Bay County, Fla., could lose about $1.6 million when it sells an 8.4-acre parcel it purchased in 2010 to protect Naval Support Activity Panama City from encroachment unless a new appraisal results in a significantly higher value for the tract.
Installation officials had requested federal funding to purchase the land but were unsuccessful in securing the money. In the face of a company’s plans to develop the site, which is located next to the support activity, the county stepped in and paid $2.9 million for the property, reported the Panama City News Herald.
Local officials wanted to preserve the facility’s 3,100 civilian and military jobs and $400 million annual economic impact.
Now the state has agreed to purchase the property, but it will pay no more than the appraised value, which last year was $1.3 million. The state Department of Environmental Protection is conducting a new appraisal.
Former County Commissioner Mike Thomas said at a recent commission meeting the property is so important he would support giving it to the Navy, according to the story.
“[Navy officials] don’t want residents around that [base],” Thomas said. “It was a good deal for the county when we [bought the property]” he said. “It was a good deal for the county now. And it will be a great deal for the Navy base if it follows through.”
The Navy has been trying to acquire the parcel since 2001, John Skaggs, community planning and liaison officer for the base, told commissioners.
Since the Navy’s failed attempt to purchase the parcel, “We’ve been working to try and secure that property any way we can with grants and the support community, and now through the state,” Skaggs said.