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Panama City Beach raises Stormwater Assessment price

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 8:22 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Stormwater management was a hot topic at Thursday’s Panama City Beach city council meeting. City leaders have been looking for ways to fix the flooding in some parts of the community.

Changes to the city’s Stormwater Assessment for the 2022 fiscal year were up for approval and public comment. The proposal had a few factors to be voted on, but the most controversial was the price change. The new assessment is set for $2.8 million, which was negotiated down for the original $4.4 million.

Fifteen residents stood up to speak. Many were upset about the rise in price. Others were desperately asking for help with flooding.

“We fear every time it rains moderate to hard, that our house will flood,” one Panama City Beach resident said.

“Instead of cozying up on a rainy day to a good book or a good movie, we’re praying that stormwater doesn’t enter our home,” another Panama City Beach resident said.

In a 3 to 2 vote, the council decided to implement the change in price. Both Geoff McConnell and Paul Casto voted to keep a flat rate for residents.

Mayor Mark Sheldon said although there was a lot of back and forth, the city did take everyone’s opinion into consideration while making this decision.

“But there were 20,000 letters that went out and that’s the things we look at. We do look at all the emails, we get emails from folks and we look at each one of those as well and we respond and take it all into account. But we know for the greater good of the entire island of Panama City Beach, this is the best thing to do,” Sheldon said.

The council agreed to make every residential address equal, rather than an entire condo being compared to a single-family roof. And those who are disabled or veterans will continue to be exempt from paying.

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