The PCB City Council, All Talk, More Drownings, Fewer Police on the Roads Part II

by Rex Lee Reid

Phase One of the Fix

Now that the situation we find ourselves in has been outlined let’s take a shallow dive into the facts and data surrounding how and who spends our precious tax dollars.

The TDT/TDC will bring in roughly thirty-three million dollars this year. And those dollars are roughly speaking, allocated in the following manner.

The Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau 57%, beach renourishment and maintenance (20%), public safety reimbursement (8%), public sports park debt service (8.5%), and county administrative costs (6%).

Now one need not be an accountant to look at the numbers and see what is wrong. The TDC does not even spend 10% of its yearly budget on public safety. But why is this?

Well, it is for a host of reasons that require a much deeper dive that I will address in upcoming articles. But in the near term there is a simple patch that voters/locals can demand. At the July 11th special meeting prior to the PCB city council meeting and at the next TDC board meeting.

To honor those that have been lost and to prevent others from being harmed in the future. The voters/locals should demand the TDC increase its public safety spending by two percent or more.

And this is not just about the drownings but the public’s safety in general. Every year the city and county act like they are surprised spring break is going to happen and there is going to be trouble. Due to the lack of the availability of police officers.

Take this year for example, the governor had to send State Troopers to help out. Assuming the TDC is spending our tax dollars wisely to drive tourism. Then shouldn’t they also be on the hook to provide every single dollar required to keep me and you safe?

Sadly, from where the vast majority of locals sit the plan appears to be put our safety at risk to safeguard wasteful spending or maybe almost as bad shift the cost to the Bay County taxpayer to pick up when they were the source of the problem to start with.

This is not to say that we should try in any way to prevent tourists from coming. The thinking man realizes we would not have half the amenities we have without the tourist. But we should not have to take it in the shorts and pay for it at the same time.

A mere two percent shift in spending would provide an additional $660k that could be used for public safety. You could increase the lifeguards’ pay so they don’t leave to go to Walton County or the Fire Department. And that would also attract additional candidates to fill the open slots we have now.

You could also pay for other cities and counties to send off duty officers during our busiest times. Just like we did after Hurricane Michael.


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