PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City Beach city leaders will make their way to the nation’s capital, carrying a list of city priorities.
The rapid growth and increase in tourism in Panama City Beach have city leaders seeking federal funding to keep up.
Panama City Beach Mayor Mark Sheldon, City Manager Drew Whitman and their legal counsel are traveling to Washington D.C. in March with a list of stormwater, transportation and wastewater improvements that need the funds.
“The biggest one is the Ocean Outfall Stormwater Project, that we may need some additional funding to do that and septic tank to the sewer. We still have a lot of septic tanks on this island in the service area along the lagoon again and on the west end of the beach that we would like to switch over to city sewer, which means you have to expand your collection system and your treatment system,” Panama City Beach Vice Mayor Paul Casto said.
One of those priorities on the list making its way to Washington, D.C., is to improve the city’s water and wastewater systems and upgrade the wastewater facilities.
Casto said they also want to mitigate tourist traffic by improving transportation.
“Most of the transportation needs will be put into roads and of course, you have to do stormwater with the roads, but also we’re going to have a multi-modal center around here, our tram system on the beach, once Front Beach Road is completed. The goal is to get a lot of people in the trams,” Casto said.
They are hoping to use the federal funds to increase the city’s police and fire response times.
“They all work together. They’re all very important. So we’re just going after all the federal funding we can get for our city and our infrastructure needs and public safety to make it a better place for a community to live in,” Casto said.
The list is part of the city’s strategic plan which will help them improve public health and safety for residents and tourists.