Local officials discuss adding more beach safety measures

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Just days after the Panama City Beach City Council passed their Beach Safety Ordinance, the council continued to conversation of safety in a public workshop.

The council, Bay County Commissioners and Bay County Tourist Development Council all participated in the workshop, brainstorming different ways they can make the area safer.

The main topic was adding more lifeguards on the beach and where the money would come from.

While no decisions were made, one solution to their problem involves a state-level change.

The state legislature dictates how much money the TDC can allocate for public safety. Currently, six cents of the bed tax are available.

“Panama City Beach collects five currently so there’s another penny that we don’t qualify under the laws of the state so we’re hoping to petition the state legislature,” Panama City Beach City Councilman Paul Casto said.

TDC President Dan Rowe said, “We are limited in terms of the amount of money that can be used for public safety so just having that sixth penny doesn’t mean that we will be able to use that sixth penny for lifeguards.”

Casto says he doesn’t feel as if PCB residents should pay for this so hopefully, they can find another solution.

Currently, Rowe says the TDC gives a total of about one million dollars to Bay County and Panama City Beach to help in safety.

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