Bay County may be forced to increase millage rate in FY 2020

Local News

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — As the Panhandle continues to rebuild after Hurricane Michael, Bay County is looking to finalize their fiscal year 2020 budget.

During a budget workshop on Tuesday, county commissioners heard multiple presentations from departments like the property appraisers office, the sheriff’s office, general funds and more as they look to the next year.

A big topic of discussion was the millage rate.

The board agreed on what they call a ‘millage ceiling,’ meaning when the budget is set, they can not set the rate higher than 5.0475%.

The current mileage rate is 4.4%.

Commission Chairman Philip Griffits says they’re going to do all they can to make sure the burden on county residents doesn’t increase. “It’s not an easy solution. It’s not something that we chose. We’re just dealing with the cards we’ve been given and I think the citizens of Bay County know that we’re going to work very hard to make sure we do everything we can to not shoulder them with this burden. We’re going to turn over every stone to find every dollar we can.”

He says one fix may be making a deal with Panama City Beach. “The CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) in Panama City Beach, Bay County writes them a check of roughly, it varies each year but this year it looks like it’ll be about $11 or $12 million dollars. We are going to work with Panama City Beach to see if there might be an opportunity to reduce that amount so the citizens of Bay County won’t have to be forced with a mileage increase.”

Griffits says they have a great relationship with Panama City Beach and hopeful they can come to an agreement.

The county commissioners will be hosting another public workshop on August 27 at 1:00 p.m. inside the Bay County Government Center.

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