Manatee commissioners approve funding boost for sheriff

skennedy@bradenton.comAugust 1, 2013 

MANATEE -- Manatee County Commissioners approved a tentative millage rate Thursday that is the same as last year's.

The board unanimously adopted a proposed countywide millage rate of 6.2993. If adopted, residents living in unincorporatedareas would pay a totalmillage rate of 6.9102.

Taxable property values countywide rose by an average of 4 percent this year, reflecting a reviving economy. The increased property values mean the county will collect more revenue.

The board unanimously voted to spend the unexpected windfall of $1.2 million from higher property values on more deputies for Manatee CountySheriff Brad Steube.

The sheriff will also get

approximately $500,000 in capital costs related to the new hires such as cars and other equipment, said County Administrator Ed Hunzeker.

Steube estimated the$1.2 million would pay for 12 to 13 new employees. He had requested 20 newdeputies, but told theboard: "I'm grateful for anything you give me."

Citizens seeking money from the county's proposed $520 million budgetincluded Adell Erozer, exec-utive director of Turning Points, which operates the Bill Galvano One Stop Center for the needy in Bradenton.

She and dentist James Little told the board they need $100,000 to sup-port the dental programat the center's clinic,which offers the onlyfree dental care in the county.

"You need to understand there is nowhere else for these people to go," said Erozer.

The board agreed to discuss the request later.

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

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