Longboat Key officials analyze relationships with Manatee, Sarasota counties

- Two counties and one town: It's a unique circumstance that divides Longboat Key. 

"We have to deal with two different property appraisers, two different tax collectors," said Tom Harmer. 

Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer said there can be headaches at times, especially during hurricane season. 

"If one county is having a different policy on how to evacuate or when to evacuate or reentry back onto the islands, that is something that impacts us because it's inconstant," said Harmer. 

Another big issue: money. 

Property taxes on the Manatee side are nearly double those of the Sarasota County side. Harmer said Manatee residents pay $2.6 million more each year. 

"Sarasota County relies fairly heavily on assessments and assessments occur in the unincorporated area so it's not a burden to towns or cities whereas Manatee County relies on property taxes," he said. 

But it's not just about money. For some residents, it's about how they're treated. 

"We are residents of Manatee County, we pay taxes in Manatee County, but sometimes it doesn't feel like we are in Manatee County," said Maureen Merrigan. 

Maureen Merrigan said it's evident Sarasota County puts more money into their part of town. She points to beach renourishment and park updates. 

Merrigan said Manatee County has neglected well-known sites including Greer Island. 

"The investments that happen on this northern end of the island are not where we think they should be," said Merrigan. 

Manatee County Commissioner Stephen Josson promises to put an extra effort in with his side of town. 

"I'm sorry that they feel they are feeling neglected because that's not right. They are paying taxes and they should be represented," he said. 

Longboat Key officials just want fair treatment for all residents and said it would be easier dealing with just one county or the other, but not both. 

'We want both counties to understand the challenges that we are facing by being in two different counties," said Harmer.

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