WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — One of the most highly-contested races in the Panhandle this election cycle didn’t involve candidates.

It involved a tax referendum.

Walton County voters were asked to consider an additional one-cent sale tax for the next 30 years.

The money would go to infrastructure projects, predominantly roads. Many believe this issue became a referendum on the current county commissioners.

In fact, tax supporters asked voters to focus on transportation needs, rather than how they felt about commissioners.

Apparently, that didn’t work.

The referendum failed by a 70-to-30 margin.

An opponent to the sales tax referendum, Dr. Jon Ward said he was satisfied that the tax didn’t pass tonight.

Ward said the solution to their infrastructure needs is already in the budget.

He said the Walton County Taxpayers Association is excited to work with the county government and the chamber to come up with solutions that voters find acceptable.

As for those supporting the tax, even though the results weren’t in their favor tonight, they said this is just the beginning of the conversation.

“Walton County high taxes is a hard sell and the voters spoke loud and clear, and they let the county commission and the county chamber know that they don’t want their taxes higher,” Ward said.

“We put our best foot forward,” Reynolds Henderson said. “We thought this is the best proposal now we go back to the drawing board and we will ask the commission how we can pay for our infrastructure. That’s what it’s all about. It’s always been about that.”

Henderson said they have a multi-billion dollar mobility plan that needs to be implemented.

He said he is excited to move forward and hopes this leads to a solution that will meet the county’s infrastructure needs.

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