Sheriff Prendergast a no show, new ordinance will increase taxes

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Sheriff Mike Prendergast, citrus county news, school threats
File photo-Sheriff Mike Prendergast

Citrus County — For years, the budget allocated for the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office has come from the county’s general fund.

The sheriff’s office budget makes up approximately 47 percent of ad valorem taxes collected by the county.

County commissioners voted to hire a legal firm that will draft an ordinance to create a municipal service taxing unit (MSTU).

The MSTU will separate the sheriff’s budget from the county’s ad valorem collections. The MSTU would also make Sheriff Mike Prendergast more accountable to the public since the budget would be more transparent. Prendergast will now have to be very clear about why he wants budget increases, present those requests for public comment, and convince the public that the increase is needed.

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Commissioners will still be responsible for approving the budget.

The MSTU will also increase taxes for Citrus County residents. Every time the sheriff’s office asks for a budget increase and it’s approved, the MSTU will go up. Ergo, your tax bill will increase.

On Monday, April 29, 2024, Commissioners agreed to meet with Prendergast to discuss the budget, however, the sheriff nor his staff bothered to show up to the meeting.

Commissioner Ruthie Schlabach made it clear that Prendergast’s no-show would make negotiations impossible.

Others say this is typical of the sheriff when he doesn’t get his way.

Prendergast has attempted to make it appear to the public that commissioners do not support the sheriff, but Schlabach said that is the farthest thing from the truth. She said every single commissioner supports the sheriff.

Many have turned to Facebook in frustration with the sheriff.

In one Facebook comment, Angela Sykes, wrote, “The lack of transparency is typical with our sheriff. The fact that he refuses cameras to be used in patrol cars and by deputies should tell the public a lot. There is no accountability.”

Sheriff Prendergast refuses to require deputies to use body cameras or dash cams

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