MANATEE -- The county is relying on its savings account, eliminated positions and on some savings from retirement contributions to cut $8 million from the proposed $976 million budget for next year.
Water and sewer fees are recommended to increase 3 percent each, according county administrator Ed Hunzeker's proposed budget.
The budget is based on projections that property tax revenues will continue to decrease over the next two years. The county predicts that tax rolls will hit bottom in 2013 and after that they will slowly begin to rise again.
Based on those predictions, the county has a plan to meet its obligations using the savings, or reserves, it has been building in better years.
For the fifth year in a row the budget does not include any pay increases for county employees, but does offer a one-time year end $1,000 bonus to every employee to help offset the cost of their newly mandated contributions to the Florida Retirement System.
The budget proposal, which fell below $1 billion this year, also includes small reductions to the budgets for the county’s constitutional officers, including a nearly $500,000 decrease for the sheriff’s office, even though Sheriff Brad Steube had asked for a 4.1 percent increase to his budget.