Little by little infrastructure at the Panama City Marina is being completed. Although plans beyond the first phase of the more than $13 million project are still unsure the city is taking steps to bring experience to help along the way.
City Attorney Nevin Zimmerman suggested the city take on a special council to tackle the project. On the proposed board would be Les Burke, from the Burke and Blue Law Firm, Doug Sale, who currently works for Panama City Beach and has experience with big projects like Pier Park, and Mark Mustian from Tallahassee.
Mustian is a former Tallahassee commissioner and has worked on bond litigation in the Panhandle for more than 30 years. He also worked on large projects in West Palm and Pier Park. The Marina project is currently focused on construction to the sea wall and other infrastructure. The city has not discussed any further the lighthouse project or prospective developers or tenants.
Commissioner Mike Nichols was concerned bringing on additional litigation would add to costs the city would have to pay up front, but overall believes the move is good for the city as a whole.
Panama City is also one step closer to implementing a bed tax within the city. After getting approved on the state level the commission voted today to push the appointment to the Tourist Development Council to the county level. Florida legislature approved and the governor signed the local bill allowing the city of Panama City Beach to retain the appointment of a seat on the TDC board.
Immediately following the approval TDC staff were contacted and told of the city commission's decision and the TDC board considered the proposed plan this morning. Once the city commission and the TDC board have approved the plan the county commission will consider it for approval and schedule a referendum vote.
Commissioner John Kady raised concerns today over how future bed tax funds would be overseen by the county and also how a tourism tax would best serve residents and not just those coming here as tourists.
The commission did approve the recommendation.
Also at Tuesday's meeting the city opted to participate in tax free holidays for the start of hurricane season from this point forward. Previously the city had not taken action to be included for the tax free day.