Manatee County's annual budget process begins with $1.4 billion recommended budget

Manatee County's annual budget process begins with $1.4 billion recommended budget
Posted on 05/31/2018

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (May 31, 2018) – County Administrator Ed Hunzeker rolled out a recommended budget for next year that will pay for 12 new Sheriff’s Office deputies and cover a host of infrastructure projects including a new Lincoln Park Pool, extensions for 44th Avenue and improvements for Canal and Moccasin Wallow roads. Property tax rates are proposed to remain unchanged for the 12th consecutive year.

Hunzeker announced next year’s proposed budget to the County Commissioners today. The gross budget for next year is a recommended $1.4 billion, which includes reserves, internal services and transfers. The net budget of $723 million is buoyed by an estimated 9 percent growth in the tax base.

He outlined four broad priorities for Commissioners to consider as the summer budgeting process begins. The Recommended Budget prioritizes the County Commission’s longstanding commitment to law enforcement and public safety. Hunzeker also proposes investment in County employees by continuing to address stress in the workforce caused by increased demands for services from an expanding population. Rounding out the priorities are a large investment in infrastructure improvements and a phased budget approach to offset impacts of a proposed reduction in property taxes. 

“We must also plan for another significant reduction in local revenues looming next year,” Hunzeker said. “This year we present (Commissioners) with the second year of a three-year plan to invest in one-time expenses to avoid a substantial reduction in revenues we expect in 2020.”

The anticipated shortfall comes from the ballot item this fall that asks voters to consider a new property tax exemption that would apply to assessed values between $100,000 and $125,000. If approved, the exemption will mean an $11.1 million annual reduction to the County’s revenues beginning in 2020. 

Next year’s budget proposal calls for $1.8 million for 12 new Sheriff’s Office deputies and their equipment, two of whom will be funded by the City of Anna Maria Island for additional police in the city. The new positions, combined with increases for employee healthcare, retirement contributions and salaries, equal a proposed increase of $7.3 million, or 6.2 percent for the Sheriff’s Office above the current adopted budget. The total recommendation is $126.7 million for the Sheriff’s Office. The proposed budget would pay for 18 positions in the School Resource Officers Program which maintains the same level the Sheriff’s Office has provided for several years. With associated increases in costs, the Manatee County School Board and the Board of County Commissioners will continue to split evenly the cost of 15 School Resource Officers and three supervisors, at a cost of $1.1 million each.

As part of the Administrator’s Recommended Budget, Hunzeker proposes funding for high profile community projects such as the Lincoln Pool, new trails for west Manatee County, the continued expansion of 44th Avenue, long-awaited sidewalks and drainage improvements for Rubonia and enhancements to Canal Road and Moccasin Wallow Road. The budget also proposes to undertake 87 Infrastructure Sales Tax projects by beginning to construct intersection and road projects. A recommended $4.7 million in stormwater projects aims to improve drainage throughout the County.

Hunzeker’s Recommended Budget also includes a proposed 30 percent reduction in building permit and inspection fees that will lower the cost of doing business with the Building Department on most projects. Most of the fee reductions will benefit homeowners seeking to add to or remodel their homes. The reduction in fees is the result of a strong rebound in the local economy with building permits fully covering expenses in the Building Division of the Building and Development Services Department. Building and permit fees can only be used to fund the Building Division and cannot supplement other parts of the County budget.

County Commissioners will review the budget in great detail during a series of public workshops this summer.

All budget meetings will be held in the County Administration Building, 1112 Manatee Ave. W. during this summer schedule:

  • Tues., June 5, 9 a.m., County Departments Budget Review
  • Wed., June 6, 1:30 p.m., Constitutional Officers budget review
  • Wed., June 13 at 9 a.m., Five-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP)
  • Wed., June 13 at 6 p.m., Public Hearing is scheduled to receive comments on the Recommended Budget
  • Tues., July 31, 9 a.m., Budget Reconciliation workshop gives Commissioners the opportunity to review additional information in response to “flagged” items, resolve remaining budget issues and set a tentative maximum millage rate to be provided to the Property Appraiser

Two public hearings will be held in September to finalize and adopt the FY2018-18 budget. Dates will be announced later this year. All budget materials will be posted to the County’s website at as they’re available later this summer.

For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.