Bay County, Florida

BEACHES AND MORE B est known for its white sand beaches and emerald green water, Bay County, Florida, population 180,000, has long been a tourist mecca. “We’re a coastal community,” says County Manager, Bob Majka, Jr. “We see anywhere from 15 to 17 million vis- itors a year. Most of them come in our tourism season, which typically starts on Memorial Day and runs through Labor Day.We’ve survived since the late 1950s on a growing tourism market. And although we have two military bases; we have defense contractors; we have retail; we have manufacturing; we have fed- eral, state, and local government employment sectors that are pretty robust; at the end of the day, even collectively, they all pale in compari- son to what comes in from tourism.” That being said, Majka is quick to add that, especially since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 that severely impacted all Gulf of Mexico tourism, Bay County has worked assid- uously to diversify its income stream so that tourism “is not our sole or dominant source of jobs and revenue in the community.We’ve