Panama City Beach is located in Bay County, Florida along the coast of the beautiful emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida Panhandle. The community is in the Central Standard Time Zone.
Panama City Beach is a City of consolidated communities. Much of the City, as it exists today, was founded in June 1959 as West Panama City Beach, with its first council meeting held July 8, 1959. On August 12, 1970, the former cities of West Panama City Beach, Edgewater Gulf Beach, Long Beach, and Panama City Beach, were consolidated into the City of Panama City Beach. The Panama City Beach City Council's first meeting was August 1970.
Panama City Beach is a home-rule city with a Council-City Manager form of government. The City Council is made up of five members -- a mayor and four council members, all elected at large, but coming from the four geographical areas of the City -- wards one through four.
The City has had six mayors. The first mayor of Panama City Beach was Dan Russell who served from August 1970-June 1980. Aaron Bessant served as mayor from 1980-1982. Philip Griffitts Sr. was the City's longest serving mayor from 1982-2000. The fourth mayor was Lee Sullivan, who served from 2000 until his resignation in 2006. Gayle Oberst was appointed as mayor in 2006, and served until 2016. Mike Thomas is currently mayor of Panama City Beach.
Panama City Beach provides the incorporated and unincorporated area of the beach with a wide range of urban services including: parks and recreation, potable water, reuse water, sanitary sewer and road maintenance. Reuse water and sanitary sewer are not available in all areas. Road maintenance is provided only within the incorporated areas.
The majority of Panama City Beach residents are served by Bay County Public Schools. Panama City Beach has one high school, one middle school, one K-8 school and two elementary schools.
Panama City Beach's population is estimated at 13,975 permanent residents, but increases to a peak daily population of more than 100,000 in July. It is estimated that more than 17 million people visit Panama City Beach each year. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts a 2.6 percent growth for the City over the next year, with a 2019 population of 14,338 people.