Bill Imfeld campaigns to keep his seat on County Commission

DEBORAH WHEELER 267-4555 | @WaltonSunDeb dwheeler@waltonsun.com

Bill Imfeld ran for county commissioner four years ago after recognizing the need for the county to address the issues of economic development, healthcare, and clean water.

While he feels he has made headway in attacking these issues, there is still more to be done and wants to continue moving the county forward.

In the first of those, Imfeld is proud of the strides the commissioners have made in bringing economic development to Mossy Head Industrial Park.

"We needed to create jobs, and we did it there," he said. "It was also a good example of all five county commissioners working together to create a diversification to tourism. The tract had set idle for a dozen years and now several businesses are there with one alone returning more than $1 million in gasoline and sales tax. Do the five of us always agree? No, there will always be differences of opinions."

Imfeld is also proud of business brought in to Freeport Industrial Park.

He said commissioners are also looking at south of the bay to help businesses here expand, grow, and diversify.

Imfeld feels great strides in healthcare have been made in the county, which was high on his list to tackle.

"There was zero health care in Paxton or Mossy Head, and now we have a health clinic in that area that is up and running at 85 percent capacity after one year," he said. "I would like to get one in Douglas Crossroads, too. The one in Paxton is in a double-wide trailer and is open two days a week offering basic healthcare for colds, flu, and such. It's a start."

With all that has been accomplished, Imfeld said there is still a lot to do, such as seeing the sports complex come to fruition in South Walton, bring more business to the Freeport Industrial Park, tackling storm-water issues, finding an answer to parking problems on 30A, artificial reefs, and handling Restore Act funds.

"We are looking for more economic development and tourism opportunities, land to buy that is not right on the beach for parking, shuttles, and the best way to use the funds that are coming in," he said. "Economic development also has to keep going."

The DeFuniak Springs resident is the incumbent commissioner representing District 3, which includes Northwest DeFuniak, Liberty, and Mossy Head.

Imfeld is a native of south Florida and a graduate of Florida State University with a degree in accounting. He worked for the FBI for 25 years as a special agent, and before winning the District 3 seat on the county commission, Imfeld was the county's finance director.

While working as the county's finance director, Imfeld said he saw things that needed to get done, and wanted to "let's make things better."

"By being involved with county's budget I knew where the commission was trying to take the county and started working at the same to prioritize and address economic development, healthcare, and clean water," he said. "There are parts of the county where you won't take water from the tap. We want to address that. We have been working on it for three years. We need $3 million for 150 homes to have a community well, and we need to go down 500 feet. That is an economically depressed area of the county. Two-thirds of the roads in my district are dirt. I want to stabilize the district's roads. But we need to take care of all of the county, not just my district."

On the issue of incorporation for South Walton, unlike most county commission candidates who are as yet non-committal on the issue, Imfeld feels that incorporation for South Walton is a great idea.

"People in the northern part of the county have different sets of needs and desires than those in the south. The northern part is more agricultural. The close to 30,000 people living in South Walton now would still pay county taxes but some would go down," he said.

And, if the voters see fit to return him to office, Imfeld said he plans to "Keep the county going forward."