Port Manatee is a dependent special district created by the Florida Legislature in 1967. The port is governed by the Manatee County Port Authority – a seven-member oversight board which sets policy and oversees major expenditures for the port. Manatee County Port Authority members serve four-year staggered terms with an annual election of officers.
While the Manatee County Port Authority is comprised of the same seven members as the elected Manatee County Commission – each governing body has a separate set of officers and financial accountability. Port Manatee is not a unit of Manatee County Government and does not receive ad-valorem tax support from the citizens of Manatee County.