MANATEE -- Thirty percent of Manatee County residential parcel owners pay 67 percent of the total taxes.
County Administrator Ed Hunzeker shared the disparity with the Manatee County Citizens Financial Structure Advisory Board during the board's Thursday meeting. The board, which is comprised of both commissioner-appointed members and organization-appointed members, is tasked with looking for ways to help address Manatee County government's
"Why keep going back to the well with property tax increases to fund the government when there are these different sources of revenue that will put a different mix of payers to pay for the government?" Hunzeker said.
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Dave Zaccagnino, Commissioner Carol Whitmore's appointee, said they can't just keep going to the well.
"We need to find some other revenues that will grow over time," he said.
Tom Garland, Commissioner Larry Bustle's appointee, said people in the community may think the government is wasting money.
"Part of this process has got to be selling this to people," he said. "How do you make that case? Ultimately someone has to make a strong case for the county."
Mike Moschella, chairman of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp., echoed Garland.
"You have to sell them on the fact that everything is done right and efficient," Moschella said.
As the committee continues on its path to come up with possible solutions by the committee's sunset date of May 1, they learned about the county's budget structure and process during Thursday's meeting.
"It is a form of zero base budgeting," Hunzeker said. "We have 12 departments. We have 58 programs within those departments so we break our budget down by program not by department."
But while the county departments had $2.4 million worth of desired budget items funded in the most recent adopted budget, there were $7.2 million worth of desired budget items left unfunded, according to Thursday's presentation.
"We were able to fund the same level of service as the previous year," Hunzeker said. "We just weren't able to add much on the property tax side."
Due to Save Our Homes capped values and Amendment 1, an additional $37.3 million in taxes were excluded in fiscal 2016.
"You wouldn't be sitting here if we had that amount of money," Hunzeker said.
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.