Budget Information, Guides & Questions

Image Budget Information, Guides & Questions

Taxpayer's Resource for information, guides and questions regarding the County's budget and budget process.

Guide to the Budget

Budgeting for a local government requires balancing not only numbers but also a variety of needs and interests that reflect the varied elements of the community. For a Florida county, the process can be very complex because unlike private business, counties have a broad range of responsibilities and serve diverse constituencies. Citizens expect counties to address the community’s social issues and protect their interests and public safety while providing law enforcement and infrastructure.  Its decisions must be made in accessible forums. And, counties are accountable to citizens while pursuing goals of efficiency and effectiveness.

 

The fiscal year of Manatee County's annual budget runs from October 1 through September 30. It is Manatee County administration’s commitment to account for and manage public funds appropriately and openly, to recommend effective and efficient financial plans, and to ensure adequate funding is available to carry forward programs as directed by the Board of County Commissioners. Sound fiscal policies that are realistic and consistent provide essential guidance for the long-term programming of services and facilities. They are the framework under which budget and tax decisions are made.
 

Budget Process

Decision Units

The Biennial budget development process is a "zero-based" budget process, in which funds are allocated by program rather than by department.  All county departments which report to the County Administrator examine each program and service to evaluate needs and prioritize these services as "decision units" in accordance with available resources. 

 

The term "zero-based" means that each program starts with no funding.  The cost necessary to operate the program at a minimal level is determined and becomes the "base unit".  The base is then built upon by adding "decision units", with each unit being the cost for an increase in the level of service provided by the program.  Each decision unit builds on the preceding unit up to a "continuation level" which outlines the current operations of the department.  Departments can submit "desired" decision units for program expansions, enhancements, or for new programs.

One-time purchases or non-recurring items are funded from non-recurring sources - usually fund balance - and on-going costs or recurring budget items are funded from recurring sources. Replacement equipment and major building repair needs are usually the highest priority non-recurring items.