Article: South Walton group moves forward with effort to incorporate

The group A Better South Walton continues to march forward in its quest to bring incorporation to the southern part of the county.

Roughly 150 people attended Tuesday night’s informational town hall meeting at Rosemary Beach Town Hall that saw a full house and standing room-only crowd.

“Why are we doing this?” ABSW President David Pleat asked rhetorically. “We are passionate about where we live. And if left on its current course, we will lose what makes it special.”

The group made the point that the population of South Walton has doubled in the last 20 years, going from a very rural community to more urban.

“As such, all the communities deserve a municipal form of government to solve their problems,” said ABSW vice president Dave Rauschkolb. “We are one of the largest counties in the state with a population of 63,000.”

The proposed municipality will have 75 square miles and a population of 24,000 from county line to county line.

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Article: Could South Walton become its own municipality?

A Better South Walton is taking its case for incorporation to the people.

Armed with a 23-page feasibility study and a summary of what a municipal charter might look like, the advocacy group embarks this week on a mission to sell cityhood to Walton County residents living between Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

“I believe so intensely, in my soul, that this is right. I’m willing to talk to anyone for as long as it takes,” said Dave Rauschkolb, vice president of the eight-member committee spearheading the drive to incorporate.

A Better South Walton has scheduled public hearings for 5:30 p.m., Tuesday at the Rosemary Beach Town Hall and 5:30 p.m., Thursday at 560 Grand Boulevard, Suite 101, in Miramar Beach.

Speakers will have some intriguing highlights to hit.

One of the biggest, Rauschkolb said, is a Florida League of Cities opinion that a city of South Walton would be, on the day of its birth, the most fiscally sound municipality in the state.

Another is that city planners believe the new government can get by, at least in the short term, without assessing new property taxes.

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A Better South Walton Announces Town Hall Meetings to Discuss Charter Summary

AUGUST 9, 2016 — A Better South Walton (ABSW), a volunteer organization dedicated to seeking more effective governance and local representation for South Walton, is holding two town hall meetings to discuss the recently released charter summary and its impact on the proposed municipality of South Walton. These meetings will give the community the chance to get the information about the ABSW initiative, ask questions and voice their concerns.

The topics covered at the town hall meetings, free and open to the public, will include the charter summary and its framework for the proposed municipality, updates to the feasibility study and the results of a recent survey on naming conventions for the proposed municipality of South Walton. Each meeting will discuss the concerns for the future of South Walton and how the benefits of incorporation address those concerns. The process for incorporation will also be explained.

“The charter summary details how the municipal government will be structured and function,” states David Pleat, president of A Better South Walton. “With the community’s feedback, we will incorporate those ideas and suggestions into a final charter summary that will define South Walton. It has never been more important to have the community to join us for our town hall meetings, we want to hear what you have to say.”

The meetings will be held:

Tuesday, August 23rd at 5:30 PM
Rosemary Beach Town Hall
S. Barrett Square
Rosemary Beach, FL

Thursday, August 25th at 5:30 PM
560 Grand Boulevard, Suite 101
Miramar Beach, FL
(Across from Grand Park and Cantina Laredo)

The completed charter summary can now be found on the ABSW website.

For more information on ABSW and how you can get involved by signing the petition, volunteering, or making a donation, please visit A Better South Walton or email ABSW.

About A Better South Walton:

A Better South Walton (ABSW) is made up of a diverse group of citizen volunteers who share a concern about the future of South Walton. The mission of ABSW is to seek more effective governance and local representation for South Walton to preserve and enhance its unique
character, property values and quality of life.

The focus of ABSW is thoughtful analysis and discussion regarding ideas for more effective local governance and therefore, the future of South Walton. ABSW will also work to encourage the citizens of South Walton to weigh in formally and have a say in determining how South
Walton will be managed going forward.