Walton County Small Business Association members kicked off the New Year with a renewed
commitment to oppose incorporating South Walton. Legal counsel for WCSBA has completed a
comprehensive review of the proposed incorporation Charter and Feasibility Study. From this
review, these things are evident:
Incorporation is not feasible, with probable tax rate increases upwards of 50 percent.
Incorporation will create a business-averse environment that will hurt existing small and
family-owned businesses, and discourage new start-up business.
A new government with seven elected officials, a city manager, a city attorney and a city
planner with staff and offices will cost money. The Feasibility Study budget reflects 47
percent of the city budget would be spent on bureaucracy, not providing services.
The Feasibility Study contains no analysis to support the financial feasibility of
incorporation. If the county shares sales tax revenue with the city, taxes likely will
increase for all taxpayers in Walton County.
Incorporation proposes no new or improved services. The city’s only function will be
planning and code enforcement south of the Bay. Less than 5 percent of the remaining
developable land can be altered. The other 95 percent is in state land, planned urban
developments, developments of regional impact, and platted subdivisions.
A new city will have vast powers to impose new rules and regulations and to change the
county comprehensive plan, including elimination of the 50-foot height limit and scenic
Incorporation can strip South Walton of its unique character and appeal, leading us down
the path to becoming another Destin or Panama City – small towns with big governments,
and elections that are bought and paid for by special interests.
There is no valid reason presented for incorporation. South Walton has three county
commission districts. As of the last election, 49 percent of registered voters in the county are
south of the Bay. With population projections and increased voter turnout, South Walton will
have the majority vote in county government in future elections.
The WCSBA stands firm in its opposition to South Walton incorporation. The only “change”
incorporation will bring is more government and more taxes.
WALTON COUNTY (Florida) SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
Contact: Bonnie McQuiston 850-231-1469