|Ed Hunzeker highlights County’s jobs creation efforts, soaring tourism numbers and statewide awards in state of the county address
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (Jan. 28, 2014) – Unemployment is at a five-year low, tourism numbers are breaking all-time records and the county’s “How Will We Grow” project is in full swing. Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker outlined those community highlights and a host of employee accomplishments today when delivering his Annual Report to the County Commission.
Much of the local economic turnaround, Hunzeker said, can be attributed to the decisions and policies of the County Commission. The Board approved nearly $437,000 in economic development incentives in 2013 which will go to help create 337 new quality jobs in Manatee County over the next five years. The Board also lowered building permits 10 percent last year and approved nearly $48 million capital improvements for roads, bridges and other Public Works projects in 2013. Much of that work went to local contractors and proved to be a significant injection to the local economy.
“It was you who reinvested record tourism revenues back into the marketing and promotion of our area, generating new interest and family trips from travelers across the globe,” Hunzeker told Commissioners. “It was you who took the initiative to moderate future slumps by diversifying our local economy through tourism investment and the promotion of a targeted sports performance sector that is transforming Manatee County into a training headquarters for young athletes from around the world.”
Hunzeker recognized the most significant individual achievements from across the organization and he Hunzeker touched on a host of departmental accomplishments from the past year. In 2013 the Building Officials Association of Florida selected own C.J. Dupre from among 477 building officials across the state as Florida Building Official of the Year. Charlie Hunsicker, who helped secure $27 million in federal funding for local environmental projects last year, was named one of the Persons of the Year by the Anna Maria Island Sun for the second time since 2010.
Hunzeker also reminded the Board of national awards that went to the County’s Fleet Services division and for the County’s County Government Month efforts.
In addition to touting the County’s long list of completed projects from the past year, Hunzeker gave the Commission a preview of other projects scheduled for completion in 2014 including:
The Blackstone baseball fields in Palmetto, which should be ready for the fall baseball season;
The Robinson Preserve expansion and a new education center and the restoration of Neal Preserve, in west Bradenton;
The new ESCO (Energy Savings Company) mechanical system at the Manatee Detention Center to reduce maintenance and repair costs, conserve water and reduce energy consumption; in 2014 we’ll also begin significant work on a proposed district cooling plant to reduce energy consumption and increase efficiencies for many private and public buildings downtown;
Another important traveling link between west and east Manatee will take an important step when construction begins on 44th Avenue from 1st Street to 19th Street East.
The complete report is available on the right hand column of the County Administrator’s website.
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.