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Manatee County continues to downsize | News

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Manatee County continues to downsize
News, Politics
Manatee County continues to downsize

Manatee County, FL -- As the latest in a series of steps to improve customer service while streamlining local government, Manatee County Government leaders announced today restructuring moves that will consolidate four departments into two and will realign a handful of county divisions to maximize their value to the community.
 
Effective immediately, Manatee County Planning Department and the Building Department will be combined into a new Building and Development Services Department that will be a one-stop center to serve and assist the business community. In the past, these functions were housed in several county offices.

Separately, the Agriculture and Resource Conservation Department will become the Agriculture and Extension Service division within the Community Services Department under the direction of Brenda Rogers. Rogers was director of ARC from 2000 through 2010.

Manatee County Area Transit will now fall under the Public Works Department, since the two are co-located at 1022 26th Avenue East, and it allows the full spectrum of the transit functions to fall under one department.

The new Building and Development Services Department, under the direction of John Barnott, will incorporate the Transportation Systems Management division now in Public Works responsible for the analysis and development of the County's thoroughfare roadway system.

The unit will better be able to forecast long term community needs alongside county planners. The new department will also take over the County’s Code Enforcement division previously under the Neighborhood Services Department.

Three positions were eliminated as part of today’s announcement, including the Organizational Development Manager, Transportation System Model and Data Engineer Supervisor and Planning Technician I.

“This is an organizational change in anticipation of upcoming budget decisions that will have to be made,” County Administrator Ed Hunzeker said in a statement. “There’s not a day that goes by when we are not trying to downsize this government. We’re going to ask staff across the organization to continue to do more with less.”

Budget planners are forecasting a $12 million to $14 million reduction in property tax revenues for the upcoming fiscal year and the County’s leadership team is exploring every option to keep layoffs to a minimum.

No salaries will change as a result of today’s announcement.

The departmental consolidation, along with the Manatee County Commission’s recent two-year extension of impact fee reductions, frees up long range planning and transportation officials to concentrate on the “How Will We Grow” project which is mapping a course for Manatee County’s future for generations to come.

With more resources focused on “How Will We Grow,” the Organizational Development Manager’s position is eliminated.

In total, the new department will oversee: 

  • Contractor Licensing
  • Plans Review, Permitting and Inspections
  • Floodplain Management
  • Development Plans Review
  • Environmental Planning
  • Transportation Planning
  • Comprehensive Planning
  • Code Enforcement
  • The “How Will We Grow” project and upcoming land development code improvements
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