Panama City Beach city council moving forward on fire station, hiring new city position

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Panama City Beach city council voted on the new fire station the city plans to build at Thursday's city council meeting.

The city already has a design team, but Thursday's vote allows the city manager to work with the team to keep things moving.

They have plans to work with the fire department and other emergency services to get their input for the design.

The plan is to build the fire station near Nautilus Street and the city's utility department.

"Because we have diesel and fuel back over there and it'll allow the fire department to come through one road, and drive through there and fuel up, clean up, get in the house quick where they're ready to go again," Mayor Mike Thomas said.

Also, council members voted to move forward with hiring a position the city has never had before.

The council voted four to one to begin the process of hiring a public information officer.

Councilwoman Josie Strange voted no.

Mayor Mike Thomas says the position would help residents stay up-to-date on things going on in the city.

The Civil Service Board has to approve the posting before the city can begin hiring.

"We have done a bad job, I think over the last few years, letting people know what was going on in Panama City Beach and letting them know the reasons for things that are happening out here and I think we owe it to them to do a better job at that," Thomas said.

If the PIO job description is approved, a budget amendment would be required before the hiring process could begin. The job would pay between about $40,000 to $68,000 a year.