Learn more about Manatee's proposed half-cent sales tax referendum and view an interactive map of projects

  • Jul 27, 2016

The proposed tax would raise an estimated $30 million for roads, public safety equipment and parks improvements. Tourists and visitors will pay about one-third of the tax and most Manatee County families would pay about $5 per month.

Full Screen Story Map

Manatee County Commissioners have held our property tax rate flat since 2006 -- throughout the Great Recession. Between 2007 and 2015, property tax revenues declined by 18 percent and the County’s workforce was reduced by 300 positions. Since that time more than 50,000 residents have moved to Manatee County putting a huge strain on local resources.


In early 2016, a citizen panel comprised of County Commissioner appointees and representatives from the County’s largest business groups spent several months examining Manatee’s finances. The Citizens Financial Structure Advisory Board (CFSAB) delivered its findings to the County Commission on April 26. In their report, the Advisory Board unanimously recommended a voter referendum in the fall of 2016, asking voters to consider a half-cent sales tax that will address the County’s looming budget issues and to make the budget process sustainable. 

The committee also recommended bonding proceeds with the sales tax, so that work can begin immediately on a backlog of community needs.

Manatee County staff has recommended the following funding allocation for local projects based on a recommendation from the Advisory Board:

  • 71 percent of the funding for roads and transportation-related improvements to relieve congestion throughout the County; 
  • 15 percent for equipment for Manatee Sheriff’s Office and Manatee County Public Safety;
  • 14 percent for parks and community amenities;

Commissioners on June 21 unanimously approved a November referendum item to ask Manatee voters to consider the half-cent sales tax. With direction from the County Commission, Manatee County staff worked to compile the list of projects below. The project list at the bottom of this page is a 15-year blueprint for projects throughout Manatee County. 


A way to fund local projects

The proposed tax would raise an estimated $30 million a year, $5 million of which would be distributed to Manatee County's six municipalities. Manatee County Government would be responsible for the remainder, and would devote the funding to projects like major road upgrades, intersections improvements, new traffic signals and turn lanes that will improve traffic flow throughout Manatee County. Other projects include new bike lanes and additional sidewalks that will give bicyclists and pedestrians new opportunities to reach their destinations. 

The list also includes upgrades in public safety that will give the Sheriff’s Office new resources, that will allow residents to text emergencies to 911, and that will provide long-needed repairs to extend the life of our jail.