A Better South Walton has put finishing touches on a charter for the new Florida city it wants to see created.
The group’s next move is to present its plans to the state representative for House District 5 and ask him to introduce and advocate for passage of a local bill allowing South Walton voters to make the final decision on incorporation.
“He’s the gatekeeper. It all comes down to one guy,” said David Pleat, the president of A Better South Walton.
State Rep. Brad Drake of DeFuniak Springs, the Republican incumbent, faces no-party affiliated candidate Jamey Westbrook in the Nov. 8 election. The winner will be District 5’s representative on the issue.
Pleat said A Better South Walton will wait until after the election to turn over its bill for incorporation.
Continue reading at nwfdailynews.com
SANTA ROSA BEACH, FL – October 10, 2016 – A Better South Walton (ABSW) is pleased to announce the next stage of incorporation has begun with the submission of the completed charter to the Florida State Legislature.
Creation of the charter began several months ago as part of the overall decision to explore solutions for the rapid expansion of South Walton. After a comprehensive feasibility study identified the area as a prime candidate for incorporation, the charter was drafted as a next step in determining the framework for the proposed new government.
Multiple charter workshops were held in recent months to gather feedback from the community and incorporate key ideas into the draft charter for inclusion in the full version. Several key components of the charter were updated to include residents’ ideas for improvement, such as:
- Creating term limits for council members of two consecutive terms
- Modifying the vice mayor’s term to two years
- Defining the replacement process for council members who move out of their district prior to their term’s end
- Modifying the required Council vote needed to levy a municipal ad valorem tax to require a supermajority vote to levy or increase an ad valorem tax rather than to levy or change an ad valorem tax
- Limiting maximum municipal ad valorem taxes to 2.5 mills
- Requiring a run off election if no council candidate receives a majority vote for a particular seat during regular elections
- Allowing council members to increase their salaries, but restricting these changes to take effect two years after the next council election
With the charter and its submission complete, the next step on the path to incorporation is the creation and filing of a local bill containing the charter into the legislative process by South Walton’s State Representative. This local bill will include a request for a local vote by the residents of South Walton on whether or not to incorporate.
“The suggestions made by the residents of South Walton have greatly strengthened the charter and made pivotal improvements to the proposed governing framework,” states David Pleat, president of A Better South Walton. “We are proud of our neighbors’ commitment to bettering South Walton and their support in preserving and sustaining our unique way of life.”
For complete details on the full charter and a summary of its key elements, both documents may be accessed on the ABSW website.
To lend your support to the ABSW effort, please take 20 seconds to sign the online petition requesting the right to vote on the issue of incorporation.
For additional information on how you can volunteer or make 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 commitment to bettering South Walton. ABSW’s mission is to seek more effective governance and local representation for South Walton through incorporation to preserve and enhance the area’s unique character, property values and quality of life.