PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The fire assessment tax became a major political issue during Panama City’s recent municipal elections.

They’re not popular in Panama City Beach either.

Panama City Beach Council members instituted them in 2018 to pay for services like fire station expenses, but mostly salaries. 

Every year the U.S. Department of Commerce recommends how much cities should raise the fee, based on annual personal income growth over the last 5 years. 

This year’s recommendation was a 6.7 percent increase. 

However, Council members decided that was not necessary. 

“It’s only a fraction of their overall budget,” Panama City Beach Councilman Michael Jarman said. “And we’re very happy to be able to be in a situation that we have a 0% increase this year. At this time, we’re really ahead of the ball game, and that’s why we’re proud to do 0% on all three assessments.”

Jarman also said no increase this year does not mean there will be a drastic increase in the future.

Council members also voted to keep the same drainage and CRA assessment rates for the upcoming year.