DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WMBB) — Walton County voters were asked if they wanted to continue paying an additional property tax to support education and the Walton County School District.

The tax has been around for a while but it is coming up for renewal, which takes voter approval. The tax was passed by a four-to-one margin.

Walton County will continue to impose a half a million dollar Ad Valorem tax for four more years. The tax was supposed to expire on June 30, 2023.

It will now roll over from July 1, 2023 until June 30, 2027. The unofficial results show 82.58% of voters supported the referendum.

Walton County Superintendent Russel Hughes said the referendum brings in $18 million a year to operate the school district, helping to recruit and retain quality teachers, preserve extra-curricular programs and provide instructional materials and technology.

“With our growth it is important that we understand the third one we rank number two in use of taxpayers dollars and we are able to do that because we are very frugal we are very strategic with this and with this influx of people moving here we neeed this referendum to go on so we can make sure things are going to happen for our students,” Hughes said.

Hughes said this has been working for the county for the last 19 years. He said it allows the county to have the highest paid teachers in the Panhandle.