Criticism from Manatee County, Fla. residents regarding a new storm water management fee has county officials revisiting their plans.
After proposing the implementation of a new storm water management fee to the public, Manatee county officials have cancelled five upcoming informational meetings in response to residents’ concerns.
Staff will work on a revised plan to present to commissioners. If enacted, the fee would not be implemented before 2021, reported the Bradenton Times.
Commissioners were presented with two proposed storm water rates in September, according to the Bradenton Times. Under the first proposal, most homeowners would pay around $60 annually, allowing the county to double its storm water maintenance efforts. The second proposed higher rate of around $90 would provide funding for Manatee county to improve water quality and address the areas that flood most frequently.
"We’ve been listening to the public and many of the outstanding questions they have about how will agricultural lands be handled, potential incentives for homeowner associations and community development districts that pay a storm water fee for privately owned storm water systems and more," said Manatee County Administrator Cheri Coryea.
According to Director Chad Butzow, funds from the storm water fee would allow county staff to maintain ditches, canals and other drainage systems twice as often. This should lessen flooding issues in some areas and reduce the amount of harmful nutrients that aggravate red tide issues.
The revisions will give non-profit and commercial owners ample time to budget for the stormwater fee in 2021.
"By February we will bring to the board our recommendations for immediate steps to address the most severely impacted areas to ensure we're doing what we can to avoid flooding and enhance water quality," said Coryea. "By first quarter 2021, the board will have a comprehensive storm water report and a list of appropriate projects to make a strong decision on the most appropriate storm water rate."