Osceola County budget committee moves forward

Osceola County Board of County commissioners (BCC) moved forward with creation of a Citizens’ Budget Committee to provide recommendations for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2020 spending plan.

The idea was put forward by District 5 Commissioner Fred Hawkins, Jr. in June. The structure of the committee, including the scope, membership and meeting schedule have continued to evolve, to coincide with the presentation of County Manager Don Fisher’s recommended budget to commissioners at 1:30 p.m. today.

“The Osceola County Commission has a strong track record of fiscal responsibility. That is one of the reasons the financial rating organizations have repeatedly lauded our practices and responded with high bond ratings over the last several years -- including Fitch’s AAA (highest possible grade) for our capital improvement revenue bonds in December 2018. However, it is always advantageous to get input from our citizens and I am hopeful this advisory committee will bring back some helpful recommendations,” said Hawkins.

The committee will review and evaluate the overall FY2020 recommended budget. As part of that process, the committee will look at all department budgets. The meeting schedule has been set by staff to accommodate the County’s overall budget process/calendar and also to ensure that all Departments are scheduled for a presentation.

The committee will work with staff but a facilitator (who is a non-voting member of the committee) and members will determine how to process the information it reviews. Any recommendations or suggestions will be forwarded to the board in a written report no later than Aug. 5, which must be submitted by July 31st per the board’s new agenda workflow.

 Five of six appointments have been approved Monday:

  • Facilitator: Tom White, a Centennial Bank executive, who has served on Osceola County Expressway Authority and the Toho Water Authority boards.
  • District 2: Ray Stangle, engineer
  • District 3: Casmore Shaw, educational services
  • District 4: Rev. Mary Lee Downey, CEO, Community Hope Center
  • District 5: Rosser Pace, contractor/project manager

Commissioner Peggy Choudhry was not at the meeting due to illness but is expected to make her District 1 appointment on July 15.

The Committee’s first meeting is scheduled for July 16. The timeframe is constructed so that any feedback from the Budget Committee that the Board of County Commissioners directs to be incorporated into the budget, can be done within the budget process/deadlines without effecting the legally required public notice timeline.

The County’s fiscal year runs Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. TRIM meeting dates have not been adopted. On Monday, staff will recommend September 5th for the first meeting and the 2nd and final TRIM meeting typically happens the week of Sept. 16.

 The county’s proposed FY2020 budget can be found on www.osceola.org under Recommended Budget. The Budget Committee meetings are scheduled for July 16, 18, 23 and 25. More information can be found at https://www.osceola.org/events/.