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Stormwater fee may be in the offing for Manatee County

MANATEE COUNTY – The groundwork was set for a potential stormwater fee by the Board of County Commissioners in 1991, but the charge was never implemented.

Dealing with colossal storms and record rainfall have led today’s board to reconsider and after nearly 30 years, that charge might be right around the corner.

County staff briefed board members during a work session on Tuesday about the basics of stormwater and what the county’s responsibilities are in terms of water drainage and maintenance. It’s a bigger task than it seems, they said.

“Florida has a wonderful thing. We get 56 inches of rain a year,” said Commissioner Priscilla Trace. “Florida has a terrible thing. We get 56 inches of rain a year. You can look at it both ways.”

The county oversees more than 1,300 miles of various runoff systems, 750 acres of stormwater ponds and nearly 15,000 street drainage inlets. It’s plenty to keep his department busy, said Public Works Director Chad Butzow.

The board has been toying with the idea of instituting a stormwater fee for some time. Over the next few months, they’ll hear from staff about what that fee might go toward, what the collection method might be and who would be responsible to pay it.