Cost of Living

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Mobile home owners in unincorporated Bay County will see the most impact with the proposed impact fees.

Anyone building or buying a mobile home will bear the brunt of the fees. The fees specifically for parks and recreation are $659.74 for houses and manufactured homes, $522.07 per unit for apartments and condos, and $672.72 for mobile homes.

Even winter visitors who stay at mobile home parks are concerned.

Dean Baker and his wife have been visiting Panama City Beach for the last 20 years. While many parks are closing, none are opening in their place.

"I really think they're trying to get rid of us. They're catering to the millionaires and multi-millionaires and they're trying to run us people out because they don't want us."

County officials say more people live in mobile homes in Bay County than any other type of housing. Because of the higher rate of occupancy, they have the higher fees.

Mary Sittman, a local developer, isn't thrilled about the proposal either, saying this will be passed on to home buyers.

"Even if we had French fries that we were selling and we added a tax to French fries, that gets passed on to the ultimate user. Impact fees always get passed on to the ultimate purchaser."

Sittman says developers plan for incurred costs before a project begins. With the proposed fees, Sittman could owe more than $178,000 on just one current condo project.

The fees are somewhat retroactive because developers have to pay when they get a building permit or a certificate of occupance, which is usually the last permit before the residents move in.

"So there's no way for us to recover the cost. The same thing is for any builder who's building a single family home or putting in a mobile home."

Besides the parks and recreation impact fees, the county is also considering library impact fees. Those fees will be an additional amount of at least $100.