SOUTH WALTON Fla. (WMBB) — Residents voiced their concerns about the $5.6 million media budget for the Walton County Tourist Development Council.
They spent hours discussing whether or not 40% of the TDC budget should be spent on advertising.
“I think it would be wise for us to make dadgum sure we are following the law,” said County Commissioner for District 5 Tony Anderson.
Walton County Commissioners heard from residents about the TDC’s spending habits. The acting county attorney said many thought 40% of TDC revenue had to be spent on promoting tourism.
“I would like a definitive answer from the Attorney General’s office on whether or not what we are doing is correct or incorrect,” said Anderson.
Anderson said he wanted the attorney general’s opinion to make sure spending is aligning with state statutes. But many did not agree.
“I just don’t see a purpose in stalling what we have got to do today just to ask for the opinion that I believe we have already got,” said Commissioner for District 2 Danny Glidewell.
After hearing that 40% did not have to go to advertising, residents voiced their concerns.
“And the money has been here along for our schools, and our children and the sidewalks and everything that you has been trying to scrape up,” said resident Dan Cosan.
“We need to investigate who is responsible for this supposed misinterpretation of the state statute,” said another resident Charles Galloway.
Officials with the TDC said they do not get to spend their budget any way they want.
“Everything we do is approved by the BCC, you the BCC,” said TDC Director Jay Tusa.
Ultimately, commissioners passed the TDC media budget plan on Tuesday, for the new year. The marketing portion of the plan will increase from $100,000 to $240,000.
TDC officials said eliminating the 40% advertising cap will allow more ways to spend money.