Panama City Commission Approves Port Authority and CRA Budgets - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Panama City Commission Approves Port Authority and CRA Budgets

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The Panama City Community Redevelopment Agency was met with opposition once again as those from the Downtown North Community, namely Glenwood, were not happy with how the CRA plans to spend funds. Specifically, more than $500,000 for more sidewalks down 9th Street in Panama City.

"I would suggest to you that there is a far better use for that half a million dollars in terms of immediately using it to improve housing stock," said Alvin Peters. "Hire young people to work under the supervision of Cornell Brock to march down 9th Street with a pressure washer, a can of paint, and a hammer and maybe some roof tresses and do something to keep houses from falling down."

CRA director William Whitson announced the CRA is getting ready to have their first meeting on residential grants on October 2nd.

"That task force is scheduled to kick off and I've been diligently working at getting it organized and all of these things are on the table," said Whitson.

The CRA budget was approved by the board.

During the regularly scheduled Panama City Commission meeting meeting times were also discussed.

"The thing that is important to me also is that the public has a chance to participate and folks work," said Commissioner John Kady. "So, the earlier the meeting is I think it gives people more of opportunity for people to participate in the commission meetings."

The motion to start meetings at 8 o'clock in the morning was approved by the city. However, the vote was not unanimous as Commissioner Mike Nichols and Commissioner Billy Rader voted no to the change.

Last on the agenda at Tuesday's meeting was the approval of the Port Authority Budget. Wayne Stubbs, Port Director for Panama City Port Authority, reported a record year for the port with over a million tons, which is up 18 percent from last year.

"But, more importantly our tenants are having a fantastic year or are at least getting ready to have some fantastic years," said Stubbs. "Both Berg has invested significantly in their plant over the last months and Oceaneering has tremendous orders on their books and they have invested millions of dollars in creating storage capacity for the umbilicals on the port."

The Port budget was approved by the commission for fiscal year 2014.

The Port also has been granted $2.2 million dollars for an expansion project. View that story here.

Also Tuesday night the commission approved a millage rate of 3.87 mills.

8 a.m. meeting times for the city will begin in October.