Florida Legislature proposals could cost Manatee up to $1.48M

skennedy@bradenton.comMarch 26, 2014 

MANATEE -- Manatee County stands to lose up to $1.48 million if the Florida Legislature passes bills affecting various types of remuneration from the state, a county official said Tuesday.

Commissioners voted to send letters to area lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott protesting several proposals they said would cost Manatee County money.

The county could take hits from changes in how the state calculates what it charges counties to care for juveniles in detention facilities, a communications services tax cut and higher rates charged to members of the Florida Retirement System.

"When I speak to legislators, we're concerned about all these relatively small things," said Jim Seuffert, county director of financial management. "They cumulatively take pretty big bites out of our financial picture."

Seuffert, who gave a legislative update of news from the Florida Association of Counties, estimated the losses of all 67 Florida counties total as much as $100 million.

"Nothing is safe while the Legislature is in session," said Commissioner Michael Gallen.

Seuffert listed the following potential Manatee County losses:

• A $580,000 hit under proposals to change Florida Retirement System rates, which cover Manatee County employees.

• About $400,000 for juvenile detention services.

• Another $400,000 if 911 fees are restructured.

• About $100,000 for a communication services tax cut.

Other financial burdens might stem from new sales tax holidays and sales tax exemptions legislators are proposing, Seuffert told the board, meeting at the County Administrative Center.

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

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