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WCTA Endorses Feasibility Study

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Bob Hudson, Aug 28, 2015.

  1. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

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    For Immediate Release

    Walton County Taxpayers Association Board of Directors Endorses Feasibility Study

    South Walton County residents are wondering if they would be better served by incorporating and creating a new city/town in Walton County. No one really knows the answer to this question. But all agree the seriousness of the question requires careful, disciplined and methodical analysis. Walton County Taxpayers Association (WCTA) agrees that a slow, thoughtful approach with all avenues explored is the best course. WCTA recommends that no resident make any decision on incorporation until all questions have been thoroughly researched and factually answered.

    Earlier this year the local group ‘A Better South Walton’ held community meetings to begin the conversation of “to incorporate or not to incorporate”. Now they are proposing a next step in the research journey – conducting a feasibility study. The feasibility study would layout an analysis of what would be required for incorporation to take place. Some elements of the study include: baselining the size and cost of South Walton and required services, the total cost of incorporation including the tax structure required to support a standalone municipality and the cost of buying services from Walton County. The feasibility study is being conducted now by BJM Consulting, Inc. They have experience on this topic as they have conducted over 20 of these studies for different communities in Florida including Navarre, the Village of Estero and Bonita Springs.

    The WCTA Board of Directors has endorsed the Feasibility Study – as a logical next step. When done properly WCTA believes the study will present factual information for South Walton citizens to analyze in helping determine what is best for this area now and in the future. There is a lot to know, a lot to understand and a lot for all South Walton owners and residents to consider.

    WCTA encourages all residents to:


    Support the study and
    Analyze the findings for themselves.

    Unless a feasibility study is done, WCTA suggests that no one should be deciding the future of South Walton County. With the feasibility study, locals will have more data as they assess their county’s fate.

    The WCTA is a non-partisan organization with members from both North and South Walton County, representing the entire county. WCTA believes that it is vitally important to stay involved in how our county spends our money, especially as our county and tax base grow. WCTA’s focus is on limiting the role of government and how much money is necessary to provide basic public services to all taxpayers in Walton County. And, WCTA believes that a unified group of individuals can make a difference.

    ” Independent, non-partisan advocates for taxpayers ”


    Walton County Taxpayers Association
    P.O. Box 1085 Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 Website: www.waltontaxpayers.org
    Email: info@waltontaxpayers.org
     
  2. Andy A

    Andy A Beach Fanatic

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    If this study is conducted without input from any local source whatsoever, it could answer a lot of questions many of us have. I am not confident that the parameters designated by some for "incorporation" are suitable for reasonable development of SoWal nor am I sure it would be financially productive for SoWal residents. Let the chips fall where they may and let to residents of SoWal evaluate a non biased assessment of our area. In closing, I commend the WCTA fot undertaking this project.
     
  3. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Thanks Bob. The feasibility study could be very useful for our community in many ways beyond incorporation, whether or not incorporation becomes a real option in the near future or not.
     
  4. Jdarg

    Jdarg SoWal Expert

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    Andy, the study is almost complete and there will be 2 public meetings in September to publicly present and discuss the results. The study company is BJM Consulting. who has completed over 20 other similar studies for other communities in Florida. I hope you will attend one of the meetings and truly engage in the process, as you seem to be dead set against what is now only a possibility based on assumptions and preconceived notions. A professional was hired for this job because it is the first step in a long process of improving South Walton's lack of real governance and planning, whether it is incorporation or other options that might become obvious when the results of the study are available.
     
  5. Truman

    Truman Beach Fanatic

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    After much discussion and debate, the Walton County Taxpayers Association (WCTA) is backing an incorporation feasibility study for South Walton.Talks of incorporation were brought to light after the proposed development of a Hampton Inn along 30A caused much concern for residents in the area.

    “It drew people together and we realized we didn’t know how to protect ourselves,” said WCTA President Zuma Banks. “It seems important to us to look at the issues in South Walton, and we would like to have more control over what goes on. Incorporation might be a way to do that.”

    The feasibility study will be conducted by BJM Consulting, Inc., a firm with years of experience in carrying out multiple studies for communities in Florida.Since the Hampton Inn debate, local group,

    “A better South Walton” was created to help begin the process of whether or not South Walton should be an incorporated municipality with elected officials to be the voices for the community.Dave Rauschkolb has lived in the area for nearly 30 years and has been active in the local community for many years. Rauschkolb is one of the core group members of “A better South Walton” and said that South Walton has a lack of representation by the people who live in the area. Incorporating South Walton would more than likely eliminate this issue.

    "Until 30 years ago South Walton was a rural community and now, with tremendous growth, has its own set of very unique and complex issues specific to this area. Infrastructure, parking, beach access, traffic, zoning and code enforcement are all issues that must be addressed carefully as we grow” said Rauschkolb.

    “I am pleased with the job Commissioner Cindy Meadows has done. She lives in South Walton. We need more representation from leaders who live in South Walton. Incorporation would ensure people who live in South Walton would lead and solve the issues unique to South Walton.Other initiatives we plan to work on include increasing voter turnout, finding suitable candidates to run for Commissioner seats and City Council seats in the event of Incorporation. Also we will be looking into redistricting so we might have three county commissioners who actually live in South Walton representing us.

    Jacquee Markel is also a core group member and said incorporation would give South Walton a voice on the decisions being made in the area.“This is an amazing place, we want to keep it unique,” said Markel.

    “We want to make this place the best it can be.”Once the feasibility study is finished it will be reviewed by the Florida League of Cities for accuracy and released to the public for review. In late September and October community meetings will be held in South Walton to analyze the study.

    Later, the study will be presented to the Florida Legislature to consider the possibility of creating the City of South Walton. In the Fall of 2017 a referendum of South Walton voters would decide the outcome.

    For more information about the study, visit http//www.abettersouthwalton.com.
     
  6. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Beach Lover

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    Something to consider going forward, and this is just a small piece of the larger initiative:

    Have any of you ever been to Hilton Head Island, SC? When you drive around there you notice that all structures along the main roads are behind a certain amount of native brush and trees. I don't know the exact dcription of what this is, but it is impressive and allows for businesses to be there and the island's roadways still be appealing. For example, it's difficult to find WalMart there because it's hidden behind trees and there's no real signage.

    What is name or description of this way that HHI allows signage, setbacks, etc?

    I would very much like to see this happen definitely on 30a and the North/South feeder roads, and hopefully on 98 if "South Walton" includes 98 within its boundaries.

    Here is a Google Street View in Hilton Head that shows how they do it. Notice the businesses behind the trees. This shot is very near WalMart. I believe it would be worthwhile for the local group A Better South Walton to actually visit Hilton Head Island for ideas on this. Thoughts?

    Google Maps
     
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  7. Jenksy

    Jenksy Beach Fanatic

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    Some would say tyranny.
     
  8. Andy A

    Andy A Beach Fanatic

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    I don't really care! I live in SoWal, not HH and we have more than enough signage already.
     
  9. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Beach Lover

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    I don't think you gave what I suggested much consideration.

    Development IS coming. More structures ARE coming. More signage IS coming. More who knows what kind of businesses are going to have unfettered frontage on 98 and 30A. I am presenting an idea showing what another similar location has done to BETTER MANAGE the signage and the development.

    There are better ways to make what growth does happen be less visible than what Walton County is doing.
     
  10. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Thank you. South Walton should definitely look to other popular beach towns for expertise on good ideas, what works, what doesn't... When planning for growth and managing development. We also have some excellent resources in town to advise us such as outstanding architects and engineers with a ton of experience and a grasp on what would work well here.
     
  11. sunspotbaby

    sunspotbaby SoWal Insider

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    Sun Chaser, very good points. It seems that here, our commissioners just don't give a rat's ass what 'stuff' looks like. I went to Kennesaw Georgia a few weeks ago and couldn't help but notice how manicured every street, shopping center, etc. looked, and plenty of trees! Then get back here to our 'resort' area and weeds are 2 foot tall in the median, the sidewalks that do exist aren't maintained, our neighborhoods on the north side of 98...crappy road work, nowhere on the bay to play. There is simply no foresight at all. This community could be oh so nice and appealing. Unfortunately, it's all about the beach here and people are sticking up signs there, too. Sometimes I want to move.
     
  12. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    For some reason public works turns a blind eye to privately purchased and installed no parking signs. The people dumb enough to do this even use the old out dated ordinance # that only applied in Inlet Beach.
     
  13. BeachArkie

    BeachArkie Beach Lover

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    Why is this allowed? Isn't it illegal?
     
  14. enfuego

    enfuego Beach Lover

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    Apathy...
     

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