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FY2025 Clerk’s Budget for Court and Non-Court Operations

The Clerk’s Budget is funded by 3 distinct sources of funding: The revenues earned by the Clerk for Clerk services in Recording and Clerk general non-court functions; BCC funding for services provided to the BCC, including Finance, Board Minutes and Records, Investments, and reporting; and Clerk Revenues earned for court services as authorized by the Clerk of Courts Corporation (CCOC).

Non-Court Budget: 

The Clerk of Courts in Collier County is a fee office, and, as such, related budgets are prepared in accordance with Florida Statutes, Section 218.35. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is required by law to fund certain court costs of the Clerk’s Office, and those costs are included in our proposed budget. The FY2025 requested General Fund transfer conforms to the budget policy cap of 3.5%. The following chart highlights the General Fund support of Clerk operations since FY2021. The Recording Department FY2025 budget includes $2,937,100 in projected revenue from fees charged to record documents. As Recording Department expenses are only $2,054,600, this will generate $882,500 of excess revenue that reduces the required Board transfer amount.

For many years, due to nationwide and local economic challenges, staff salaries in Collier County did not keep pace with the rising cost of living resulting in salaries that were not competitive in the marketplace, and making it challenging to hire qualified staff to fill available positions. Recruitment is especially challenging given that the housing market in Collier County is typically among the highest in the state. Recent budget increases are reflective of pay plan adjustments designed to make Collier County government competitive as an employer. The Clerk’s Office follows the budgetary and salary policies of the BCC. The Clerk’s total budget is made up of 79% personnel services (salaries and benefits) and 21% operating costs. Costs of the Clerk’s Office are partially offset by fees. Excess fees are returned to the Board at year-end. In summary, the proposed level of funding will cover the costs of the Clerk’s operations associated with services provided to the Board including:

  • Accounting, auditing and custodial functions relating to the Board of County Commissioner’s books including preparation of GFOA Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (award winning for 36 consecutive years);   
  • Debt administration (refinancing, payments and bond ratings remain AAA by rating agencies); Processing of payroll, accounts payable; capital assets; contract payments; investment of surplus funds;  
  • Implementation of financial systems and technical enhancements and other accounting functions as they relate to the Board of County Commissioners;  
  • Providing comprehensive support for county-wide SAP systems to maintain current services and enhanced functionality (including SAP upgrades to the platform and enhanced time & attendance system);  
  • Services to the citizens of Collier County, reflecting our commitment to the efficient and effective operations of the Clerk’s Office. 

Court Budget 

The full Clerk’s Court budget is submitted to the Clerks of Court Operation Corporation (CCOC) by June 1, each year for approval later during the summer. The Court’s budget in each County is supposed to be funded first by each Clerk’s earned revenues. Unfortunately, some Clerks in the State are unable to meet their funding requirements and must be subsidized. In Collier County, we are able to meet and exceed our operational funding needs. Unfortunately, our Court budget has been drastically cut by the CCOC for several years, and our earned revenues have been re-distributed to other counties that may not meet operational standards. We must continue to request Board funding in FY2025 to keep the court system operational. As part of the total BOCC non court transfer request, $1,120,000 is for Courts to follow the County’s proposed pay plan adjustments in FY2025 for Court personnel. The CCOC continues to reduce Collier’s balanced budget to provide funding to other counties.

On the positive side, there has been progress made with statewide Clerks’ legislative funding. Thanks to the efforts of Clerks and our local Collier representatives, including Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and Representative Adam Botana.

We will continue to work with the CCOC and the Legislature to improve our statewide funding issues and address the redistribution of Collier revenues.

The CCOC continues to cut Collier’s court operating budget request. Our Clerk’s Office has implemented efficiency gains, cost cutting practices and department reallocations and continues to meet all performance measures despite the court funding cuts.

The balanced Court budget that Collier is submitting this year is $8,399,500. The approved Court spending authority approved by the CCOC is estimated to be $7,203,711 (this will not be finalized until late summer). This proposed reduction of $1,195,789 will be distributed to other Florida counties. We will continue to work with the Board and the State to address the community needs, navigate through local emergencies and national economic challenges. I would sincerely like to thank the citizens of Collier County and the BCC, for their continued support of our office. The Clerk’s OfficeWe are is honored to continue to serve the Collier Community in FY2025 and beyond.

Download the full June 2024 Newsletter here.