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Bay County TDC hopes to take over State Welcome Center

BAY COUNTY, Fla. — A decrease in the budget for ‘Visit Florida’ is opening up new opportunities for agencies in the panhandle

With the $26 million dollar budget cut to the statewide organization, the group is forced to lay off employees and also choosing to close the state welcome center on Highway 231 near Dothan, Alabama.

‘Visit Florida’ approached eight tourist development councils in the panhandle to see if they would collectively take over the building.

President of the Bay County Tourist Development Council, Dan Rowe, made this proposal to the rest of the board Tuesday morning and they all agreed it was a good idea.

Rowe says it takes about $500,000 dollars a year to keep the building running.

“The cost is on basis of the value of the Tourist Development Tax so for us, we would typically pay about 28-29% of the overall costs of that facility but if we expand to counties beyond the eight coastal counties, that number may go down.”

This plan is in its early stages of discussion and would need cooperation with the other counties to move forward.

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