Manatee County employees may get 4 percent pay raises next year

skennedy@bradenton.comJune 5, 2014 

County officials Wednesday reviewed budget documents.SARA KENNEDY/skennedy@bradenton.com

MANATEE -- Employees of Manatee County may get 4 percent pay raises next year under terms of a $527 million budget proposal unveiled Tuesday.

The proposal calls for spending about $6 million to pay for salary increases, which is the same percentage awarded last year, said Jim Seuffert, county director of financial management, after county commissioners reviewed parts of the proposed budget Wednesday.

The county employs about 3,100, including those who work for Sheriff Brad Steube, said County Administrator Ed Hunzeker.

How raises will be awarded could differ from boss to boss.

"How they do it -- across the board, pay-for-performance -- is up to each constitutional officer," said Hunzeker after a budget workshop Wednesday.

Manatee County government departments consist of the Board of County Commissioners, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Sheriff's Office,

Tax Collector, Property Appraiser and Supervisor of Elections.

Hunzeker has already decided how pay raises will be awarded for 1,600 workers employed by the Board of County Commissioners. His employees will be evaluated on a "pay-for-performance" basis, he said.

Salary increases are important to maintain a quality workforce, said Hunzeker.

"We compete with surrounding counties like Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota for the majority of our workers," he said. "Traditionally we are behind in pay, and that includes the sheriff's employees."

R.B. "Chips" Shore, clerk of the circuit court and comptroller, employs 250. He said Wednesday he has not yet formulated a plan for passing out raises.

Asked how he thought the news of potential salary increases would be received by his employees, Shore said: "Last year was the first year in six years (they got raises), and they were just ecstatic, and I'm sure they will be this year, too."

Roughly half of the cost will go to raises for sheriff's office employees, said Seuffert.

Hunzeker proposed the $527 million budget Tuesday, recommending property tax rates remain unchanged. It represents a 1.5 percent increase for 2015 over the $519 million 2014 budget, (minus Port Manatee), officials said.

The final budget is adopted in September. Details of the sheriff's budget will be explained during a budget review session set for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Other budget sessions coming up include:

• Decision Unit Review from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday

• Capital Improvement Program, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 12

• Budget Public Hearing, 6-8 p.m. June 12 and

• A special meeting on budget reconciliation and adoption of a tentative millage rate at 1:30-5 p.m. July 30.

All meetings are open to the public at the Manatee County Administrative Building, 1112 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

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

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