More than a year after Hurricane Michael building permits still piling up

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Even over a year after Hurricane Michael, the Bay County Builders Service Division is still seeing high volumes of building permit applications each day. 

Following the storm, they helped over 150 walk-in customers each day. On average today, they see around 50 to 75 people in the office each day. 

“It’s not quite the same volume of course that we did the first few months,” said Bay County Building Official Rick Holmes. “It has slowed down, but still we are extremely busy.”  

In the months following the storm, many of their workers worked seven days a week for 12 or more hours each day.

“We were quite overwhelmed with the sheer numbers,” said Bay County Building Official Rick Holmes. “Our front lobby was standing room only for several months.”

For the 2019 fiscal year about 30,000 permits were issued. This is more than three times the permits that were issued in the 2018 fiscal year. 

They have also improved their application process. 

“That is one thing that we tried so hard to do is streamline our processes where it would be easier and faster for folks to come in and get their permits,” Holmes said. 

Although progress has been made, Holmes says there is still so much work to be done. 

“We anticipate this to go on for not weeks, not months, but years,” Holmes said. “It is just real hard to tell exactly how long, but it is going to be quite some time yet.” 

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