The Walton County Board of County Commissioners voted at the scheduled BCC meeting on Tuesday, January 8 to approve a new contract with the South Walton Fire District that will extend lifeguard coverage of the beaches year-round. The new contract extends the peak summer levels of lifeguard staffing through October 31st (previously, the number of lifeguards on duty was reduced at the end of September) and also includes funding for 8 lifeguard staff to be kept on salary year-round. “This extension is a great step for South Walton, reflecting the increase in visitation that we have seen over recent years,” says Visit South Walton Communications Director, David Demarest. “As we work to strengthen the local economy by encouraging visitation during the shoulder seasons, that success also make it necessary for us to continue to support and increase amenities that benefit locals and visitors alike.” The new contract includes an allocation for new equipment purchases and will take effect March 1, 2019 at a cost of $1.59 million for the first year, decreasing annually to $1.38 million by the 3rd year, as scheduled equipment purchases decrease each year. The Walton County TDC funds 10 lifeguard towers as part of their support of the Walton County lifeguard program.