point there isn’t an emergency in county funding, but he warned, “the longer this drags on, the more of an urgency we’re gonna have in the future being able to fund services needed for the county.”
He said they are evaluating impacts to their gas tax funds and commercial solid waste fees.
He estimates a loss of $360,000 in tourism taxes. They will be stopping tourism marketing campaigns in order to make up for this loss.
According to Rogers, the county is also putting in place stricter purchasing policies.
He said that he’s already spent about $100,000 on COVID-19 related expenses. He says that much of it will be reimbursable in the long-term and details on expenses will be placed on a future meeting agenda.
He doesn’t expect reimbursements to be made anytime soon, remarking that it takes at least a year and a half for hurricane reimbursements to come in.