PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City Commissioners are getting close to a city budget that will increase customers’ utility bills.
Some residents who attended the meeting weren’t too happy. But city officials said the additional charges wouldn’t be too noticeable.
“The water and sewer rates, it’s reflective of about an increase of $10 per month to everyone’s water bills across the city on average,” Panama City Commissioner Josh Street said. “And that’s really getting us in a position to be able to pay back the loan that was taken out by SRF.”
SRF is the state revolving fund.
The city received the loan to make infrastructure improvements.
In 2026, city officials will start paying off 80% of the $113 mil. loan.
Unfortunately, residents will take the hit but budget consultants said this is a great option.
“So it’ll do two things: You’ll replenish the reserves and then you’ll avoid a big 18 or 20% increase in one year when that first bill comes due so those are the benefits by starting sooner.”
The money will also help improve services.
“What we’ll see long-term will hopefully be savings and costs on the actual maintenance of the system because we’re going to have a new system,” Street said. “It’s going to have new pipes it’s going to be state-of-the-art lift stations things like that that will actually reduce costs long-term for the city and ultimately the taxpayers and ratepayers.”
Trash rates will increase by a dollar a month.
But city officials pointed out Panama City residents will remain as some of the few in the area who receive twice-a-week trash pick-up.
While some residents at the meeting weren’t pleased to hear this, mayor Greg Brudnicki said it’s because the cost of everything is going up.
Panama City residents will start seeing those higher rates go into effect October 1st.
City officials expect millage rates to go down.
They’re strongly considering 4.7999 mills.
The final budget vote will be in two weeks.