TDC Moves Forward with Universal Garbage Collections

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PANAMA CITY BEACH-- Beach House Bar and Grill owner Thomas Cunningham says he's seen more and more people throwing their trash in his business dumpster.

"So they drive up, throw it in, and away they go. I catch a lot of them and I explain it to them, this thing cost me money," said Thomas Cunningham, Beach House Owner.

Officials say people also dump garbage in the blue cans on the beach and even at other peoples residences.

"Property across the street, there's people that drop off there. Fortunately, there are some Samaritans who come and pick it up, like me and my daughter so it doesn't blow all over the year," said Rick Williams, Panama City Beach Resident.

It's stories like these that have convinced Bay County Tourist Development Council members it's time for every beach resident to pay for private garbage collection.

"We need to have some universal way of having that picked up. And make sure our area is clean," said Mike Thomas, Bay County Commissioner.

Universal garbage collection would require all property owners to pay for their own trash removal, from bridge-to-bridge-to-bridge.

Without the mandatory service, people like Williams will be paying for someone else's trash, dumped in his cans.

But local elected officials say the entire community has to buy-in to the plan for it to work.

"People are afraid to vote for something, whether they think it's right or not, they'll tell you they think it's right, but they won't vote for it because they don't want to be told what to do," said Thomas.

Panama City Beach officials say they're working on a trash collection ordinance and plan to consult with county officials on the unincorporated areas of the beach.