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County may need to cut or raise another $1.5 million


BRADENTON - The budget picture for Manatee County darkened a bit on Monday, with news from County Administrator Ed Hunzeker that property values may come in lower than expected.

He told county commissioners before Monday's budget workshop that the property appraiser presented on June 1 an estimate of taxable value of $28.8 billion, below the May 19 estimate of $29.2 billion.

At the current tax rate, that translates to an ad valorem revenue reduction of $2.5 million, from $157.5 million to $155 million. The county budgeted for a reduction of $1 million, so the county may have to find another $1.5 million in cuts or revenue to produce a balanced budget.

Hunzeker advised no budget changes at this time, and said that after July 1, staff would provide new recommendations about how to address the revenue shortfall before the reconciliation meeting on July 30.

It's hard for people to understand the budget process, Hunzeker said, because there are different funds and the county cannot transfer some money from some funds to the general fund.

"It's premature to say we have to cut," he said about the budget after the workshop. "Because the June 1 number from the property appraiser was an estimate. He has to give us the real, live number for the budget's arrival.

"So we're not saying jump on this million-five yet, because it could change to be $2 million, or $1 million, or some other number when we get the July numbers. So we're just going to take it, we have that June 1 estimate, and when we come back to the board at the end of July, we'll determine how we're going to balance the budget."

At the workshop, commissioners heard about the budget situations for the different areas of the budget, and will hear more at upcoming meetings.


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