News Flash

Recover Bay County

Posted on: November 2, 2018

Hurricane Michael Nov. 2 update

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ESSENTIAL INFORMATION 

·        The Bay County Medical Examiner is reporting 21 casualties in Bay County. 

·        The 211 Citizen Hotline continues to receive non-emergency calls. For out-of-state callers, please dial (850) 248-6099.

·        Visit www.safeandwell.org to connect with friends and family. The website can also be used to search for loved ones. 

·        A curfew is still in place for Bay County from midnight to 5 a.m. with a restriction on alcohol sales in place during curfew hours. 

·        On Saturday, Nov. 3 the National Weather Service is calling for sunny conditions, with a high near 70. East northeast wind around 10 mph. Saturday will be clear, with a low around 55. East wind 5 to 10 mph.

Recover Bay County – By the Numbers

Feeding Assistance

Salvation Army: 276,384 total meals

Red Cross Meals: 364,615 total meals

36 Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV’s) doing mobile feeding with the Red Cross. 

Total sheltered: 370

Volunteers for the transition into Arnold High School Shelter: 75 volunteers (45 of whom were ROTC high school students) 

Debris Management:  An estimated 1,213,855 cubic yards of debris collected total throughout Bay County

Business & Industry Recovery (https://floridadisaster.biz/BusinessOpenCloseStatus

o   Open pharmacies: 54

o   Open businesses: 825

o   Business damage assessments conducted: 33

Power Outages

·        As of Tuesday, Oct. 30, Duke Energy has restored power to approximately 355 customers in Mexico Beach. They are working toward a goal of November 3 for full restoration of customers who can receive power. 

  • Gulf Power’s initial power restoration to the lines is now complete. They will continue to upgrade and restore the power grid, including power from the lines to properties.  
  • Gulf Coast Electric is reporting 1,563 Bay County residents are without power. 
    • Gulf Coast Electric Co-op will not charge any late fees as the system and offices are repaired. Gulf Coast Electric Co-op customers can call 1-800-568-3667 to report an outage or view power outages on the outage map at http://outagemap.gcec.com

BAY COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE:

A MESSAGE FOR BAY COUNTY TENANTS FROM SHERIFF TOMMY FORD

Since Hurricane Michael, we have received reports of tenants being told by their landlords that they have to get out of their rental property with only a one or two days’ notice. Tenants need to know their rights if their landlord attempts to terminate a lease without legal process.

If a landlord attempts to use the legal three-step process to evict, but uses an INVALID REASON, that is a violation and the eviction is invalid.

A tenant’s lease can’t be terminated due to damage to the residence. A landlord that wants to schedule repairs must give the tenant reasonable notice and follow the guidelines found in Florida State Statute 83.63. The tenant can’t be kicked out of the residence in order for repairs to be done.

Lease agreements can’t be terminated by the landlord just because the landlord has been displaced and needs a place to live.

Under Florida Landlord Tenant Law, there is a damage provision for tenants who wish to break a lease because of the damage to the rental unit. This provision becomes the controlling law in a natural disaster like Hurricane Michael. This is the case even if a tenant’s lease says something different.

The provision basically states that if a rental unit is damaged or destroyed so that the tenant’s enjoyment of the rental unit is substantially impaired, the tenant can terminate the rental agreement and get out immediately. If a tenant desires to live in a part of the rental unit that is functional and vacate the damaged part, then the liability of the tenant for rent has to be reduced to reflect the fair rental value of the part that was damaged and is unlivable by the tenant.

Know your rights as a tenant. If you have more questions and need legal counsel call the Florida Disaster Legal Hotline at 1-866-550-2929.

There is also a Legal Clinic being offered to both Landlords and Tenants Wednesday, November 7, 2018, from 10 AM to 2 PM in the Sam’s Parking lot on 23rd Street, Panama City. The attorney answering questions at this clinic is Denise Rowan. Her numbers are 850-381-0653 and 850-215-4155.

A MESSAGE FOR BAY COUNTY LANDLORDS FROM SHERIFF TOMMY FORD

The laws concerning eviction have not changed just because there has been a hurricane. There is no emergency statute that allows a landlord to evict a tenant out of their residence to do repairs.

Landlords CAN NOT terminate a lease due to damage to a rental unit.

Landlords DO NOT have the right to evict a tenant just to schedule repairs. Florida State Statute 83.53 explains what a reasonable notice is, and what guidelines must be followed concerning scheduling potential repairs.

Landlords CAN NOT put wording in a lease that waives a tenant’s rights under Florida State Statute 83.53.

Landlords that wish to evict a tenant or terminate a lease because of nonpayment of rent or violation of the lease must follow Florida State Statute guidelines to do it.

Landlords MUST follow a three-step process as outlined in Florida State Statute to evict a tenant. Landlords CAN NOT provide notice according to Florida State Statute for an INVALID REASON. That is also a violation and invalidates the notice.

Any landlord unsure of the process can get an Eviction Packet from room 105 at the Bay County Courthouse. The packet contains explicit instructions on the legal eviction process.

Landlords can also obtain further help on the website Baycoclerk.com. Click on FORMS and then EVICTIONS.

There is a Legal Clinic being offered to both Landlords and Tenants Wednesday, November 7, 2018, from 10 AM to 2 PM in the Sam’s Parking lot on 23rd Street, Panama City. The attorney answering questions at this clinic is Denise Rowan. Her numbers are 850-381-0653 and 850-215-4155.

If a landlord has additional questions, please call Lt. V. Heath in the Civil Division of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office at 747-4700.

Legal Services

Legal Services of Northwest Florida will be available to provide legal information in the following areas: preventing wrongful evictions, assistance with insurance claims, helping residents receive FEMA assistance, challenging scams and contractor fraud, helping residents with public benefits and more. Information on eligibility and areas of law covered are also available at www.LSNF.org.**

LSNF will have attorneys and/or paralegals as available at the following upcoming events and clinics:

Saturday, Nov. 3

Council on Aging Fall Festival

Bay Council on Aging, 1116 Frankfort Ave.

8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 5

Bay County FEMA DRC - Bay County Public Library 898 W. 11th St., Panama City, FL 32401

11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 7

Free Family Law Clinic, Hosted by Caroll Law, P.A.

Panama City’s Sams Club Parking Lot, 1707 W 23rd St, Panama City, FL 32405

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Medical Services

The Florida Department of Health in Bay County 

Diabetes Services Program

597 W 11th St, Panama City

Hours: 7:30 am – 4:30 pm (please check-in no later than 3 pm for services)

·        FREE insulin, insulin pump supplies, and glucose testing supplies (limited quantities)

·        Bring a box or prescription for insulin so we can provide the correct type and dose

·        Call 850-252-9656 to find out if your specific insulin or supplies is available

  • Mexico Beach First Baptist Church Clinic
        823 15th ST, Mexico Beach
        10 am – 3 pm 

CITY INFORMATION

Panama City Comfort Stations

Comfort Stations reopened Nov. 2 after closing due to severe weather.  Comfort Stations continue to be set up throughout the City of Panama City. Once fully operational, each location will have food, water, ice, an air-conditioned tent, nice restrooms and showers.

"Panama City Comfort Stations" Facebook page has also been created to provide the community with updates on resources. Link: https://www.facebook.com/panamacitycomfortstations/

Locations:

·        Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center  - 705 E. 14th Ct.

·        Daffin Park - Millville - 320 Kraft Ave.

·        Cove Shopping Center - 925 Cherry St.

·        Al Helms Dog - next to walking park on Balboa Ave. -  1022 Balboa Ave.

·        St. Andrews Northstar Church - 2379 St Andrews Blvd.

·        Boys and Girls Club  - 3404 W. 19th St.

·        Old Party City Store - 2015 W. 23rd St.

·        Palm Bay Prep Academy - 1104 Balboa Ave.

·        Panama City Mall - Corner of 23rd St. and Hwy 77

City of Parker

Day 10 of debris cleanup continues throughout Parker.  Please note that the haulers don't have time to stop for small piles.  If you can combine several small piles into one larger one, the haulers can more easily pick it up.

Mixed debris piles will be picked up last after all the clean piles are collected.  If it's possible for the property owner to separate a mixed pile, the sorted piles can be picked up sooner.  Again, please separate into five categories: trees/vegetative, construction, appliances, electronics and hazardous waste.  Normal household waste (garbage) must be picked up by your garbage company.  The debris haulers will not pick up garbage.

As a reminder, as soon as debris is removed from the right-of-way, please move any additional debris from around the property to the right-of-way area so it can be picked up on the second pass.

Communications continues to be a challenge as phones only work intermittently and our internet comes and goes.  The Utility office is open for walk-ins each weekday from 7:30 to 4:30.  Thanks for all the positive comments directed at our staff.

The City of Parker has seen almost 34,000 cubic yards of debris removal thru Oct. 31.  Please continue separation of debris into the four categories – wood, non-wood construction, metal, and appliances.  Also a reminder that household waste (garbage) is not being picked up by our debris hauler, rather you and your garbage service are responsible.

Although difficult to quantify, the City of Parker believe 90 percent of homes now have power.

The City of Parker should have a book-mobile available for residents by Thanksgiving.  It will be located near the entrance to our existing branch library that sustained roof damage and will provide this valuable service until the branch can be reopened.

Thanks for the continued neighbor helping neighbor.       

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