Hollywood has to go on hiring spree in face of $5 million shortfall

To stay out of the red, Hollywood has a $4.9 million budget hole to plug next fiscal year.

That’s after Hollywood officials take $13.5 million from emergency reserves to help run day-to-day operations, commissioners were told Wednesday.

The coming year’s anticipated shortfall is partly a consequence of the $165 million debt the city is about to take on as part of a bond program approved by voters last month.

Hollywood will need to hire 39 employees — 13 of them permanently — to handle the work.

“We’re talking about a level of reinvestment in the city that is so beyond what the discussion was in Hollywood few years ago,” Levy said. “We’re working on improvements that will help us shine. And we’re moving forward.”

Salaries, pension costs and health insurance take a huge chunk out of City Hall budgets every year. But the $165 million bond approved by 5 percent of Hollywood’s voters is also playing a role in the shortfall.

The new debt, to be paid back over 25 years, will pave the way for a $73 million police station, $5 million in fire equipment, $23 million in neighborhood improvements and $64 million in parks and golf course upgrades.

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