PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - The Panama City Beach City Council passed the fire assessment fee, which will be added to beach resident's property taxes to fund a third fire station.
Last week Panama City Beach residents received a flyer in the mail that contained information about how much they would pay for the fire assessment fee.
The fee will go toward staffing the fire station for the city, which is a more than $3 million project, which Panama City Beach Mayor, Mike Thomas, said could only be funded through this fee.
"You do the best you can do to provide services for the city. This service can only be provided through some funding mechanism, we do not have enough money in any of our other funding mechanisms to do it," he said.
Many residents addressed the council asking why tourist dollars could not fund the new fire station, and if there would be a cap on the assessment fee.
Councilwoman Josie Strange shared the public's concerns, and was the only one on the council to vote against the assessment.
"There's not a person on the council or in the city that would say they are against the fire department, I'm not," she said. "I just think there's just gotta be a better way and not put the burden on the residents, put the burden on the people that abuse it, which would be the tourists."
The fire assessment will be implemented later in 2018, and will be included on resident's county property tax bill.
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