BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — During the Tuesday meeting, Bay County Commissioner Clair Pease pointed out what she sees as a problem in the budget.
“When we did our budget this year, there were no extra funds to put towards parks, a lot of our parks are in need of some extra attention, we need new playground equipment, swing sets for our residents and for visitors,” Pease said.
Out of the $5.4 million park budget, $1.4 million goes to the Miller County Pier, and another $600,000 goes to lifeguards. That leaves just $3.4 million for the rest of the county’s parks. Pease is suggesting the expansion of a vendor pilot program for chair rentals and other items at Rick Seltzer Park this Spring.
“We tried it this year just to see if it would work to see if people wanted to have those types of activities at the park and as I understand, it did work very well, I don’t know dollar-wise what it did but it worked well enough to where we think we can send it out for bid to the local vendors,” Pease said.
Pease is also suggesting paid parking at county properties. She specifically named the county’s parking lot on the curve of Thomas Drive.
“We purchased for people to use to go to the beach, well, it’s not really being used for that, people are parking cars there for sale or something might be broken down, they just leave it there for days so the citizens are really not getting the benefit of these parking areas,” Pease said.
Other commissioners said if approved, they don’t want it to be a burden on locals.
“We don’t want our locals to be taxed and we want them to still enjoy these areas but we do feel like that we’re leaving a lot on the table that we could money that we could get to keep our parks in good shape,” Pease said.
Pease also pitched food and beverage services at parks.