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Councilman calls for more lifeguards to be hired next season

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — As the Panama City Beach City Council continues to push for a beach safety ordinance within the city limits, one councilman is proposing a new plan to get more lifeguards on the beach.

At Thursday’s council meeting, Geoff McConnell, councilman for Ward three, says he would like an additional 16 seasonal lifeguards to be hired next year.

He says looking at the 2020 Fiscal Year budget, the fire department is set to hire eight seasonal employees, five full-time lifeguards, and one supervisor. McConnell says though that would only cover the area near the Russell- Fields Pier.

McConnell says the additional hires would be able to cover the nine and a half miles of beach.

“Have them just be posted right at the beach access to cover that area and that way we’d have a good cover-up and down the beach to help people be educated on the flag system, let them know where the riptides are and if necessary, go in and try to help,” said McConnell.

He says this plan would cost about half-a-million dollars.

McConnell says one local business also offered to donate five jet skis to help the efforts.

The council is hosting a public workshop on August 13 at 1:00 p.m. at the Lyndell Conference Center to discuss how and where the funds could come from to make the hires.

The Bay County Commission and Tourist Development Council officials will also be on hand for discussion.

All residents of Panama City Beach are welcome to come.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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