By SARA KENNEDY
MANATEE -- The Manatee County Commission on Wednesday approved a countywide millage rate of 6.4326, the same as last year.
The measure was unanimously passed by the board at a sparsely-attended meeting at the County Administrative Building in Bradenton.
A slight change in the voted debt service produced a little more money for the operating budget, said Jim Seuffert, the county's director of finance.
With taxable property values showing an increase of 7.43 percent, the county will have additional revenue to support its 2015 budget, even though tax rates remain at the same level as last year, officials said.
Commissioners could still decrease the millage rate as the budget process continues but with Wednesday's action, they cannot raise rates higher. The proposed net budget for fiscal 2015 is about $527.8 million.
Commissioners will be deciding some remaining spending issues, such as how much they may devote to health care for the poor, during the next couple of months, they said.
Consideration of the budget culminates in the fall with two public hearings and a final commission vote.
The first public hearing is set for Sept. 11, officials said.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031.