Collier County flooding. Photo via Javier Enrique Molina

Collier County residents concerned over stormwater fee proposal

Commissioners voted to create a stormwater fee back in February after several public hearings. The proposed fee is for those who live in unincorporated Collier County and it’s purpose is to help maintain and improve the stormwater systems.

So now, you could be paying anywhere from a few hundred dollars a year more, to several thousand depending on the size and value of your property.

Homeowners are asking, “What am I going to get out of this fee?”

They are worried they won’t reap the benefits, saying the County is supposed to be maintaining culverts anyways, but as we were able to see, some are being missed.

Teresa Fillmore lives in unincorporated Collier County and she says it’s an unfair tax, “They say it’s a fee, but it’s a tax.”

Fillmore says the County has gone too far with proposing a stormwater fee, “Three taxes this year. Stormwater, sales tax and fire tax.”

And you still have a say in all of them.

The thought of being slapped with another bill makes Fillmore furious, and if the proposed stormwater fee is imposed, Fillmore would have to pay $5,700 a year.

Dawn Smith from Golden Gate Estates, says culverts near her home have not been cleaned out since Hurricane Irma, and is skeptical, saying she never sees the County out clearing the systems.

Smith said ,”If you drive out down the roads in the Estates, you’ll see swamp cabbage pine trees growing out the ditches.”

We took those concerns to District 4 Commissioner Penny Taylor, and she says that’s actually why the fee is critical right now. The County doesn’t have enough money to get out and clean every canal, every pipe, every drain. But doing that is vital to reduce flooding and keep our water clean.

You do have the opportunity to appeal your fee amount and again the public hearing to voice your concerns is September, 6.

Reporter:Hannah Vogel
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