South Walton Community Explores Incorporation
February 25, 2015 by SoWal Staff
Is Incorporation right for South Walton? Is now the time?
On Thursday, February 26th the South Walton Community Council (SWCC) will present Lynn Tipton of Florida League of Cities to speak and answer questions about incorporating South Walton as a city. Two sessions will be held at the Seaside Repertory Theater, located in Seaside Florida, at 216 Quincy Circle. One session will be at 4 p.m., the other at 7 p.m.
As residents express frustration with land use and growth management, the enforcement of current regulations, and infrastructure issues, the prospect of incorporating South Walton County is often discussed as part of a solution. South county residents are very active in community development and regularly participate in Walton County government and other local meetings. Local voices are calling for more fiscal control of their tax dollars as well as better representation in decisions regarding the community's future.
South Walton residents are actively pursuing solutions to the rapid population and tourism growth in this unique coastal area. One important consideration is incorporation and whether now is the time to establish a self-governing city. The informational sessions hosted by SWCC will address questions, such as:
What does incorporation mean?
What are the pros and cons?
What areas can incorporate?
What is the process?
How long does it take?
What about taxes?
Come out and join local SoWal citizens as they explore critical solutions for South Walton, Florida. You can help shape the direction of your community. Questions will be taken from those attending. For more information regarding this forum please contact SWCC via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday Feb. 26 | two sessions: 4pm, 7pm
Seaside Meeting Hall Theater (Seaside REP auditorium)
Currently, the South Walton area is an unincorporated community of Walton County south of the Choctawhatchee Bay and along the Gulf of Mexico (from Bay County to Okaloosa County lines). The governing body and county seat (Walton County Board of County Commissioners) is located in DeFuniak Springs in the northern portion of the county. Incorporated cities in Walton County are DeFuniak Springs, Freeport and Paxton.
Incorporation of South Walton County will most likely happen at some point in time in the future as our population and tourism increase, infrastructure needs escalate, and residents demand a level of accountability and service that county level government is not intended to provide.
Read the SoWal Community Forum discussion going on now about the South Walton County and whether now is the time for the community to take on the lengthy process of evaluating and proceeding with incorporation. The process starts with committees, feasibility studies, public hearings, and educational campaigns. Read about the mechanics of incorporation, advantages and disadvantages in a report by Florida League of Cities in posts #19 and #20.
Join the conversation and help shape the future of our beach town. Incorporation is not for every community, nor will everyone support incorporation. However, it is an option for residents to explore, consider and make decisions on levels of service and costs of self-governing.
The South Walton Community Council (SWCC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and enhancing the quality of life and the unique natural environment in South Walton County. Founded in 1995, SWCC is a nonpartisan coalition of several hundred residents, property owners, employees, neighborhoods and business owners working together toward these goals.