That on again, off again property deal between Bay County and the City of Panama City appears to be back on… if the city meets one condition, that is.
Maintenance of outfall ditches near Jenks Avenue recently threatened to kill the deal, but city and county leaders are now confident they can work things out. Mayor Greg Brudnicki appeared before county commissioners Tuesday to issue an apology for "poor communications" and to assure them the city is ready to move forward.
It's a $1.2 million transaction for both parties: the city gets cash and the county's surplus property at 6th Street and Mulberry Avenue in exchange for paying the debt service on the Juvenile Justice Courthouse for four years.
As for those ditches between Jenks Avenue and State Avenue, the county says the city must accept responsibility for them or the deal is off. "We went ahead and okayed the agreement today with the understanding that will be worked out at the staff level," said Commissioner Bill Dozier.
In other business, commissioners approved a Bay Economic Development Alliance request to provide up to $360,000 in incentive funds for "Project Reconnect."
According to the EDA, a local medical software technology company – whose identity is known to commissioners but has not been disclosed to the public because Florida is competing with at least two other states – plans to expand by 300 new jobs. The company is applying for a total of $1.8 million under the Florida Qualified Target Industry (QTI) tax refund program which requires 20% in local matching funds.
Neal Wade, EDA Executive Director, told commissioners The funds will only be paid if the company actually creates the jobs and pays its taxes.