MANATEE -- Anticipating thousands of people will need new and renewed drivers licenses, Manatee County Tax Collector Ken Burton Jr. told county commissioners Tuesday he hopes to buy a vacant building to accommodate the expected crowds.
County officials said they have negotiated a price of $381,000 for a former ABC Liquor store near the DeSoto Square mall, which Burton hopes to renovate for use as another office.
"It would be full-service, but specific to drivers licenses," said Burton after the Manatee County Commission workshop meeting at the Manatee County Administration Building.
The new building, 904 301 Blvd. W., would be "like an adjunct" to the current tax collector's office across the street at 820 301 Blvd. W., Burton said.
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Growth in Lakewood Ranch and elsewhere in the county will result in thousands of new residents each year needing new drivers licenses, Burton said.
Combined with renewals and new proofs of identification required of those seeking drivers licenses, Burton predicted his office would have difficulty meeting demand in the next couple of years.
The tax office also operates facilities at 7324 Manatee Ave. W. in Bradenton, 4303 11th St. E. in Ellenton and 6007 111th St. E. in Lakewood Ranch, according to the tax collector's website.
The county commission will make the final decision on the purchase of the building.
In other action, the commission reviewed a draft proposal to change the way county officials sell surplus properties.
Under the proposed measure, price would still be important, but it would not be the only consideration, said Dan Schlandt, deputy county administrator.
If the proposed ordinance were OK'd by the commission, it would allow an option called "competitive negotiation," which would permit consideration of factors other than price to encourage, for example, downtown development.
As an example, Schlandt suggested the county could require certain parameters of the buyer such as parking places on the property.
"It gives us another tool that we don't have now," Schlandt told the board.
"It would come in so handy in downtown-area properties," said Commissioner Vanessa Baugh.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.