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East County Thursday, Sep. 19, 2019 1 month ago

Manatee County commissioners talk tax reduction

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Commissioners approve 2020 fiscal year budget, but want to talk 'strategy' for 2021.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Manatee County commissioners plan to explore whether a future property tax reduction is possible.

“We have a balanced budget with increasing service levels now,” Manatee County District 2 Commissioner Reggie Bellamy said during a Sept. 17 budget hearing. “We need to look at a potential millage cut.”

Bellamy, who received unanimous support, said the the board should try to come up with a strategy to potentially cut rates.

Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said she applauded the idea.

“It’s something we need to get serious about,” she said. “Give a little bit of something instead always asking for more, more, more.”

At-large Commissioner Betsy Benac said she wasn’t opposed to discussing the idea, however the board needed to recognize any cuts would reduce available funding by millions of dollars for projects and levels of service.  

At-large Commissioner Carol Whitmore said she would not support a rate reduction if it compromised public safety.

At that meeting, commissioners approved the $757 million fiscal year 2020 net budget, which maintains a decade-old millage of 7.0435 per $1,000 of taxable value for unincorporated Manatee County. It includes funding for 10 more Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies, an expansion of the Braden River Library and startup funding for a future Lakewood Ranch library.

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