Panama City Beach leaders discuss how to spend largest budget in the city’s history

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 6:46 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Running a city costs a lot of money and next year, Panama City Beach will have more to spend than ever before. That’s because they have millions more to work with within the general fund.

Tuesday, council members and city leaders sat in on a lengthy meeting, but there was a lot to cover. Panama City Beach is looking at its largest budget in the city’s history, which is roughly $75 million for the fiscal year 2023.

“We’re running Panama City Beach like a business. you don’t have this kind of money, you don’t have this many employees when it’s not run with every dollar accounted for,” Mayor Mark Sheldon said. “Every dollar of that budget is crucial. And we look at every dollar.”

Spending is divided up into three categories, with the biggest chunk being capital projects. Starting high on the list, about $8 million will go towards building a safe room at Frank Brown Park in case disaster strikes.

“So for us, anytime you talk the word safe rooms, we want more pods for people in case a storm comes through there’s a place for people to go,” Sheldon said.

Safety is a common theme across other items on the budget, such as building up our police force. The city is looking to hire four more K9 officers for the department, along with bringing in four more K9s. They’re also looking at building a housing division for the dogs, which would be connected to another proposed item.

Sheldon said they’re discussing tearing down the fire station on Middle Beach, near the Walmart, and relocating it to Alf Coleman Road. There, they would be able to add the new K9 housing building.

They’re also looking at completely rebuilding the fire station on Back Beach, near City Hall.

“When it boils down to it, nobody says no to our police and fire departments,” Sheldon said. “We support them 100% so we want to make sure that are giving them all the resources and tools that they need.”

These are only a handful of items on the city’s largest budget plan to date.

Nothing is finalized yet. This is comparable to being the city’s wish list of all the things they’re hoping to pay for in the coming year.

There will be a second budget workshop looking at utilities and CRA plans on August 23rd at 9 a.m. That will be held at City Hall. Workshops are open to the public both in-person and online at https://www.pcbfl.gov/.

The final budget plan for the fiscal year 2023 will be approved in September.

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