County to Charge for Access to New Pier

by February 4, 2009 • 12 comments

_mg_0735_2Since apparently I’m all about people having to pay more for stuff, you would think that I would agree with Bay County deciding to charge the same fee as Panama City Beach did (and will in the future) for using the pier – and you would actually be correct.  However, not at first.

I’ll be frank, the only real objection I have to paying a fee at a place like this is because I’m not usually carrying cash.  I don’t remember if they accepted credit cards, but who likes to charge a dollar anyway.  Plus, who wants to pay $6 just to take the wife and kids out to the end of the pier for 10 minutes on the remote chance that we’ll actually see a fish that is radical enough to entertain the kids.  I mean, seriously, $6 for something that I’ve already paid for through being a tax-payer?

_mg_0732_2But, the reality of the situation is that the tax dollars that I’ve put towards (or actually will put towards in the future as I’m sure this was financed through bonds) our new pier(s) is actually going to the construction, not the upkeep.  An article in the paper this morning quoted Mike Thomas as stating that Bay County has never run a pier, they just built M.B. Miller Pier and let it run down.  This brings up an interesting point.

_mg_0763_2Why did I never go to the county pier years ago even though there is tons of space and could be a perfect place for families to hang what with all the setting areas, boardwalks and wide open spaces?   *pause*  Because it was scary.  That’s right, I said it – SCARY.  With the fees, the county would be able to pay for running operating expenses, such as security and pay staff to be onsite.  Now, I know what some of you are thinking – Eliminate the fees and  pay for the running costs with other county fees, just reallocate, adjust budgets in other categories or fire a couple unneeded people.  I know, I know, sounds like a great idea, but you know that the county doesn’t work that way, in fact what municipality does?  You can’t expect government to pay for something NOT directly associated with it.

_mg_0766_2So, with that said, knowing that the money can’t come from anywhere else, I totally agree with the usage fee.  I want both piers to be on an equal playing field and I want to be able to use either one safely.  Do I like paying the fee?  Not really, but it isn’t because I’m always broke, its more of just an inconvenience, but I’ll find a few bucks if I want to go to the pier, as long as there will be tons of other people there enjoying it with their families and not a bunch of punk drunks.

The twin county and city piers, dubbed M.B. Miller and Dan Russell, respectively will be identical, measuring 1.500 feet long.  The cost is a little more than they style pier that was there before, but they are designed to sustain damage in a more efficient way in order to minimize the cost of repair in the future.

The fees for access to the pier are $5 per adult fisherman, $2 per child fisherman and $1 if you just want to watch.

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1 susan February 4, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Maybe having a charge will keep the ‘punk drunks’ away. It is unfortuate but true that when things cost a little $$ the undesirables tend to stay away.

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2 Mac February 4, 2009 at 7:04 pm

I had heard that Margaritaville was to have a bar at the end of the pier. I assume that was an incorrect rumor. Charging a fee will keep the area clean and increase safety.

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3 Allan February 5, 2009 at 12:39 am

I had heard about the Margaritaville pier from several people but have not seen anything officially on it? Have you Jason?

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4 Bryan Durta February 5, 2009 at 10:14 am

Just to clarify, Pier Park and Margaritaville are across from City Pier. County Pier is a few miles to the east.

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5 Jason Koertge February 5, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Yes, Brian, thanks for the clarification. I apologize if this was not clear.

My friends at Pier Park have nothing that states that there will be a Margaritaville Bar at the end of the pier. Looks like it is just rumor at this point.

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6 Gregg February 5, 2009 at 8:30 pm

If I remember correctly this was the same fee structure in effect for the city pier before it was distroyed. No one that I knew of minded paying. As long as I can remember, 1980 forward, there has always been a charge for the city pier to cover maintenance, cleaning, and security.

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7 June February 10, 2009 at 8:50 am

Hey Jason:
When are the pier’s scheduled to open?

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8 Jason Koertge February 10, 2009 at 8:59 am

June, the City Pier will be done and open by end of May. The County Pier hasn’t started yet, but when they do, the build time will be around a year.

The original plan was to build them at the same time, then the plan changed and they were going to start building the County Pier last November, then it got pushed up to March, now, I think they are waiting to finish off the City Pier. I think they are still awaiting funding from the state, maybe?

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9 Tyrone Shoelace February 10, 2009 at 10:59 am

I’m a proud drunk punk……Me and my fellow drunk punks have been looking forward to going to the pier. Now where are we supposed to go?
We’ve got rights, too!

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10 Lori Duncan February 11, 2009 at 1:31 am

Heaven forbid if a drunk decides to take a dive off the pier! Maybe instead of asking law-abiding citizens to pay to walk on the pier, they should charge drunks an added fee if they require rescue, arrest, containment or medical treatment. I’d say one spring break alone would pay for the pier!

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11 David April 28, 2009 at 10:38 am

Even with a small fee I would not bring my family to the pier since all of the people fishing make the experience dirty and dangerous with the hooks flying around. I wish we had a pier designated and built for walkers and people who want to enjoy a romantic experience instead of dealing with the drunks and dead fish guts all over the place. I hope the fees that will be collected will allow them to hire a full time crew to keep things clean for kids and families.

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12 Gregg April 28, 2009 at 2:21 pm

If the County Pier is going to be run and maintained like the City Pier (before it was destroyed), there will be no problems. Most people fishing were always very observant for folks walking behind them, I’m sure there were some, but I cannot remember seeing any drunks, and the pier was cleaned everyday.

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