Panama City leaders look to increase millage rate by 27 percent

By  | 

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The millage rate in Panama City may be changing.

Property owners may see an increase in their taxes as Panama City Leaders are considering changing the millage rate. (WJHG/WECP)

Panama City leaders discussed increasing the rate during a special public hearing Monday.

Officials say property values are down 13 percent from last year due to damage by done by Hurricane Michael. If they keep the current millage rate of 4.3500, they say the city would bring in less than money than they did last year.

Officials say the proposed millage rate of 5.5469 could help the city get back on track after the storm, which cost the city about $150 million for debris removal alone.

"When you have an overall decrease in value we have to raise the millage by 27 percent to be able to get the same amount of money," said Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki. "There will be an increase for some people. There will be a decrease for many people."

Officials say eleven months after Hurricane Michael, the city's reserves are starting to run low.

City Manager Mark McQueen says, "Two-point-one million dollars would go back into reserves, which the commission is talking about taking $1 million of that to start applying towards recovering some of our infrastructure. So were slowly starting to rebuild our reserve through this proposal."

Officials believe it will take five years to refill their reserves. They also plan on using grant money and other resources to pay of hurricane expenses.

The Panama City Commission will vote on the 2019-2020 millage rate during their next public hearing September 23.

Copyright 2019 WJHG. All rights reserved.