Residents in the Venetian Villa neighborhood of Panama City say they have fought with storm water run-off issues for years. As they look to the city for help, those residents may soon face a big decision.
For years, debris from storm water has been washing into canals through the culverts and spillways, causing concern.
"It is already having an effect on the property values, the fish, the crabs," resident William Britton said.
For years, residents have been begging the city to solve the problem, and it now looks like there may be a compromise.
"The city will finance the dredging project at 98 thousand dollars," commissioner Billy Rader said. "The homeowners can repay that back in five years, interest free."
Currently, a ballot is being passed around on which homeowners can chose the payment method they would prefer to fund the project. The first option - all 87 homeowners paying the same amount - about $225 dollars for 5 years. The second option - each homeowner paying about $20 dollars for every square foot they own over the next 5 years. The 3rd option is for neither option, essentially a 'No' vote for the project.
The option that has the most votes will be brought back before the city council for approval. The assessment would be collected with resident's property taxes. Britton questions the cost of the assessment.
"They're going to spend quite a bit of money in setting up the assessment and collecting the assessment through Panama City and Bay County, but yet they will not contribute anything?" Britton asked
He and other residents hoped that the city would take on some of the cost, but the fact that the canal is private property has made city commissioners hesitant.
"They do not want to set the precedent of doing one project, financing 100 percent of it, when there's other projects in the city," Commissioner Rader said.
Britton says at this point, the only other option is no dredging at all
"We feel like its now or never and if we have to pay, we'll pay." Britton said. "We have no choice."
The hope is to get the project started this year before a few available lots where the dredging would be staged are sold off.