Stormwater Utility

A Stormwater Utility is to stormwater what a sewer utility is to sewage, and a water utility is to drinking water. It is a "stand-alone" service unit within the County government, which generates revenues through fees for service. A stormwater utility is responsible for funding the operation, construction and maintenance of stormwater management devices, for stormwater system planning, and management. A stormwater utility generates its revenue through user fees and the revenues from the stormwater charges will go into a separate fund that may only be used for stormwater services.


On January 18, 2005, the Board of County Commissioners approved a stormwater utility ordinance, which established a flat stormwater fee for developed residential and non-residential parcels. The stormwater utility fee will be billed annually starting with the 2006 tax roll as a non-ad valorem charge on the Bay County Property Tax Bill, and will be collected through the County Tax Collectors Office.

Problems With Stormwater


Every time it rains, the rainwater that is not absorbed into the ground or evaporated (called runoff) carries contaminants from lawns, streets, buildings and parking lots and deposits them directly into our tributaries and bays. Better pollution control and treatment is needed to reduce the amount of contamination flowing into our local bodies of water.


The relatively flat terrain of Bay County and the large areas of wetlands and areas with a high water-table combine to present unique challenges for managing our frequent and sometimes intense rainfall events. However, the goal is to manage our stormwater runoff so that no water is present in structures, roadways remain free of flooding in accordance with their designed level of service and that yards and drainage systems return to normal within 72 hours.


Stormwater Management has been funded in the past through property taxes and other general fund revenues. Many projects were deferred to pay for more critical operations such as police and fire. However, what one pays for stormwater management should be related to what is actually passed off the parcel into the County's stormwater system, not the value of the property from which it came.