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Manatee sheriff seeks 6.2 percent budget hike, with 12 new deputies

MANATEE – Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube is proposing a $110 million 2015-16 budget -- 6.2 percent more than the sheriff office's current fiscal budget.

The increase includes funding for a 5 percent salary increase and 12 more deputies -- eight road deputies and four corrections deputies. Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker is recommending a 4 percent salary increase for all constitutional offices, which includes the sheriff’s office.

But Hunzeker is not recommending funding for any new deputies, which would put the sheriff’s office budget at $107 million, a 3.1 percent increase.

During his budget presentation Wednesday to the county commission, Steube said he is OK with the 4 percent raise.

The sheriff is also requesting an additional $175,876 for inmate meals since the jail is receiving fewer donations, according to Steube.

On Wednesday, Steube named all the developments approved by the commission since 2008, pointing out that Manatee County has 1.9 deputies per 1,000 residents, which is below the national average of 2.2, county average at 2.6 and South Atlantic average at 3.1.

“Whatever ratio you want to use, we are short deputies,” Steube said. “We must have an adequate number of personnel to serve the citizens.”

In 2008, the sheriff’s office received an average of 634 calls per day. In 2014, the sheriff’s office received an average of 975 calls for service a day. At the same time, Manatee County saw a 6 percent decrease in crime in 2014 from the year earlier.

But so far in 2015, Steube said, the number is much higher.

“From Jan. 1 to date, violent crime is up 26 percent,” he said.

Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024 or at