Panama City Beach fire and storm water assessments will remain unchanged next fiscal year
Panama City Beach will not raise fire or storm water assessments for next fiscal year.
The decision came during a Panama City Beach City Council meeting, according to the Panama City News Herald.
The city's storm water tax dates back about a decade, according to councilman Paul Casto. The tax is cited for being the reason that Tropical Storm Marco did not cause more flooding throughout the city. Tropical Storm Marco reportedly caused up to 2 feet of flooding in areas across Panama City Beach.
Assessments are different for each individual property. Storm water assessments include a $35 capital fee.
"The (fire) assessment is a way for us to be able to recoup some of the funds that are needed for our life safety (programs)," said Mayor Mark Sheldon during a Panama City Beach City Council meeting. "We have to have the funding to make sure that our life safety teams have what they need."
According to councilman Michael Jarman, the fire tax paved the way for the Panama City Beach Fire Rescue to expand. In fact, the fire department opened its third station earlier this year.
"The assessment has allowed us to hire the amount of firefighters that we probably should have had about 15 years ago," said Jarman.
“The City plans to continue to offer a mitigation credit or reduction in the storm water assessment to property owners with certain private storm water mitigation facilities,” according to the Combined Fire/Stormwater Assesment Notice. “Property owners interested in requesting mitigation credit in the future are encouraged to learn more from the City’s website or the City Clerk’s office.”