PC Commission Tries to Keep Lawyer Fees Down

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PANAMA CITY Panama City Commissioners are trying to figure out how to keep their lawyer's fees down.

Commissioners usually pay $10,000 to $15,000 a month, but their most recent bill was nearly triple that amount.

Commissioners say that's unacceptable.

Commissioners hired Nevin Zimmerman from the Burke and Blue law firm last April after long-term city attorney Rowlett Bryant retired.

In the last seven billing cycles, Zimmerman helped oversee several projects including the two panama city marina deeds.

But commissioners believe the bills they've received are still too high.

Panama City Commissioner John Kady explains, "I'm just looking at a situation from a point of value standpoint, and some of those things that we may be able to do internally, do internally so it doesn't cost us so much."

Burke and Blue billed the city 11,000 dollars for the month of April.

That's what commissioners expect to see.

But in the past three months, Zimmerman's fees inched closer to $23,000.

In October, almost $33,000.

Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki "I think when he gets a bill just like I do in my business and you see it's twenty-five thousand dollars, you go, 'Wow!'"

Commissioners are considering a possible $15,000 monthly cap and more communication through the city manager's office.

Zimmerman says, "I'll meet with the city manager, I'll meet with whoever you'd like us to meet with."

Panama City Commissioner Billy Radar adds, "I would just like to say that you know, if it's one thing that really irritates me, is when there's animosity and i don't want to see it go in that direction."

Burke and Blue will come up with a proposal by Tuesday of next week that will be discussed in February 11th's meeting.

Commissioners also approved a proposal allowing the city to add cleanup costs for nuisance properties onto tax bills.