SoWal Incorporation

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by steel1man, May 31, 2015.

  1. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    Looks like the information finding process has started.
     
  2. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    Did you mean funding? If not could you explain your comment?
     
  3. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    news report at10:00pm last night showed their first Public meeting. They are going to do a feasibility study. Interviewed lady from Inlet beach. ABC 13 was the station.
     
  4. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    Read more
    http://sowal.com/story/update-for-a-better-south-walton-community-meetings
     
  5. Andy A

    Andy A Beach Fanatic

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    After reading the above report in its entirety, I am even less convinced that this is necessarily the best answer to perceived problems. There is no doubt that the biggest problem for this area is land use and the zoning thereof. If it cannot be better addressed at the county level then incorportation might be the answer. Outside of the fact that land use control is almost non-existent in SoWal, there is little use, IMO, to incorporate. Our provided and necessary services provided, such as EMS and Fire, Waste Management and Mosquito Control among others, is outstanding and very responsive when called upon. If you think that by incorporating, you will do away with many of the problems you already have, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. There has not yet been enough done in an attempt to solve our problems with the BCC and countyadministration. This should be attempted first and then look to other solutions. Also, it is time for the North part of the county to accept the fact that the South part is a growing, viable enity that can greatly benefit the county as a whole if treated properly. Work with what you already have vigorously before attempting to reconstruct what you already have, IMO.
     
  6. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Agreed Andy, that our South Walton Fire District is outstanding. This is the ONLY service set up to serve just South Walton, and it is run by professionals. We're so lucky to have a professional fire and emergency medical services department dedicated to serve our area and only our area.

    However, that is the only thing we have going for us that is uniquely set up to serve our community.

    I hope residents will keep their minds open to the possibilities by watching and learning before they make up their minds. Incorporation is a natural step for a growing city. The Walton County BCC is only set up to do certain things in terms of governing. It will never be able to meet specific needs of our growing beach town.
     
  7. BeachMac

    BeachMac Beach Lover

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    Thanks for posting that article, Kurt. Several of the points were new to us (i.e. PCB formerly having had coastal lakes) so it was an interesting read. My two cents for the potential con ("possibility of more taxes. A 1 Mil increase would cost the average homeowner $350 a year...") would be for it to be a tourism use or heads-in-beds tax, given the incorporation is seeking to preserve the character of this area for tourism as much as it is for locals. Surely there is a tipping point of development that changes the charm here that attracted vacationers in the first place and would cause people to look elsewhere. South Walton's distinctiveness seems to be what tourists are attracted to, so sharing the cost of incorporation to preserve this distinctiveness seems more appealing rather than asking full-time residents to foot the bill entirely. Especially since it is the impact of increased tourist numbers that seems to be stressing the infrastructure (and causing outside developers to want to do the things we are hoping to avoid) more than the smaller minority of full-time residents.
    Thanks so much for the updates like that article!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2015
  8. miznotebook

    miznotebook Beach Fanatic

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    None of the former coastal dune lakes in Bay County have disappeared, as far as I know. They are still bodies of water but are no longer considered coastal dune lakes because they do not function as such.
     
  9. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    What would SOWAL Incorporation boundaries look like east to west?
     
  10. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

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    I'm sure the South Walton County Mosquito Control District which is independent of Walton County Government and serves only South Walton County would disagree that SWFD is the ONLY taxing authority that serves ONLY South Walton.
     
  11. Andy A

    Andy A Beach Fanatic

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    Bob, I agree and started to make that point but got side tracked. To my thinking, an incorportation from the Bay County line to the Okaloosa County line and from the beach to the bay is really a stretch and non contiguous IMO. As I said earlier, as far as I'm concerned, you can leave Blue Mountain Beach out of it but, of course, that is only one man's opinion.
     
  12. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    True. Sorry, I just can't get past needing an entire taxing control for this. Not to even mention an elected board. Good Ole Walton County.
     
  13. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

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    I'm sure that the creation of the SWCMCD through a local referendum was highly discussed at the time it was created over 50 years ago. ( similar to incorporation in the South)

    They deliver excellent service at a very low cost. Their mileage rate is 1/4 of the "County Run" North Walton Mosquito which is a department of Walton County. Service in the South Far exceeds that provided in the North.

    The SWCMCD is far from being the only area served by a "elected" board. Almost every coastal county in the State is served by a "independent" authority.

    Looks like you pay about $ 30.00 per year for the service. Your paying about $ 2.00 for those 3 elected officials that provide one of the highest rated districts in Florida.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  14. Andy A

    Andy A Beach Fanatic

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    Teresa, as Bob said, it is not unusual for local governments to operate with independent boards and services in many areas. I am not really sure there is a wide spread understanding of local government operations and functions in SoWal. For the citizenry to be able to intelligently vote on incorporation this is an absolute necessity. And, to be quite frank, most citizens don't give a damn about how they are governed. Those posting here on SoWal are the exception.
     
  15. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

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    In both cases (SWFD and SWCMCD) those who lived here were not satisfied with the level of service provided by:

    1. A all volunteer fire department as provided by Walton County
    2. No mosquito control or source reduction programs provided by Walton County

    Sound familiar ?
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
  16. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    I really think Mosquito Control could be provided for via normal city or county services. Fire and emergency services as well. but so thankful we didn't have to wait for incorporation to have a professional South Walton Fire District. We are very fortunate in this regard. Most County level governments, such as Walton County, would never provide such a high level professional service. The fire chief is a hired professional. Not elected.
     
  17. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

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    And the Director of Mosquito Control is hired by the Elected Commissioners as prescribe in Florida Statutes just as the Elected Commissioners at SWFD hired Chief Tolbert.

    Mosquito control has 3 Elected commissioners

    SWFD has 7 elected Commissioners
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
  18. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    Chief Talbert
     
  19. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Exactly. And I have always been impressed with the fact that we have a professional fire department in the south end of the County, where services are quite lacking in all other areas. Except Mosquito Control, as you've correctly pointed out.
     
  20. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    Teresa,

    One reason for the professional fire service in South Walton is that there is a tax base large enough to support it. The second reason is that there is sufficient density and property value to require it. When these factors were not applicable South Walton was served by a volunteer department that served the citizens quite well. SWFD has accomplished a great deal during its existence as far as building infrastructure and acquiring quality professionals to use it. It has accomplished this at a reasonable cost to property owners.
     

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