Panama City Beach residents will see an increase in stormwater assessment fees

Panama City Beach

PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — Some Panama City Beach residents could see an increase in stormwater assessment fees next year. Panama City Beach has had stormwater assessment fees since 2006.

Beach city council members voted Thursday to raise the fees, despite dozens who showed up to oppose it.

“Nautilus you see that by the school it’s sinking,” one resident said. “We need to address what’s under and stop building up here.”

Others like David Bailey recognize there is a problem in Panama City Beach that needs to be fixed.

“Instead of cozying up on a rainy day to watch a movie we are praying that stormwater doesn’t get into our home,” Bailey said. 

The proposal would change the way the city assesses the fees.

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Moving forward, Panama City Beach Mayor Mark Sheldon said all individual property owners will pay their one fee, no more group condo rates.

Disabled persons and veterans will continue to be exempt. And the additional money will go into the stormwater fund. 

“A letter went out to all citizens about 20 thousand parcels the letter went out to and it was going to tell those folks that it was going to go up to $4.2 million and it ended up at $2.8 million,” Sheldon said. 

The council voted in favor of the changes 3-2.  Councilmen Geoff Mcconnell and Paul Casto were the two dissenting votes.

They wanted to keep the stormwater fund assessment at 2 million a year. The new fee will be based on property values, but no one seems to be able to provide an exact rate for each resident.

“It charges more to the higher value then it does on some of the other parcels,” Sheldon said. “So if you have a high value home your rate just went up today but if you have some of the homes that is not of high a value your rate went down.”

Sheldon says they’re putting money toward the areas most in-need of improvements. 

The new fees go into effect in October. 

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