Bay County Five Year 1/2 Cent Sales Tax Plan

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Bay County Five Year 1/2 Cent Sales Tax Plan

January 18, 2018


Bay County finalizes 5-year Roadwork Plan

Big-ticket items include Jenks Avenue, Loop Road, County 2297 and Thomas Drive.

PANAMA CITY — More than $37 million in road and bridge projects in Bay County are proposed to be funded from half-cent sales tax revenues from 2019 through 2021 under a plan endorsed Tuesday by the Bay County Commission.

Voters in November 2016 approved of the half- cent sales tax to fund the transportation projects. The approval allows the tax to be levied for 10 years, and the plan approved Tuesday outlines projects that will be funded in the first half of that period. The commission previously had endorsed the project list for fiscal 2017 and 2018.

The big-ticket items for 2019-21 — those with at least $3 million designated — are continued work on Jenks Avenue, creation of a County 2321 and State 390 connector road, Loop Road Phase 2, County 2297 resurfacing, and County 388 resurfacing.

Also coming in over $1 million are resurfacing on Thomas Drive and East Avenue, capacity improvements on Loop Road Phase 2 and addressing a Florida Department of Environmental Protection violation on West Linger Longer Road.

“I do want to commend staff. They have been working for years creating this list of wish projects,” Commissioner Robert Carroll said.

“We’ve got 28 local roads that are being resurfaced (in 2018). We’ve got people working great jobs (repairing the roads). We’re eliminating runoff from the dirt roads, which are getting into our creeks and our streams and into our bays. We’re increasing safety by the repair and the replacement of bridges, intersection improvements, adding turn lanes, which adds efficiency. We’re improving drainage.”

County Commissioner Philip “Griff” Griffitts said he was particularly pleased to see Thomas Drive from Bristol Street to Joan Avenue being resurfaced from the half-cent funds.

“I get lots of calls about corridor,” he said.

Public Works Director Keith Bryant said that stretch of Thomas Road — set for $4.1 million in half-cent funding from FY 2017-19 — is bumpy and needs repaving because city utilities underneath it are pushing the pavement up. The county and city are working to get the utilities moved and after that will repave the road.

Bryant said the benefit of having the five-year road and bridge work plan is that it helps county staff plan.

“The benefit for county staff is it allows us to look into the future so we’re able to get control over surveying and permitting done early where we can roll right into those projects,” he said.

Having a five-year plan also helps the county apply for matching funds for projects. Jenks Road widening is an example: The County’s new plan calls for spending $7.7 million in half-cent revenues to widen and add sidewalks to Jenks Avenue from Baldwin Road to State Road 390 from 2017 through 2020. The commission on Tuesday approved of an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation in which the state agency funds $1.4 million toward the project. Bryant said construction on the project is slated to begin in 2019.

The commission on Tuesday also approved of a small-scale amendment to the Bay County Comprehensive plan and a zone change to allow American Tower to increase the height of a telecommunications tower from 195 feet to 250 feet.


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