The Walton County Taxpayers Association, in response to suggestions by the Small Business Association that we partner with them and that we be included on their proposed Blue Ribbon Committee, wishes to state its position on these suggestions and on the path forward.
While we, and we suspect most of the BCC and county staff, agree that the draft proposals which have been set forth by the county staff need further consideration and refinement, we do not agree that a Blue Ribbon Committee is the best approach for Walton County in this regard.
It appears to us that the Blue Ribbon Committee proposed would be less inclusive and less democratic than the manner in which the county has traditionally sought public input, i.e., via public workshops, and that it would further delay the process of establishing reasonable, equitable, and workable solutions to the problems at issue.
We have been in contact with the county administrator concerning his plans to deal with this issue and the underlying proposed regulations pertaining to problems related to parking, special events, and Business Tax Receipts. Jones has verbally related a plan which impresses us as well thought out and one likely to produce the best result for the citizens of Walton County. We enthusiastically support him in pursuing his plan.
We have a Board of County Commissioners which is very attuned to identifying and addressing the problems of the past and present while still looking to the future. We have a county administrator in whom we have confidence.
We have ample opportunities for public input already afforded us, especially via public workshops. We believe that Walton County government is making good strides in addressing our challenges while being responsive to the needs of all our citizens — not just those who, like the WCTA, the South Walton Community Council and the SBA, are organized interests. As organized interests, we have the same opportunities for input as all citizens, and the WCTA believes that affording equal opportunities for all who wish to be heard is the best way forward.
We oppose the formation of a Blue Ribbon Committee and favor allowing our county employees to proceed forward with Mr. Jones’ plan.
The WCTA believes government should work honestly, transparently, effectively, and affordably for the people of Walton County. Our mission is to be a non-partisan voice for the taxpayers to county government: assessing how government is using taxpayer money, evaluating the priorities established and services received, and providing feedback on government's effectiveness in serving the people of Walton County.
Santa Rosa Beach
Walton County Taxpayers Association