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Public input sought on county budget

MANATEE — The Manatee County Commission is looking for public input on next year’s budget.

A public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. today at the first-floor commission chambers, Manatee County Administration Center, 1112 Manatee Ave. W.

After County Administrator Ed Hunzeker ex- plains the purpose of the hearing and the director of the county financial management department, Jim Seuffert, gives an explana- tion of the process and an overview of the budget, the public will have a chance to tell their elected officials where they should trim the budget and shift funding.

Hunzeker presented the seven commissioners a $469 million proposed budget, which was more than $27.8 million less that the spending plan the county is currently working under.

The county fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

To achieve these budget reductions, and avoid a property tax increase, Hunzeker reduced the county workforce by 53 positions, withheld raises from the remaining employees, and increased by $20 a pay period the employees’ contribution to their health insurance plan.

There also were cuts in the operational budgets of most county departments.

As part of a three-year budget plan, the county administrator recommended the commissioners use $21 million from the Budget Stabilization Reserve to balance the budget.

The budget cuts are necessary due to the loss of property tax revenue.

The ailing real estate market has reduced projected property tax revenue by about $21 million.

The proposed budget can be viewed at www.my manatee.org.

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