2007 Tax Roll doesn't reflect falling prices

Commissioner George Gainer claims that the new tax rolls don’t reflect the price correction this market has experienced stating that valuations and assessments are still too high. He plans to challenge this in the September 4th commission meeting, although it is uncertain whether he has the authority. Bay County Property Appraiser, Wayne Spitzer encouraged this as he believes that the appraisals were high. The current millage rate was recently lowered from 4.1620 to 3.7915, but Gainer wants to take a closer look at the actual assessments.

The Bay County TDC cut Spring Break Marketing Budget

In a meeting Tuesday the 28th, the Bay County Tourist Development Council slashed the spring break budget in half, from $300,000 to $150,000. In addition they approved a $112,500 budget for a market research study to determine who best to market to instead of college spring breakers. Among other things, a new two year contract with YPartnership in Orlando was approved with an increase in their monthly retainer form $9,500 to $12,500. YPartnership has recomended a partnership with MTV to produce the “college spring break” period. In the past, the 3 to 5 week period of spring break received over a third of the entire marketing budget, but generated only 10% of the annual bed tax collections.

This is all in an effort to get a more family-oriented demographic to our area during peak vacation seasons and ultimately to help change the image of Panama City Beach to that of a more family friendly area and shift away from the images of kids drinking and partying on our beaches.

County Road 388

In January, it was reported that Bay County and FDOT agreed to swap County Road 388 for some local state-owned roads that were more “local” for Bay County with regards to maintenance and upkeep. Bay County was to have its chance to relinquish its responsibility to re-surface the badly worn 388. Now it is being reported that the deal is off the table, with the County bearing the responsibility. Confused, but oh well.

For those of you that don’t know, 388 is a sad description of a road. It has been a couple of years since I’ve driven it and mostly because I fear my little car being literally tossed off the road by the heavy grooving or one of hundreds of potholes.

Those that travel the road daily know that it is just flat out unsafe. The condition is terrible (an understatement) and needs to be dealt with. Commissioner Gainer contends that 388 will be the main artery for the new airport traffic and responsibility for resurfacing should fall on the parties involved in the relocation. However, the resurfacing of 388 has been put off for too long. This road was badly in need of repair several years ago, and its condition has been allowed to get worse.

The bottom line is that regardless of what the road will be used for, County Road, County Responsibility.

Panama City Bay County Airport Relocation in the News

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that the Atlanta Journal Constitution covered a story on the Panama City Bay County Airport relocation. With Atlanta being the largest feeder market for our area, a new airport means the possibility of cheaper fairs and more frequent flights to the beached commonly termed “Atlanta’s Beaches”. (read more)

Realtors, what’s the buzz out there? The 404 permit was announced to have been received on Thursday the 16th of this month and a buddy of mine got a call the very next day from someone that he had been working with in the past that said he heard about the final permit for the airport being issued and is ready to make a move towards purchasing here. I’ve heard at least one other story like this, has anyone else had similar experiences?

Some of the rumors that I’m hearing is that FedEx will be using the new Bay County Airport as a shipping hub and that between that, the staffing at the Bay County Airport and Pier Park, our area will have over 8,000 new jobs. I’ve also heard rumors that Southwest is indeed coming this way and that they are in negotiations with AirTran and JetBlue, to other low cost carriers.

WestBay Florida Blog – Airport Construction "Fraud"?

What is Mitigation

When local environmentalist talk seriously about the airport relocation project and the creation of the West Bay Preservation Area, you hear the term “mitigation land” thrown around. But what is mitigation? If you understand what it means, it helps you understand the environmental value of the West Bay Sector Plan (and by extension, airport relocation). Here’s a brief (and non-expert’s) explanation. . .” (read entire article)

“Fraud” is a Serious Allegation

“A week ago a News Herald headline boldly proclaimed that KBR, the company hired to provide oversight for the construction of the new airport, “has a history of fraud.” But the story didn’t support the headline or charge. The lead in the story refers to “allegations of overbilling and fraud” – but no proof was presented. Perhaps the reporter is saving the proof for presentation to a grand jury. Because when you say a company has “a history of fraud,” you’d better have something more than “allegations.” (read entire post)

An Avalanche of Local Experts

Yesterday a friend told me he was amazed by the sheer number of aviation experts we have in Bay County. We must have more per capita than any other county in the country. Every few days another person writes a letter or a longer piece in the News Herald expressing doubts about the new airport. Strange, though, how they all seem to be working off the same set of discredited arguments and talking points. . .” (read entire post)

Safety First

“Is our airport unsafe? No, it is not unsafe. Is our airport as safe as it could be and should be? No, it is not as safe as it could or should be. Is it possible to have an honest discussion about how to make our airport as safe as it could be? If recent events are any indication, probably not. A week or more ago, a member of the Airport Authority raised the “safety issue” at our existing airport – and the danger of taking off and landing on short runways – by raising the example of the recent crash in Brazil. . .” (read entire post)