As the Walton Commissioner meeting started, Retiring Chairman Scott Brannon was given a plaque with a gavel in recognition of his time leading the Board. Brannon, Larry Jones and Cecilia Jones were all given a gift with their dates of service. Sara Comander said it contained a clock to help them remember the time they served the people of Walton County and a compass to remember where they go.
Pat Kellogg donated property for use as a nature preserve and education use by the public. The county is moving forward with updating the property with enhancements. Commissioners renewed the agreement with the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance. Part of the agreement has the CBA testing the water quality of the rare coastal dune lakes. Commissioners also approved the bid for the Scenic Gulf Drive western boardwalk handrail retrofit. The county will collect on the letter of credit for Windsor Estates sidewalk surety. Commissioners agreed to hire a records management consultant and approved a CSX railroad agreement for the Mossy Head Industrial Park. Professional Products has purchased an old building and wants to upgrade it by about $1.2 million. They are asking Walton County for an economic development ad valorem tax exemption. They will create at least 15 new jobs.
The search for a new County Administrator continues and the new Board should have a choice soon. The commissioners will narrow down the field of 48 applicants to five by the end of December and should be able to select a new County Administrator at the first meeting of January.
The commissioners agreed to use $86, 603 from the Solid Waste fund to hire someone to work as a special projects coordinator for economic development. Commissioners will hold two more executive sessions. A lien was released for lot 6 at Eagles Landing. Walton County works with Regional Utilities as a non-profit corporation. The county holds property and the commissioners were asked to lease the property back to the utility to meet bond requirements.
TDC Director Dawn Moliterno asked for direction on options for the health and safety deficiencies for the TDC Building. Lord & Sons came in lowest of the two bids. Moliterno said there are two other issues that have come up, that were not addressed in the initial assessment. One is additional lighting for those working at night and the other is for a leaking roof that lets water into electronic components. Other issues are mold, fire safety and ADA. They will also be able to get 12 additional parking spots. Moliterno said this will address the health and safety concerns to allow them to continue to operate out of the building. Even if they move, they would have to do the upgrades. Commissioners will rebuild a walkover at Grayton Beach that will elevate it above the dune line and a restroom remodel at the Miramar Beach Regional Access.