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Sarasota News Leader May 17, 2013 that Manatee County keeps a reserve of 20 percent; Charlotte, 15 percent; Pinellas, a flat $20 million in reserves (Gable noted its budget is slightly bigger than Sarasota County's); Hardee, 3.5 percent; and Leon, 3 percent to 8 percent. Page 17 reserves in 2017 in case of a problem," Patterson said. Staff projections also have shown the economy picking back up that year. Pointing to the $8 million the policy change When Patterson questioned whether those fig- would free up, she added, "It is not sufficient ures were current, Gable responded, "I was to really change the day." under the impression that this was what they were maintaining," though she said she would Moreover, Patterson said she believed othverify the numbers. er counties with lower reserves are not in as good financial shape as Sarasota County. In response to a question from Robinson, Steve Botelho, the county's chief financial Robinson told her fellow board members, planning officer, reminded the commissioners "The time to decide whether you have adethe reserves policy was adopted in 2007 and quate reserves is not when you are in need of last updated in 2011. money." She added of the extra money that could be freed up, "It's too tempting; it's just PROS AND CONS way too tempting." "I guess one of the reasons I felt comfortable in using reserves to keep our services going … She noted that the primary purpose of the May [is] that we would leave the board with ample 14 workshop was to provide direction to staff A chart presented to the County Commission May 14 shows the reserves available — and money freed up for other uses — if the county moved to a 75-day or 60-day policy. Image courtesy Sarasota County

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