Lean economic times forced Pinellas County to cut the budget more than $150 million over the last few years, and lay off nearly 1,700 workers.
"I think there's a recognition that in some places, we cut too deeply. We're starting to see the wear and tear as a result of our inability to take care of the potholes in the roads, to respond quickly to neighborhood concerns." says Bob LaSala, Pinellas County Administrator.
So next year's budget calls for $33.2 million in spending. It also calls for a 2.8 percent pay raise for county workers, which would be their first raise in five years.
"We've done a market survey looking at what it takes to keep the people we have and to attract bright people to fill the jobs of all those retiring." says Bob LaSala, Pinellas County Administrator.
To pay for it, along with services, the county wants to raise property taxes, with a slight increase to the millage rate by .2650.
"Pinellas County helps us so much and I think 5 years is long enough to be frozen. It's frustrating if you're in a profession and your wages get frozen." Josie Lindert says.
But some homeowners are still hurting, and say the county needs to find a different way to pay for the increases.
"They need to figure that out. Don't tax the home owners that are paying their mortgage and then try to sell their house are $100,000 in debt. Government's gotta job to do. We pay them out of taxpayer's money. That's what they ought to do." Jay Warren says.
The County Commission will be discussing the proposed pay raises and the rest of the budget, including proposed property tax increases at a public work session next Tuesday.
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