Article: Could South Walton Incorporate?
Local organization hopes for more effective governance and local representation
By Julie Kerwin Cumby, printed in theseasidetimes.com
The beauty and enviable lifestyle of Seaside, 30A and South Walton has been attracting residents and visitors to our area for decades. This area continues to grow in popularity. And with it, the need to direct, plan and manage this growth has never been greater.
A Better South Walton (ABSW) is a volunteer-run organization dedicated to seeking more effective governance and local representation. Focused on preserving and protecting the South Walton community and its unique way of life, ABSW has spent the last 19 months researching incorporation and the impact it would have on South Walton’s residents and visitors.
Working closely with a team of consultants, ABSW commissioned a feasibility study that concluded that South Walton is a viable candidate for incorporation. The feasibility study cited our significant population (more than 23,000 estimated residents) and our fiscally strong tax base as strong drivers in this conclusion.
ABSW then drafted a charter summary providing the framework for the incorporated municipality of South Walton. Now complete, the charter summary outlines how the governing body would be structured and includes the proposed name for the municipality based on community feedback.
Once finalized, the charter and feasibility study will be presented to the District 5 state representative in early September 2016.
With every major development in the incorporation process, public meetings are held to inform the South Walton community and engage them in discussions regarding the proposed municipality. The most recent round of town hall meetings presented the key charter provisions and asked for the community’s suggestions for the final version of the charter.
A survey asking South Walton residents for their opinion on a possible name for the proposed municipality was recently conducted online. The survey results and the public’s feedback on the name were considered for inclusion in the final version of the charter.
ABSW encourages everyone to review the completed feasibility study and charter summary and educate themselves on the incorporation process and what it would mean for South Walton.
For more information on ABSW, the incorporation process and how you can get involved by signing the petition, making a donation or volunteering, visit abettersouthwalton.org.
Julie Kerwin Cumby is a marketing communications professional and vice chair of the public relations and marketing committee for A Better South Walton