| Next year’s budget could bring significant property tax relief throughout Manatee County
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (May 29, 2013) – Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker tomorrow will propose an annual county budget that includes a significant tax reduction for Manatee property owners without sacrificing service to the community.
Hunzeker’s recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2014 calls for property tax rates for the countywide millage to be lowered 25 percent for residents in incorporated areas and 13 percent for residents in unincorporated areas.
The reduction is largely reliant on a proposed half-cent sales tax referendum that, if approved by local voters on June 18, will give Commissioners a new set of options to pay for expenses without growing county government. Ultimately, the Commission will decide next year’s property tax rate in September after a series of summer public workshops on the budget.
“We are attempting to restructure how we pay for local government without growing local government,” Hunzeker has stated. “This is a way to ask more people who use county government to pay for it instead of asking property owners to foot most of the bill.”
The net $517 million budget relies on an estimated 3 percent growth in local property values according to preliminary values from the Property Appraiser’s Office. The budget recommendation is the formal proposal of sweeping budget plan Hunzeker has discussed publicly since January. Higher property tax values will mean a slightly lower percentage of savings for municipal residents as originally proposed in the 26/13 Plan.
Property taxes now pay for about 60 percent of the cost of general government in Manatee County. Hunzeker’s proposal would diversify the county’s revenue, lower property taxes and improve Manatee’s credit ratings and its ability to compete for relocating businesses.
The Administrator’s budget also calls for a 10 percent reduction to Building Department Permit and Inspection fees as a result of a significant uptick in local building permit applications. Other highlights of the budget include:
· A modest salary adjustment for all County, Sheriff’s Office and Constitutional Office employees;
· Funding for beach renourishment projects;
· A financing plan for a new Public Safety Radio System that will replace Manatee’s aging 800 MHz radio system;
· Five-year improvements for 44th Avenue, Ellenton-Gillete Road, Erie Road, Upper Manatee River Road and the Fort Hamer Bridge.
The proposed budget is the first year of a biennial budget that will also serve as the basis for the Fiscal 2015 budget. It is the third biennial budget Hunzeker has presented to the Commission, a two-year process that began in 2010.
More details will be available when the budget recommendation is formally released tomorrow. A lineup of the public budget workshops can be found under the FY 14 & FY15 Budget Information headline at www.mymanatee.org/budget Budget materials will also be posted there as they’re published.
For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at www.mymanatee.org or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/manatee.county.fl and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.