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Manatee Flooding Concerns Both Commissioners And Residents

FEMA Flood Zone Map of Manatee County

Manatee County Commissioners reopened a longtime discussion about decreasing the risk of flooding in residential areas Tuesday.

According to some residents, the problem reached new levels last year when several communities experienced flash flooding.

The Commission’s proposed solution -- a new stormwater utility fee.

“Something is wrong here,” homeowner Blake Williams told News Channel 8 in Aug. 2017, after more than 13 inches of rain fell on his Centre Lake subdivision for a number of days. “This water should be coming down by now. The water should not be here after three days of waiting. Something is backing up the Pearce Canal. It needs to be resolved.”

Even though the damage was not hurricane-related, citizens have been discussing the issue with county commissioners for decades.

At the Tuesday meeting, Manatee commissioners spoke openly about their struggle to find funding for a solution.

“It’s something we need to move forward on,” Commissioner Carol Whitmore told the Herald Tribune. “… We can’t afford to do what needs to be done.”

The commission has yet to decide details about the fee, including how much it would be and how often it would be collected.

In 1989, neighboring Sarasota County enacted a fee that is used for planning and maintenance costs and varies based on the size of a property. According to the Herald Tribune, a typical single-family home pays $90.65 annually.

The county will explore fiscal options in the weeks to come, but the Herald Tribune reported that this process could take 12 or more months to reach a solution.

Sam Newlon interning as a WUSF/USF Zimmerman School digital news reporter for spring 2018.
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