Panama City officials make changes to help residents and local businesses

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Amid all the coronavirus concerns, Panama City city officials passed some changes at their commission meeting on Tuesday to help the community. 

“The city is looking at every possibility at trying to help lighten the load of all of our citizens as well as our businesses,” said Panama City City Manager Mark McQueen. 

The city will now wave all fees for online payments. This decision comes after the city decided to shut down City Hall’s lobby due to COVID-19 concerns. 

“A lot of people will choose to come down to City Hall to make the payment because they don’t want to do the online payment,” McQueen said. “So this will help them to be able to do those payments remotely.” 

The city officials also voted to lighten the load of solid waste fees among local bars, restaurants and gyms. 

McQueen says he plans on eliminating local bars and gyms’ solid waste fees altogether, as they are closed for the time being. He will work with restaurants using take-out services so they will not have to pay the full fee. 

“So what we want to do is measure that and meter the amount of that pay so that we can still take care of the solid waste requirements but relieve that extra burden from restaurants,” McQueen said.  

Owner of Trigo Deli, Gilbert Hamati, says although he’s had to lay off some workers, he is still doing well through take out services. 

“Thankfully we have a very strong, loyal, local customer base,” Hamati said. “They are very loyal and that’s helped keep me in business.” 

He says Trigo is producing less trash, and happy to see the city helping local businesses. 

“I think anything the city can do to help us out is a blessing,” Hamati said. “So I’m all for it and I’m excited about it.”

The city will also be suspending dis-connect services and code enforcement hearings for the time being.

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