Bay County TDC Discuss Budget and Bed Tax

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PANAMA CITY BEACH-- Panama City Beach lodging businesses reported a 7% increase in bed tax collections for June.

But TDC officials are already setting their sights on next year.

"Today was the precursor of a mutli-month process of working through the entire budget process with the TDC," said Dan Rowe, TDC director.

They discussed the preliminary budget, which has almost 9 and a half million dollars earmarked for marketing and promoting the local beaches.

Some board members believe that's too excessive.

"Now it's an excess of 6.7 million dollars and we need to start putting a lot more of that money in my opinion into maintaining our number one asset," said Andy Phillips, TDC Board Member.

"Our budgets have gone up for tourism promotion because of the level of the tourist development growth continues to grow, so those dollars will go up," said Rowe.

But some on the board want to see more money going to beach maintenance efforts.

"Put some type of permanent trash receptacle corrals on the beach, so you don't have the inconsistency of the blue cans up in down the beach, increase beach raking throughout, increase trash pickup throughout in high frequency like July 4th." said Phillips.

They also discussed allocating more money to additional law enforcement during spring break, from the current 200,000 to 300,000.

"We better plan for it and be ready to help the sheriff and the chief anyway we can. The drug dogs, you've seen personal businesses, there's clubs that have stepped up with checks that are buying drug dogs for the chief, they're showing their initiative. We need to help out and show the public we are with them as well," said Philip Griffitts Jr., TDC board member.

The discussion will continue during the September 9th TDC meeting.

TDC officials are expecting a big increase in July bed taxes

They'll present their final budget to bay county commissioners in October.