WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Questions about how the Walton County Board of County Commissioners spend taxpayer money have been swirling for weeks.
Walton Commissioners get nearly $1,200 a month for using their personal cars for county business. This far exceeds any amount reported by other counties in the Panhandle.
Back in May, county commissioners passed a resolution giving commissioners the option to either receive a fixed monthly mileage allowance or be reimbursed for actual miles driven for county business.
All five commissioners are currently receiving the monthly allowance which is $1,157.
The mileage policy is based on 1,852 miles a month multiplied by the U.S. General Services Administration’s mileage rate which is .62 cents a mile.
It’s unclear how the county arrived at the 1,852 mile number.
Last Tuesday, County Attorney Clay Adkinson, released hundreds of documents to dispel allegations against the county commission for misspending taxpayer money.
One of the documents was a reimbursement voucher for Commissioner Michael Barker.
Back in March 2021, Barker travel to Tallahassee for FAC Legislative Day on county business.
The voucher shows his meals, mileage, lodging and registration. It would appear Barker was reimbursed $286.90 for meals and mileage.
If Barker was also receiving a monthly mileage allowance for using his personal car, it is unclear if this would qualify as double-dipping on mileage.
Chairman of the Board at the time, Trey Nick, approved the voucher.
News 13 tried to reach out to the Clerk of Court’s Office and County Attorney Clay Adkinson to ask about the voucher to see if this was the case. The Clerk’s office declined to comment and we did not hear back from Adkinson.
We spoke to representatives from Bay, Gulf, Jackson and Calhoun counties. They do not have a monthly car allowance.
Gulf County has an in-county travel allowance of $400 per commissioner. Their out of county annual travel budget is $5,000 for each commissioner.
Calhoun County said they don’t have a monthly travel allowance and Jackson County has a pool of $50,000 that each commissioner draws from for the entire year.
Bay County Commissioners do not receive a monthly car allowance or local mileage reimbursement.
Commissioners pay any additional expenses they incur out of their own pocket, then request reimbursement at the GSA rate.
Each Walton County Commissioner has their own administrative aide.
Gulf, Jackson and Calhoun don’t have any kind of aides for their staff. Bay County has one administrative assistant who serves all five commissioners plus the deputy county administrator.
News 13 requested the salaries of the Walton County aides but have not yet received them. However, county officials said they were working on the request.
We also reached out to County Commissioner Michael Barker and left a message. He has not returned our call.