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Pinellas County Considers Stormwater Utility Fee

Pinellas County is looking for ways to fund its stormwater management program. The cost of staying in compliance with state and federal water quality regulations is increasing. Less money is available in the budget due to reductions in ad valorem tax collections and Penny for Pinellas revenue.

The county needs money to pay for mandated studies, capital improvement projects, and day-to-day maintenance and improvements of existing facilities. Creation of a stormwater utility and fee assessments for residents and businesses in unincorporated areas would bring in needed revenue.

However, the commission is not yet united in its thinking on the subject. County Commissioners approved, 4-3, a resolution Feb. 22 that would allow fees to be assessed and collected if later they decide a stormwater utility is needed. A final decision must be made by March to have money available for the next budget year. Public hearings must be scheduled by at least July. ...