Residents express concern over possible St. George Island incorporation

Local News

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — It appears Franklin County commissioners don’t think highly of the idea to incorporate St. George Island into its own city.

Some of the island’s residents have been floating the proposal since last summer, and their neighbors are highly critical of even considering the plan.

The St. George Island Citizen Working is behind the proposal for St. George Island to incorporate into its own city.

During Tuesday’s commission meeting group member Shannon Bothwell asked Franklin County commissioners if they would place the issue on a non-binding ballot.

“To express their opinion in a democratic way as to whether or not they would like to pursue a potential corporation,” Bothwell said.

But it didn’t take long for residents to shut down the idea.

One resident, who’s lived in St. George Island for the last 40 years is afraid incorporation would force her off the island.

“I liked it the way that it was when I came here. You guys have been doing a fine job of keeping it up. I don’t want to pay double for that. I want to live there until I die. I want to die of old age, but what they are talking about is going to cost me in ways I can’t afford,” a resident of St. George Island said.

Other residents say they don’t need to incorporate to address any problems or issues on the island.

“These are things the county can address without having a city government, one of the biggest problems I see right now is the drainage study,” another St. George Island resident said.

At least one commissioner admitted incorporation could have some benefits. But, he said it’s not worth the potential tax increases, which he said could go as high as 10 mils.

“By one act of government we could dismantle and derail their ambitions, their hopes, and their dreams for living out their retirement here in Franklin County, and I am opposed to that,” Ricky Jones Franklin County Commissioner said.

Commissioners unanimously denied Bothwell’s request for a straw ballot.

Any move to incorporate St. George island would have to be approved by the state legislature.
Commissioner Jones said he hopes lawmakers will respect the county’s decision against incorporation.

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