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The Bay County Commission Set Millage Rate Ceiling

The Bay County Commission held a budget workshop Tuesday evening. 

During this, they set the ceiling on the milage rate and set the tentative budget. 

For the first time in 10 years, Bay County commissioners voted to increase the millage rate. 

The rate currently stands at about 4.4 mill but it could be raised to just over 5.6 mill.  

The Bay County Commission approved raising the millage rate ceiling by as much as 1.25 percent for the next fiscal year.

“That’s worst case scenario,” Bay County Commissioner Tommy Hamm said. “Could be less. We do what we’ll do this all over again next Tuesday evening, and then that’ll be the final hearing.”

Hamm said before the commission takes a final vote, they will make sure there aren’t any unexpected changes. 

“Last year, we set the millage flat,” Hamm said. “We didn’t we didn’t go up. And then a week or ten days before that, we you know, we were hit with shortfalls from the state, you know, for like a million and a half, $2 million.”

Hamm said this year, the  Front Beach Road Community Redevelopment Agency is to blame.  

“My take on the CRA, especially the Front Beach CRA and the Pier Park CRA,” Hamm said. “It’s it’s a legalized skim”

Hamm said Bay County has to pay the CRA $19 million of their ad valorem tax. 

That in turn means they are forced to raise the millage rate. 

“We are home to the richest CRA in the state by far percentage wise I think the CRA here pulls about 18 or 19% of our ad valorem,” Hamm said. 

Commissioners also said the increase in minimum wage, health care and property insurance, and various legislative mandates are also part of the problem for the increased millage rate. 

The Bay County Commission will hold a final vote on the millage rate at their next meeting on Tuesday, September 19.