Walton BCC addresses meeting procedures, buying property

The Board also elected a new Chair and Vice-Chair

By Maggie Solomon | msolomon@wmbb.com

Published 11/24 2015 04:56PM

Updated 11/24 2015 04:56PM

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Walton County has some of the most vocal citizens around, and at the Board of County Commissioners meeting Tuesday morning, there was a lot of discussion on how those wishing to address the board would do so.
According to County Administrator Larry Jones, most of the procedures discussed have been in place, but the county wanted to get them down on paper so everyone would know the guidelines on public participation - rules such as a max speaking time of 3 minutes per speaker and the 15 minutes allowed both public comment times. Commissioner Cindy meadows was adamant that before passing the guidelines commissioners needed to hear the public's opinion. 
"You know there's a lot going on in the county and we've got to have open door policy, and we've got to listen, even if we don't agree with what people are saying," said Meadows.
Commissioner Sara Comander insisted the rules were standard.
"There has to be some time set.," said Comander. "This is a business meeting for the people of Walton County."
"We believe the public has a right to be involved in this process, that the public should understand what they can say, what they can do," added resident Bob Hudson.
Commissioner Meadows says she plans to bring the procedures under her name at the next meeting. The proposed procedures did pass.
The board also elected a new chair and vice-chair. Sara Comander will serve as chair, and Cecilia Jones will serve as vice-chair. This is the first time two women have held the positions at the same time. 
There are also several different pieces of land the county is potentially looking to buy including pieces that would add more public beach to South Walton as well as more room for some county parks.
"Statues allow that if you find it in the best interest of the county to spend above the appraised value, you can do that with a super majority," said Jones. "The asking price for this parcel is 340,000 dollars. We firmly believe that that's the only opportunity we're going to have to spend 340,000 for a half acre of beach property."
The property is located at Inlet Beach between two easements the county already has. Purchasing the property would allow expanding the public beach. The board instructed staff to move forward with buying the property. 
There were also two pieces of property pertaining to Walton County parks - including Wee Care Park and Helen McCall Park. For the Wee Care property, the county will continue negotiations with the owner -- as well as the owner of the Helen McCall property while seeking a second appraisal. 
Finally, the board addressed a piece of beachfront property at San Roy also up for sale. Staff has been negotiating with the owner.
"We've had those discussions," said Jones. "There is a possibility of that price coming down. We aren't sure to what extent. The owner is asking for some concessions."
Concessions concerning easements are still in negotiations with the owner. There was no recommendation on whether to move forward by staff.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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