City, County Deal "Ditched"? - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

City, County Deal "Ditched"?

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The city of Panama City and Bay County are negotiating a plan for a project that includes the payment of a county debt in exchange for property and cash to the city.

At Tuesday's city commission meeting, the deal was basically done, except one line addressing the transfer of maintenance responsibilities for ditches near Jenks Avenue. The city says no to the ditches. The county says that's the least of the problems and the proposal stalled for a second time.

The plan to turn Jenks from a two lane road into five lanes may come to a halt once again.

"I believe this is the third or fourth time," said Bay County Commissioner George Gainer. "And the second time its actually delayed the vote."

At Tuesday's commission meeting, Neil Fravel voiced his opposition to the county's addition of outfall ditches running east between State avenue and Jenks avenue.

"I just hate taking the county's headache, something the county has not maintained, and now all of a sudden it's mine," said Fravel.

The ditches west of State Avenue are maintained by Panama City, but the ditches east from State Avenue to Jenks south of Gabriel street are to be maintained by the county.  

"If you stand on State avenue and look to the west you will see the ditch that we are maintaining now, and it's a clear shot down there," said Fravel. "You can see the whole ditch.

"If you turn around and face east, the portion that the county has, you can't even tell there is a ditch there."

"I don't see as that being that big of a problem," said Gainer. "What I consider a greater problem is how it is being resolved."

Commissioner George Gainer says he hoped the deal could have been worked out between staff employees.

"But it wasn't," said Gainer. "So, we will take a look at it and meanwhile we will talk to our staff, who we have all the confidence in the world in, and decide if its something we want to do and then they can decide if it's something they want to do"

In the mean time, Fravel has asked that responsibility to take over these ditches not be put on Panama City.

"A lot of work has gone into this thing and it would be very regrettable if it doesn't come into fruition," said Gainer. "If it doesn't, my mind would still be open to working on something down the road."

Bay County Commission will look at the amended proposal at its next meeting on Tuesday, April 2nd.