BUZ LIVINGSTON: A surplus of spring breakers and a taxing situation

Spring Break
Daily News File Photo
Published: Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 05:21 PM.

“Trouble’s hiding behind that tree” — Eric Lindell


At Shortys last week I promised Eric Lindell if my writing gig started generating positive cash flow our accountants would work something out. Current projections have spring break 2013 numbers higher than last year. Trouble is hiding behind a Walton County longleaf pine; it will get the drop on us if we don’t plan. TDC’s Dawn Moliterno, Commissioner Cindy Meadows and Sheriff Mike Adkinson discussed ways to thwart Spring Break problems at a recent town meeting.

A big local debate concerns the use of TDC bed tax money to address infrastructure needs. For instance during spring break last year, Adkinson noted Walton County twice had crowds in excess of 10,000 in different locations on the same day. Large crowds can overwhelm personnel; to maintain decorum, the sheriff indicated plans to maximize overtime.

Infrastructure brings a mental picture of something under construction but not always.

Last month, neighboring Bay County’s TDC board voted to appropriate $100,000, pending county commissioner approval, for spring break policing. Panama City Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst realizes, “… the key is being in control.” The Panama City Beach Police Department plans a six-officer beach patrol using all terrain vehicles.

Famed lawman Barney Fife sagely observed “you gotta nip it in the bud” and to honor Deputy Fife, Panama City plans to have officers monitoring the beach early every morning. It’s perfectly legal. Local governments can use bed tax money for special events security geared for tourism.

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