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Date of Issue: October 22, 2008

Anna Maria low-income may get break on stormwater fee

Low-income residents of Anna Maria may soon find relief from paying the city’s recently adopted annual stormwater utility fee.

City treasurer Diane Percycoe said the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office establishes the low-income standard.

One of the qualifying factors is that the combined household income cannot exceed $24, 214, according to the MCPAO.

The city commission is expected to pass an ordinance at its Oct. 23 meeting granting those who qualify an exemption from paying the fee, called an Environmental Services Unit.

A standard annual ESU in Anna Maria is $45 for a single-family residence with 2,254 feet of impervious surface, while a condominium pays $22.95 per unit. Condominium owners get off with just a $40.95 fee and vacant lot owners pay $9.45 yearly.

City clerk Alice Baird told the commission at its Sept. 11 meeting that there might be as many as 14 families that could qualify for the exemption.

The stormwater utility fee was adopted Sept. 11 by the commission after more than three years of study and preparation. The fee can only be used to fund maintenance of the city’s stormwater infrastructure, and the city can’t borrow from other sources if there’s a shortfall in the maintenance budget.

The commission has said it will review the fee annually, and an appeal process is in place if a property owner feels his or her ESU is too high.