Manatee Commission considers multimillion-dollar budget items

skennedy@bradenton.comJune 6, 2013 

MANATEE -- Manatee County commissioners Wednesday began a detailed review of county departments as they prepared to make decisions on the proposed $517.8 million budget later in the summer.

During a work session, they reviewed the departments of Community Service, Building and Development Services and the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The proposed 2014 budget for the Community Services Department is $4.1 million, said Director Brenda Rogers. The department employs 78, she said.

Its duties include providing county probation and human services, and agriculture and extension services.

It also operates a summer food program for children that last year served 55,000 hot lunches at 25 different sites, Rogers said.

The proposed budget for the Building and Development Services Department is $8.5 million, said Director John Barnott. The 85-employee department handles building regulation/compliance, planning and development and code enforcement.

Barnott said he had been looking at a new operating system for his department to allow it to "be more proficient than we are today."

The system would help de

partment customers, who could easily look up, for instance, the status of building inspections, he said.

"We're reducing fees 16 percent over two years because we are becoming more efficient," Barnott noted.

Next year's proposed budget for the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is $6.7 million, said Executive Director Elliott Falcione. The department employs 20, with one vacant position, he said.

The bureau is overseen by the Tourist Development Council, which allocates proceeds of visitor "bed taxes," Falcione said. The department "drives new dollars into the community" through tourism, Falcione told the board.

Falcione plans this year to hire a part-time film commissioner to help attract videographers and filmmakers to the area, he said.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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