EAST COUNTY — The Manatee County Board of County Commissioners adopted a $530 million budget at its final public hearing Sept. 19, keeping the millage rate the same as the previous fiscal year.
Commissioners unanimously adopted a millage rate of 6.2933 mills for property owners in incorporated areas and 6.9102 mills for unincorporated property owners.
Although the rates are unchanged, homeowners will pay more in property taxes due to a countywide average 4% increase in property values.
That explains the 14.2% jump in the budget compared to last year.
Last year’s budget was valued at $464 million.
A homeowner living in a home in unincorporated Manatee County valued at $150,000 will pay $1,056.52 in property taxes.
A city resident will pay $964.89.
The increased property values will give the county an additional $1.2 million in revenue, which the board decided to give to Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube to hire more personnel.
The budget appropriates most of its money, 26%, to public safety.
County Administrator Ed Hunzeker had hoped to keep the added revenue in reserves, to recover from the 30% decrease in property tax revenues since 2007.
The new budget does keep a 4% boost in salaries for county employees, including Sheriff’s Office employees.
Hunzeker’s original budget proposal featured lower property tax rates.
The budget commissioners approved removes earlier proposals to implement an electric franchise fee on utilities and to transfer sheriff road-patrol costs to residents in unincorporated areas.
Hunzeker had said money raised from a potential sales-tax increase would provide enough revenue for property tax rates to be lowered 25% for incorporated residents and 13% for individuals who live in unincorporated areas.
After the measure failed a public referendum, Hunzeker said the county did not have the revenue to do that, and he recommended commissioners approve the budget as is.
Other non-growth items in the budget include a stagnant work force, which stays the same at 1,658 employees.
Approximately 30% of the total revenue, or $158 million, comes from property taxes, and $29 million, or 5%, from other taxes.
Another 8%, or $42 million, comes from federal and state grants, such as transit grants, state sales tax, state revenue sharing and other sources.
About 22%, or $117 million, comes from licensing and permit fees, fines, interest and other miscellaneous sources, and about 35%, or $184 million, from charges for service.
The county’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1 and concludes Sept. 30, 2014.
Contact Josh Siegel at [email protected].