Flood Fees

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The county commissioners all agreed Tuesday afternoon in a unanimous decision to tack on a flat fee to help alleviate storm water flooding starting as soon as next year.

Ken Schnell with the county Public Works Department says this will only affect developed unincorporated areas of Bay County.

"This ordinance shall only be effective in the unincorporated areas of Bay County. The assessment for residential properties would be $40 per parcel and the assessment for non-residential would be five times that amount, or $200 per parcel."

Commissioners were not met with any approval by those in the audience determined to voice their concern about any "set" fee, meaning those in one-bedroom houses would pay the same $40 fee as those who own an apartment complex.

The county hopes to have an impact study done within a couple years and drop the flat-fees for residential property and base it on how much impact you have on runoff.

The study will determine how much of your property will just not allow water to run through, therefore adding to storm water runoff.

Bay County resident Mary Kyle says seniors on fixed incomes will be hurt the most.

"What impact will it have on the elderly who live in Bay County and are trying to hold onto our homes?"

They were also told that most residents will end up paying more when the impact study is finished.

Commissioner Mike Nelson says they have to act now because runoff is already causing problems.

"One of the biggest things that pollutes our bays and our waterways is storm water runoff, and this is our first step in trying to correct that."

Commissioner Jerry Girvin says even if your house isn't in a flood zone, it doesn't mean you're not affected.

"It's really kind of like a fire tax. I haven't had a fire lately, but I pay that tax to benefit everybody and myself."

The fee will start January 1 of next year.