The 26/13 Plan Breakdown
The 26/13 Plan is an idea to provide true property tax relief to Manatee County residents while finding a more sensible way to pay for Manatee Government. Right now Manatee County property owners are shouldering the load of property tax-related expenditures. If you own a home or other property, your annual tax dollars are supporting 60 percent of the county’s property tax-related expenses, or about a third of the overall county budget.
It’s called the 26/13 Plan because it would provide property tax reductions of up to 26 percent for property owners who live in cities and a reduction up to 13 percent for those who own homes in unincorporated areas. The plan is part of a three-part proposal that County Commissioners will be considering this summer:
Part 1 involves a proposed half-cent sales tax to fund community health care costs. Manatee County now pays for community health care using both property taxes and a health care fund that’s set to run out in 2015. The new half-cent sales tax will generate enough to cover the expiring fund and much of the property tax-funded portion. In turn, property taxes could be reduced by about $10 million.
Part 2 of the plan involves a better way to pay for Manatee Sheriff’s Office patrol costs. Right now that $28 million cost is carried by all Manatee County property owners, whether you live in a city or in an unincorporated area. Since most city homeowners already pay for municipal police patrols, the 26/13 plan asks unincorporated owners to pay all of the cost rather than sharing it with city homeowners.
Part 3 of the plan calls for a fairer way to pay for government through:
o Franchise fees – the costs utility providers pay to use the public's right-of-way. Not a tax, franchise fees are simply the cost utility providers incur for being allowed to place their facilities in the public's right-of-way. The fees would be added to an unincorporated property owner’s electricity bills, offset by an equal reduction in property taxes.
Together the three parts will result in up to a 26 percent property tax reduction for city property owners and a 13 percent property tax reduction for those who own properties in unincorporated areas. The net result of the three-part plan is true property tax relief without growing local government.