An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

Manatee Commissioners ponder how to fairly impose a stormwater fee

Charge could be included on utility or property tax bills

MANATEE COUNTY — As it struggles with the concept of how to fairly charge property owners for stormwater management, the Manatee County Commission still has more questions than answers.

Flooding woes in several neighborhoods in recent years prompted the commission to raise the issue of whether it should levy a fee on monthly utility bills or annual property tax bills specifically for stormwater work, as other communities do.

On Thursday [Feb. 28], the commissioners conferred with Public Works officials and consultants about how to pay for canal, pond and roadside ditch maintenance and other work related to drainage.

“No matter how we do this, it’s going to come across as a tax increase,” Commission Chairman Stephen Jonsson said.

Commissioner Misty Servia compared the analysis with what the county must do to assess impact fees on new homes and other construction to pay for roads and other amenities used by newcomers. “It’s got to be defensible so the program is protected,” Servia said, emphasizing the need to withstand any legal challenge.

“The level of service will drive your cost,” Public Works Director Chad Butzow said.