Panama City announces hardship deferral from fire assessment tax


PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — City leaders said Monday that those in need can avoid a fire assessment tax if they are approved for a hardship deferral.

The City Commission voted and approved the non-ad valorem assessment on September 14, 2020. The assessment is included on the tax bill for property taxes mailed by the Bay County Tax Collector in November.

“The Fire Assessment shares the cost of fire protection more equitably among all City property owners,” city officials said in a news release. “The new assessment helps alleviate the projected budget shortfall for the 2021 Fiscal Year and provided a way to avoid substantially increased ad valorem property taxes while still providing essential public safety services like fire protection.”

The assessment is calculated on a two-tier system and uses data derived from the Bay County Property Appraiser. All property owners pay a fixed rate of $176.62 per parcel and, if the property is improved, $1.52 per $1,000 of improvements determined by the Property Appraiser.

Those with questions regarding the determination of your property values can contact the Bay County Property Appraiser’s Office (

The Fire Assessment will bring in approximately $4.7 million which equates to about 52-percent of the Panama City Fire Department’s budget for the 2021 Fiscal Year.

The Hardship Deferral Program program is limited to individuals and homestead circumstances. Copies of the application are available at City Hall in the City Manager’s Office (second floor) or can be printed through this link:

Applications may be submitted:

Attn: Fire Assessment Hardship Deferral Program

City of Panama City

501 Harrison Avenue

Panama City, Florida 32401

The deadline to submit an application is January 4, 2021. Determination will be made no later than February 1, 2021.

If you have any questions regarding the Fire Assessment or Hardship Deferral Program, please contact the City Manager’s Office by calling (850) 872-3010 or sending an email to

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