District 1 District 2
Sherry Campbell John Jannazo
302 N. Wilson St.
District 3 District 4
Bill Roberts Don Amunds Crestview, FL 32536
Water & Sewer
1804 Lewis Turner Blvd.
Fort Walton Beach, FL
District 5 Commissioner
James Campbell Wayne Harris was 850-651-7105
Chairman elected to replace
Sherry Campbell in
District 1. Harris
joined the Board in
Chairman Arbennie Pritchett Water Reclamation Facility
(WRF) is ahead of schedule and under budget at this time,
saving you money. A huge project for our county that broke
ground in 2007, will be mostly done by April 2009 and is
slated to begin handling 75 percent of the county’s waste-
water by September. The WRF uses the latest technology.
The Judicial Annex Extension schematic design
was approved this year. The additional court facilities with
more handicap accessibility are quite simply, needed. The
design is smart, in that it provides for future expansion and
added courtrooms without jeopardizing safety. Additionally,
when it is occupied the Shalimar Annex can be renovated
which will provide for additional, non-judicial office space,
resulting in a reduction in county rental costs.
The Commission Chambers in Crestview were
James Campbell updated with additional space. The overall renovation
completed by our Facilities Maintenance Dept. for under
$60,000 has much-improved technology and public
access. Also, the Brackin Building was renovated in order
to move non-judicial offices out of the Crestview
t has been an exciting election year,
and I would like to begin by thanking Courthouse to allow judicial services more space. Both of
everyone for their support and confi- these projects utilized green building techniques with reuse
dence in my ability to continue serving as of materials and a great savings.
your commissioner – it is an honor to serve. Northwest Florida Regional Airport is the new
I also want to thank my fellow commission- name of our commercial airport, and a $14.7 million proj-
ers and county staff for their support of me ect is underway for the new rental car facility which should
this year as chairman. Thanks to the many be complete by summer of 2009. Due to a sagging nation-
citizens who attended meetings and worked al economy, a $32 million terminal expansion has been put
with us, as we all together maintain our on hold. Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview has a great poten-
quality of life, while providing essential serv- tial for growth and added jobs in the near future, due to its
ices and public safety. location and industrial complex.
It is a good year when we get to the end The Board of County Commissioners allocated $2 mil-
without any significant storms, as we still recov- lion from budget cuts in other areas, to add to transporta-
er from the economic impacts of previous tion and stormwater budgets for 2008-09, and approved
storms. I’d like to review other good things that investigating additional funds from other sources, such as
happened or are in progress. bonding concurrently with the Judicial Annex Extension.
Single Stream Recycling begins in The 911 Emergency Operation Center is underway
Okaloosa County! We, along with a com- for its opening in 2010, and the School Board is collaborat-
mitment from Waste Management, are try- ing with us on new schools which can double as shelters,
ing to make it easy to recycle. Recyclables providing the required shelter space for our residents.
no longer have to be separated, and can be While as a nation we are struggling with economic
placed in your Waste Management Recycle challenges, I feel very positive about the State of Florida
container and picked up curbside. and Okaloosa County. In a year that we have all “tightened
Okaloosa County is going green in our belts,” I hope you have taken advantage of the
many areas, and established a Sustainabil- Okaloosa Saves program to assist you in this economy and
ity Committee for looking at ways to preserve in the future. I wish everyone a prosperous New Year, and
assets, save energy and save money. Single contact your Okaloosa County Commissioners anytime by
Stream Recycling doesn’t costs additional calling 850-651-7105, and please visit our website for
money and our employees aim to serve you updates and information.
better and do it for less.
Chairman James Campbell
Okaloosa County Commission
hen I sat down to think about what words best
describe 2008, the words that came to mind were
less and more. Those were our buzz words here
in the Okaloosa County offices. We had less money, less
resources and less employees. Realtors were selling less
homes. Less condominiums were being built. Car dealers
reported less sales of both new and used cars and retailers
reported less holiday sales. Yet, with all of this gloom and
doom, we, as a county, managed to do more.
We paved more roads by using cold mix asphalt. We
saved more budget dollars by trimming our workforce. We
provided more information by redesigning our web site. We James Curry
conserved more energy. We saved more lives. Quite sim-
ply we did more with less. And, that is what your county
government should do every single day.
As you read through this year’s Annual Report I think
you will find that it is full of accomplishments – some big,
some small – but all done with you, the citizen, in mind.
As you read the page on Budget/Financial Manage-
ment, you’ll find that Okaloosa County’s overall budget for
the coming year was cut by more than $10 million. Under
the Transportation title, you’ll find how a $2.5 million TRIP
grant will allow us to begin improvements on Antioch Road
and P.J. Adams Parkway in Crestview. Under the Public
Services title, you’ll read about the newly remodeled
County Commission Chambers in the Okaloosa County
Courthouse. Like I said, the accomplishments are many.
Read through this report carefully and find out how
Okaloosa County did more for you.
In 2008 we said ‘goodbye’ to Commissioner Sherry
Campbell and ‘hello’ to Commissioner Wayne Harris.
Commissioner Campbell served the county well for 6 years
and will be sorely missed. Sherry was appointed by Gov.
Jeb Bush to complete the term of Commissioner Shirley
Ransom. She was elected for a full term in 2004 and chose
not to run for another term as commissioner in 2008.
Commissioner Harris ran for her seat and was elected on
Nov. 4, 2008. While I certainly will miss Commissioner
Campbell I look forward to working with Commissioner
Harris. I know he will serve the citizens of Okaloosa County
idespread economic difficulties bring challenges,
Charlie Morris but also opportunities.
While trying to do more with less, the Okaloosa Coun-
ty Sheriff's Office continues to streamline its services by
cutting away duplication and upgrading technology to boost
With the implementation of car reporting for example,
our deputies no longer have to drive to a substation to com-
plete their paperwork. They can now do it directly from their
cars, saving both wear and tear mileage, as well as gas
I'm proud that despite receiving an average of 476
calls for service a day, our deputies' response rates rank
among the best in the state. The average response time to
a priority one call such as a robbery or child abuse in
progress call is one minute, three seconds.
We are continuing our aggressive drug enforcement
efforts, making more than 1,300 drug arrests and seizing
more than a million dollars worth of drugs off the streets in
the past year.
We also are maintaining our reputation for having one
of Florida's most comprehensive crime prevention pro-
grams. In fact our agency earned the President's Award
from the Florida Crime Prevention Association for innova-
tive programs that address the safety needs of our children
and senior citizens.
This year, that includes offering the new Safe Assured
Digital I-D Kits for youngsters.
And finally, as the first Sheriff from Okaloosa County
ever selected as President of the Florida Sheriff's Associa-
tion, I have the opportunity to consult with my counterparts
across the state. Part of our mission is to continue to
explore new methods for boosting vital law enforcement
capabilities, without increasing the burden on taxpayers.
he Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Office
is dedicated to serving the voters of Okaloosa
County. Pat Hollarn has served as Supervisor of
Elections since 1989 and 2009 will conclude 20 years of
Hollarn’s tenure has been marked by many great mile-
stones. In her twenty years of service Hollarn has been
nationally recognized as an innovator in finding better solu-
tions for Okaloosa County’s large overseas military and
Operation BRAVO (Bring Pat Hollarn
Remote Access to Voters Overseas)
Foundation announced the success-
ful completion of its first pilot project A Message from Pat:
for overseas voters on November 10,
2008. The Foundation partnered with
the Supervisor of Elections of I would like to take this
Okaloosa County, Florida, and SCYTL Secure Electronic opportunity to thank the
Voting, to develop and field a groundbreaking electronic
voters of Okaloosa County
absentee voting system.
The Okaloosa Distance Balloting Pilot (ODBP) for allowing me to serve as
placed supervised voting kiosks in three overseas locations your Supervisor of
for the November General Election. Voters used touch- Elections for the past twen-
screen laptop computers to make their selections and
could review a paper record of their choices before casting ty years. It has been a true
their vote. The voters honor and indeed a pleas-
reported the system also ure to carry out the mis-
was very easy for them to
sion of this office. As I
The Kids Vote, Too transition, I will forever
& Teens Vote, Too pro- treasure the many friends I
gram has been recognized have made and relish on
for its outstanding achieve-
ments in both creative the accomplishments
excellence and public relations program development by shared with my staff and
the Election Center, the American Advertising Federation this wonderful community.
and the Southern Public Relations Federation. In 2008, it
was successfully offered statewide as an officially licensed
program. The Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Sincerely,
office proudly partnered with the Okaloosa County Public
Schools Foundation and all net profit made through the
licensing of this franchise is deposited directly into an
escrowed Foundation account earmarked for Kids Vote,
Too. These funds are used to grow the Okaloosa County
program which subsequently grows the offerings of the
franchise as a whole.
n these tough economic times, when government
entities are being scrutinized for increasing their
budgets and reducing services, the Okaloosa County
Tax Tax Collector’s Office has managed to do just the opposite.
With no budget increase, Tax Collector Chris Hughes
asked his office to tighten its belt and actually take on more
Collector customer services. As a result, the office returned an
unprecedented nearly $1.5 million to Okaloosa County tax-
payers in excess commission fees. It is the largest amount
ever returned to the county.
The services provided by the Tax Collector’s Office
extend far beyond the walls of its facilities in Crestview, Ft.
Walton Beach, Niceville, Destin and on Eglin Air Force
Base. Utilizing the unique combination of modern technol-
ogy and personal one-on-one service, citizens have access
to the office while attending community events, from the
privacy of their home or even while stationed abroad pro-
tecting our freedom.
The Internet has made it possible for customers to
Chris Hughes “pay on line, not in line” at www.okaloosatax.com. Citizens
can conduct business with the office 24 hours a day, seven
State Level Services days a week at their convenience. A kiosk in Santa Rosa
Department of • Motor vehicle reg- Mall is also linked to the website as are laptop computers
Highway Safety and istration & titling
Motor Vehicles Mobile home regis-
used by employees while working in the field or set up at
• tration & titling special community functions. The website offers the ability
Disabled person to pay current and delinquent real estate and tangible
taxes, renew and apply for a county business tax receipt,
& titling purchase hunting and fishing licenses, and perform DMV
• Limited Drivers motor vehicle transactions. Valuable research materials,
License Services up-to-date account information and links to other govern-
Fish & Wildlife • Hunting & fishing ment offices are also accessible on the web page. VISA,
Commission MasterCard, Discover and American Express are accepted
Department of forms of payment.
Environmental The limited Drivers License services offered at the
Department of Natural Niceville and Destin branch offices continues to expand
Resources and attract more customers. The offices issue original,
Department of • Billing, collection & duplicate and replacement licenses, perform license
Revenue distribution of taxes renewal transactions and selected reinstatement proce-
Local Level Services dures, provide all non-citizen services, issue Florida
Collection of Ad • Real estate Identification Cards and perform written driver’s exams and
Valorm taxes for 20 • Tangible personal Motorcycle Knowledge Exams.
taxing authorities property
The Tax Collector’s Office doesn’t stop at just extend-
Issuance of Business • Application, renew- ing the basic services beyond its walls. The business of
Tax Receipts al & enforcement providing exceptional customer service is taken to a new
level because employees volunteer their time and effort to
make our community a better place to live. Assisting neigh-
bors is a true commitment of the office and is reflected
through its numerous fundraising efforts. The office once
again accepted the First Place award at the 2008
Okaloosa-Walton American Heart Walk raising $30,663.53.
The well known Annual Christmas Shoebox Campaign dis-
tributes 1,000’s of gifts to area children in need. The office
is also known for providing disaster relief assistance and
making contributions to the United Way.
reparation of the January 1, 2008 property value roll
was a new experience compared to years past.
Since it is our office’s responsibility to interpret the
market and equitably assess all properties based on mar-
ket performance, we were operating in never-before-seen
conditions. Exuberant buyers and sellers had driven val-
ues to record highs beginning in 2004, but starting in mid-
2006, the market turned south and is still looking for a bot-
tom. Interpreting the moving target as of January 1, 2008,
using 2007 sales data, was a challenge. Below is the result
of the final taxable values for the various taxing authorities
in Okaloosa County. As you can see, only two taxing
authorities had an increase in taxable value over 2007, and
most had significant decreases. These decreases resulted
in a lot of belt-tightening at budget workshops. Since there Pete Smith
has been very little new construction coming on line year-
to-date, and since sales prices have continued to decline in
most areas, it appears that this assessment trend will con-
tinue when the 2009 property value roll is certified.
Hopefully, this trend will soon level out, reverse itself, and
property values will once again start climbing, a necessity
for economic recovery nationwide.
2007-2008 GROWTH REPORT
2007 TAX ROLL 2008 TAX ROLL PERCENTAGE OF $ AMOUNT OF
FINAL VALUES FINAL VALUES CHANGE CHANGE
OKALOOSA COUNTY $ 18,806,840,352 $ 17,410,630,993 -7.42% ($1,396,209,359)
OKALOOSA COUNTY SCHOOLS $ 18,858,931,778 $ 18,410,992,070 -2.38% ($447,939,708)
NWF WATER MANAGEMENT $ 18,858,931,778 $ 17,455,934,652 -7.44% ($1,402,997,126)
MSTU - PARKS $ 8,373,263,528 $ 7,801,997,386 -6.82% ($571,266,142)
CINCO BAYOU $ 62,762,817 $ 64,916,808 3.43% $2,153,991
CRESTVIEW $ 1,171,439,365 $ 1,066,248,413 -8.98% ($105,190,952)
DESTIN $ 6,125,851,582 $ 5,631,525,229 -8.07% ($494,326,353)
FORT WALTON BEACH $ 1,471,906,886 $ 1,377,579,477 -6.41% ($94,327,409)
LAUREL HILL $ 15,996,698 $ 16,551,037 3.47% $554,339
MARY ESTHER $ 358,014,214 $ 325,381,253 -9.11% ($32,632,961)
NICEVILLE $ 903,128,533 $ 835,487,332 -7.49% ($67,641,201)
SHALIMAR $ 108,024,716 $ 97,422,052 -9.82% ($10,602,664)
VALPARAISO $ 241,118,831 $ 215,733,304 -10.53% ($25,385,527)
DESTIN FIRE DISTRICT $ 7,118,717,168 $ 6,687,086,972 -6.06% ($431,630,196)
EAST NICEVILLE FIRE DISTRICT $ 325,677,741 $ 298,955,643 -8.21% ($26,722,098)
FLOROSA FIRE DISTRICT $ 459,566,684 $ 411,961,647 -10.36% ($47,605,037)
NORTH BAY FIRE DISTRICT $ 1,086,246,179 $ 982,919,072 -9.51% ($103,327,107)
OCEAN CITY - WRIGHT FIRE DISTRICT $ 2,475,578,239 $ 2,264,006,240 -8.55% ($211,571,999)
OKALOOSA ISLAND FIRE DISTRICT $ 1,238,859,684 $ 1,134,115,035 -8.45% ($104,744,649)
A massive amount of information and functionality is
Clerk of available on our office web-site such as:
• Credit card payment of traffic fines, child support
Courts and other court costs
• Court dockets to various cases
• Juror reporting status
• General information on all divisions of the Clerk’s
• On-line access to deed records, court records,
foreclosure and tax deed sales
• Interactive forms for Small Claims and Landlord
Log on to the Okaloosa County Clerk of Circuit Court
web page at www.clerkofcourts.cc
Commissioners, has received the prestigious Certificate of
he Office of the Clerk of Court is
Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for 20
comprised of approximately 110
consecutive years. The Finance Department accounts for
loyal, dedicated employees that
an approximate $300,000,000 county budget, performs pre
are committed to providing competent
and post audit functions for a 800 county employee bi-
and courteous public service. As your
weekly payroll and 13,000 vendor payments per year, all
Clerk of Court, this office is charged with
the while receiving excellent annual audits. As your County
many diverse and complicated functions.
Treasurer, for the year ended 09-30-08, we were able to
An independent state survey into the
earn $4,275,575 on investments of county funds, a net
duties of this office revealed that the clerk
realized return on investment of 3.09%. These earnings
performs in excess of 1,000 different
were realized during a difficult economic period of low
duties in carrying out our constitutional
investment returns while safeguarding the public’s funds in
and statutory duties as Clerk to the
AAA rated securities.
Circuit and County Courts; Clerk,
The Court Departments, in our role as Clerk to the
Accountant and Secretary to the Board of
Courts, has seen large increases in case filings in many
County Commissioners and your County
areas. The total number of new case filings in all divisions
in 2007 was 75,193, an increase of 5.1% the last year
The Office of the Clerk of Court has
alone. In 2007 we issued 3,013 Marriage License and
been described as the public trustee,
4,534 Passports. Our Domestic Relations Department
providing the citizens with separate,
processed over 100,000 case payments representing
independent accountability of the public’s
$5,180,184 paid to custodial parents.
various types of records. A major aspect
The Recording Department, in or role as County
of being the public’s trustee of records is
Recorder, added 322,580 pages to the Official Records in
making those particular records readily
2007 represented by 81,166 documents and 228,000 new
available. The Clerk’s Office is constant-
names added to the Official Records Index. On-line access
ly adapting to constitutional and statutory
to all Official Record books are now available back to 1956,
changes while embracing technological
the date Official Record books began in Okaloosa County,
advancements that provide greater pub-
with full protection of all private information as provide by
lic access while maintaining the individu-
als right to privacy.
Document imaging, in all areas of the Clerk’s Office,
The County Finance Department, in
continues to be enhanced to provide greater accessibility to
our role as Accountant, Auditor and
your public records.
Treasurer to the Board of County
ising property values in 2007, paired with inequities budget year employees will receive no
in the Save Our Homes amendment to the Florida merit raises and were limited to a 2%
Constitution created an unfair method of taxation in cost of living allowance. For the second
Okaloosa County. Because of this situation, tax reform was year in a row, no new vehicles were pur-
on everyone’s mind in 2008. With the passage of chased.
Amendment 1, the people of Okaloosa County spoke loud Okaloosa County’s Human Resources
and clear to the Department developed a Voluntary
Board of County Separation Program which allowed 25
Commissioners. people in the higher end of the pay scale
The people wanted to retire. This program resulted in the
lower taxes! elimination of these 25 positions with no
The Okaloosa layoffs or terminations. A total of 49 posi-
County Board of tions were eliminated from Board of
Commissioners County Commissioners staffing.
and county staff While reducing staffing and other
responded appro- expenditures, Okaloosa County worked
priately. Expenses hard to maintain the level of service that
were reduced and our citizens demand. Staff continued to
the overall budget provide the highest level of service
was cut by more despite the diminishing tax dollars.
than $10 million. Okaloosa County’s budget staff
The commissioners works hard to provide concise and accu-
reduced the millage rate reports. To that end, Finance
rate from last year’s Director Gary Stanford and his staff have
3.3443 mills to received the prestigious Certificate of
3.2995 mills. The Achievement for Excellence in Financial
Board also reduced Reporting for 20 consecutive years.
the unincorporated Despite difficult financial times,
parks millage rate Okaloosa County remains in good finan-
to 0.1800 mills. cial shape. General Fund reserves are
With the slow- strong, debts remain low and the Board
down in the econo- continues to keep a watchful eye on
my in 2008, County expenses.
rienced a reduction
in revenues from
other sources. The Board responded appropriately by
reducing expenses for the coming year. In the 2008/2009
he military and tourism are two of the main econom-
ic engines that drive Okaloosa County. The Board
Airport of County Commissioners works hard to ensure
that these mainstays of the economy have the support that
Flying they need.
To that end, Okaloosa County’s Tourist Development
High Council worked tirelessly in 2008 to maintain tourism dur-
ing difficult economic times. The TDC received 147,862
requests for tourist information from magazine readers
responding to advertisements and articles about the
Emerald Coast. The Council also acquired a 12-page sec-
Northwest Florida Regional tion in Delta Sky Magazine on the Emerald Coast. This
Airport experienced many highs magazine is read by an estimated 3.4 million readers. The
and lows in 2008. While the air- TDC assisted 279 groups in coming to this area. The direct
line industry as a whole was economic impact of these groups on Okaloosa County
held hostage by the troubled
The Emerald Coast Conference Center had another
economy, Okaloosa County’s successful year with 235 total events and a 75% occupan-
airport system did very well. cy rate. The conference center was responsible for 62,000
Construction progressed visitor nights in area hotels and condos in 2008. The
on a $14 million expansion of Conference Center generated $7.7 million in total visitor
spending. That money contributes directly to Okaloosa
the airport’s landside amenities
consisting of a new rental car As a part of its support of the military effort, Okaloosa
facility. Seven rental companies County established a Veterans Service Office in 1945. In 2008,
will use a common fuel farm, car Vet Services was instrumental in securing $5,310,924 in new
wash and servicing area begin- and recurring revenue payments to VA beneficiaries in
Okaloosa County. This compensation represents consumable
ning in May 2009. Improvements income to veterans living in Okaloosa County and much of it
also include a cargo/mainte- returns directly into the local economy.
nance facility. A customer facili- The Tourist Development Council and the Florida
ty charge applied to car rentals Department of Transportation fund the Okaloosa County
Transit WAVE system on Okaloosa Island and in Destin.
provided project funding.
This shuttle service reached 100,600 in ridership, ensuring
that area tourists have a safe, comfortable means of local
ransportation continues to be a major concern of
residents, as well as officials. Okaloosa County has
taken steps this year to improve mobility throughout
Okaloosa County’s Public Works Department
acquired a Transportation Regional Incentive Program
(TRIP) grant from the Florida Department of Transportation
to work toward improvements to P.J. Adams Parkway and
Antioch Road in Crestview. This $2.5 million grant will allow
Public Works to perform a Project Development and
Environment Study and begin intersection improvements at
P.J. Adams and State Road 85. These improvements will
begin early in 2009. Included with the improvements is the
construction of additional turn lanes and raised medians
designed to streamline traffic flow through the intersection.
Efforts to procure further funding for further improvements
Public Works’ Asphalt Crew overlaid 14 county roads
this year. They have completed almost 7 miles of cold mix
base stabilization and overlaid and
repaired 1.7 miles of Hollywood
Boulevard in Fort Walton Beach. To
further improve safety at troublesome
intersections, the Traffic Division of
Public Works installed traffic cameras
at Highway 98 and Santa Rosa
Boulevard.; Highway 98 and the
Emerald Coast Conference Center;
and Mary Esther Cutoff and Beal
The Bridge Crew improved
transportation by converting three
wooden bridges to concrete on
Trawick Creek, Big Creek and Murder
With the increased cost of fuel, Okaloosa County
Transit focused on increasing its ridership to reduce the
number of cars on the road. The WAVE system ridership
numbers reached over 210,000 in 2008 – a 14% increase
from 2007. The most notable ridership increase was found
in the WAVE express route from Crestview to Fort Walton
Beach. Ridership increased 92% from 2007.
In 2008, Okaloosa County hosted a meeting on trans-
portation challenges faced by the county due to BRAC imple-
mentation. That meeting was attended by officials from
Washington, Tallahassee and the military to name a few.
ver the past decade growth has
been a continuing subject in
Okaloosa County. In 2008, how-
ever, a downturn in the economy caused
growth and ways to stimulate it, particu-
larly in the housing market, to become
an entirely different topic of conversa-
Okaloosa County’s Growth Man-
agement Division reduced its staff by ten
positions and cut operating costs dra-
matically. This included moving the bulk
of the operations to county-owned build-
ings in Crestview. Only a satellite office
remains in the Water & Sewer Admin-
Despite this reduced growth, the
Planning Division of Growth Manage-
ment, processed 20 rezoning requests,
9 requests for plan amendments and 8
subdivision plats. The Planning Division
processed 23 variances, special excep-
tions and after-the-fact variances.
The Building Division of Growth
Management conducted inspections on
major new projects including condomini-
um and apartment buildings. They com-
pleted 27,006 inspections throughout
the county and issued 7,260 building
Health & Safety
afeguarding the health and safety of Okaloosa bers are now trained to the national stan-
County’s residents has always been a major focus of dard and have the necessary equipment.
the Board of County Commissioners. Okaloosa Beach Safety also subscribes to a new
County staff has worked hard to ensure that residents beach conditions report which provides
remain healthy and safe as they pursue their lives. Virtually several types of information about
every department contributes to this goal. beaches during red tide events; whether
To ensure the safety of travelers along Highway 90 dead fish are present, where there is res-
and Antioch Road, Okaloosa County’s Public Works piratory irritation among beachgoers and
Department entered into a Joint Participation Agreement what color the flags are flying at the
with the Florida Department of Transportation. This project beaches. Reports are updated at 10 a.m.
will increase the existing turning area for vehicles east- and 3 p.m. A beach web cam was also
bound on Highway 90. The improved radius will make turn- installed at the Beach Safety headquar-
ing movements in the area more negotiable for vehicles ters on Okaloosa Island. This technology
making a right turn onto Antioch Road. Also included as provides citizens a real-time view of the
part of this agreement is the replacement of traffic signals Boardwalk Beach, the beach warning
to the new LED style of light, which is safer for drivers flag color and the surf conditions. This
because it is more visible in varying driving conditions. web cam can be accessed at
Mosquito populations remain a health hazard for this www.co.okaloosa.fl.us
area. Uncontrolled populations increase the chances of the The Emergency Medical Services
spread of diseases such as equine encephalitis. The division of Public Safety acquired sever-
Mosquito Control Division of the Public Works Department al new tools that will ensure not only the
reduces mosquito populations through a variety of meth- health and safety of the patients they
ods. In 2008, Mosquito Control responded to more than transport, but also that of EMS person-
680 customer service requests. Staff sprayed 7,982 miles nel. EMS purchased electric powered
using 1,848 gallons of BioMist spray. They also maintained stretchers that can lift patients up to 700
1,525 larviciding sites, which include holding ponds, ditch- pounds with the push of a button. These
es, stormwater management areas, junk yards, tire piles stretchers allow safe patient handling
and unmaintained swimming pools. with reduced risk of back injury to
Okaloosa County’s Public Safety Department’s pri- employees. The stretchers were pur-
mary mission is to protect the health and safety of local res- chased with a state grant. Also pur-
idents and visitors. With that mission in mind, the Beach chased with a grant in 2008, were elec-
Safety Division, embarked on several new programs in tronic heart compression devices called
2008. Okaloosa Beach Safety received a grant from the AutoPulse. This device increases suc-
state to upgrade response capabilities during flood and cessful patient outcomes by at least
swift water events. Along with the purchase of a rescue 25%.
boat, other rescue equipment was updated. All team mem-
Division of Public Safety also purchased an emergency
lthough Okaloosa County has
been spared from any devastat- communications trailer. This trailer is capable of providing
ing hurricanes since the active rapid response to disaster-stricken areas and re-establish-
season of 2005, Emergency Planning ing the communication that is vital to disaster response and
remains a high priority. In 2008, major recovery.
steps were taken to better prepare Not only is emergency planning for our citizens impor-
Okaloosa County for a future hurricane tant, helping our employees to prepare is essential as well.
or other potential disaster. To that end, the Human Resources Department worked with
Okaloosa County broke ground in Public Safety to create a disaster planning handbook for
2008 on a new Emergency Operations employees. This handbook helps employees know what to
Center on the campus of Northwest do and when to do it, so that they will be able to return to
Florida State College in Niceville. This their positions quickly and aid the people of Okaloosa
new EOC will allow emergency staffs County.
throughout the county to base their oper- The Code Red Weather Warning System was initiated
ations in a safe, efficient site during cat- in 2008 and made available to all residents and businesses.
astrophic events. It will also provide a This system provides automated emergency weather warn-
permanent home for the County ings to residents in Okaloosa County whenever severe
Warning Point – home to 911 dispatch. weather threatens. The system can call up to 1,000 phones
The Emergency Management per minute.
Recycling Proposal to establish
rotecting paradise remains
a priority for Okaloosa a commercial recycling pro-
County government. The gram. The Recycling Division is
Board and the entire staff realize also supporting the Chamber’s
what a unique environment efforts to conduct a Green
Okaloosa County has and that it Lodging Workshop for the
must be protected. The Board of hotel/motel industry. The Re-
County Commissioners took sev- cycling Division also received a
eral steps in 2008 that were grant to remove plastic from the
designed to ensure that the air, yard waste collected and to
water and land that residents so develop markets for the ground
enjoy will be here for many years material. Another grant allows
to come. the division to experiment with
One of the big steps that the Board took in 2008 was the use of latex and oil-based paint in a
to create the Sustainable Okaloosa Committee. This com- patented roof repair system, which allows
mittee, headed up by Don Turner, Facilities Maintenance for a low-cost environmentally friendly
Director, has as its mission “to promote conservation and method of disposing of waste paint.
stewardship through education and demonstration among In an effort to reduce the silt from roads
all departments of the County and within our communities.” entering streams causing contamination of
Within Okaloosa County offices themselves steps the water, the Asphalt Crew, completed the
were taken in 2008 to be good stewards of the environment third of three stream crossing projects with a
by reducing consumption of all utilities. Dozens of program- grant from the USDA.
mable thermostats, electric circuit timers for water heaters Okaloosa County’s Extension Ser-
and insulation blankets were installed. Steps were also vices works with both youth and adults to
taken to minimize energy leaks in County facilities. educate them on the marine resources in
The Public Works Department combined efforts of its the area. This is achieved through pro-
Engineering, Surveying, Road and Resources Divisions to gramming efforts and educational hands-
develop procedures that would help the county locate sources on activities. Twenty-one of the county’s
of pollution that are contaminating ground water. As a part of youth participated in a coastal resources
the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) education program and 23 students have
Permit, Public Works employees are locating, mapping and participated in 6 months of training on
placing in a data base all drainage infrastructures. With the plant care, propagation and restoration.
efforts of the survey crews, district road crews and inspectors, Through the Commercial Horticulture
there are now 1,568 structures included in the data base, this program, Okaloosa County has been
includes almost 95% of all structures under county mainte- able to reduce the chemical introduction
nance in the south end of the county. The focus is now shift- to the environment by training landscape
ing to the north end of the county. personnel in proper pesticide and fertiliz-
Okaloosa County’s Recycling Division has partnered with er use. More than 370 people participat-
several local governments and agencies to improve recycling ed in such programs through Extension
in the area. The county partnered with the Greater Fort Walton Services.
Beach Chamber of Commerce to submit an Innovative
kaloosa County provides a Water & Sewer utility to
the residents in unincorporated areas. To keep
water flowing into homes and businesses and
waste flowing out of those same homes and businesses
requires a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week operation.
CDM Constructors Inc. is more than 50% complete
with the new Arbennie Pritchett Wastewater Reclamation
Facility. It will replace the aging Garniers Plant with the
highest technology in wastewater treatment and a capacity
of 10 million gallons per day of average daily flow.
In Summer 2008, Water & Sewer construction crews
completed construction of 18 Rapid Infiltration Basins,
which will receive the effluent from the new plant. By using
in-house forces, it is estimated that $4.5 million was saved
on the project.
At the request of the Northwest Florida Water
Management District, Okaloosa County is now serving the
Seminole area east of Bluewater Bay. This expansion
includes 400 radio read water meters, 35 fire hydrants and
26,000 feet of water mains. The project has been designed,
permitted and construction is under way. This project was
possible through the use of in-house crews and a grant
from the Northwest Florida Water Management District.
The Wastewater reclamation facility located on
Fairchild Road in Crestview is being expanded from
300,000 gallons per day to 1,000,000 gallons per day of
average daily flow. The upgraded plant will produce public
access reuse water irrigation. This project is designed and
permitted. Construction began in September 2008.
In an effort to provide relief to wells facing saltwater
intrusion, in-house construction crews recently completed
laying 10,000 feet of 16” transmission main. This is the last
of a four-phase project designed to send supplemental
water to the county’s service area west on Highway 98.
Culture & Recreation
Transit partnered with the libraries to
espite cuts in budgets for 2008, the Board of
County Commissioners realized that culture and provide free rides on the WAVE during
recreation are important to Okaloosa County citi- the month of September. Anyone pre-
zens. With reduced budgets in mind, county departments senting a library card received a free
worked to improve recreational opportunities for all of its ride. During the promotion, library cards
citizens. were presented to drivers 4,060 times.
The Resources Division of Public Works improved and Providing activities for the County’s
maintained parks throughout the county. Wilderness youthful residents is vitally important as
Landing Park was developed in conjunction with the well. Okaloosa County’s Extension
National Park Service and the Department of Services provides clubs and camps for
Environmental Protection through a Land and Water young people through its 4-H program.
Conservation Fund Grant. Amenities at this new park, In 2008, 4-H Club enrollment more than
located west of Baker, include a boat ramp, a 240-foot long doubled, bringing the number to 459.
boardwalk, two covered pavilions and a 1.2 mile walking During the summer, 151 youth participat-
trail. Resources also completely renovated Seminole Park ed in the Summer Camping Program.
in east county. Those renovations included a new baseball Overnight and day camps were both
backstop, sidewalk and walking trail, covered picnic pavil- offered. Money management, environ-
ion, a new restroom/concession building and a composite mental education, animal science and
play structure. Other park improvements include a new roof nutrition were taught to young people
at Beasley Park on Okaloosa Island and a new composite participating in these camps. A school
play structure and covered picnic pavilion at Leo Norred enrichment program, sponsored by 4-H,
Park in Shalimar. reached 2,286 youth in Okaloosa
In an effort to increase use of the libraries within County.
Okaloosa County’s Library Cooperative, Okaloosa County
very large part of what the Board of County
Commissioners and Okaloosa County’s staff does
is to provide essential public services to the resi-
dents of this area.
Okaloosa County’s Regional Airport System provides
for both commercial and private air traffic. In 2008, the
Board voted unanimously to change the Okaloosa
Regional Airport to the Northwest Florida Regional Airport.
This new name better identifies the airport’s geographic
location to out-of-state travelers.
With forecasted peak airport activities in mind and with
the goal of attracting additional air carriers in the future, air-
port staff worked with architects to design a 3-to-4 gate
addition on the south end of the concourse. This design
also includes expanding east and west to accommodate
more ticket counters and another baggage carousel. Those
plans remain on hold for the near future.
Boarding aircraft from Gates A1 and A2 became easi-
er in 2008 when two Moveable Airport Boarding Units were
installed to protect passengers from inclement weather.
These telescopic shelters keep passengers dry when tran-
sitioning from regional jets to the terminal.
Okaloosa County Transit provides door-to-door trans-
portation service for eligible residents. This service is com-
monly referred to as paratransit. Okaloosa County provid-
ed more than 99,000 paratransit trips in 2008. More than
35% of those trips were provided to citizens going to their
place of employment. This service is largely funded by pri-
vate agencies. Many are eligible for assistance through
state and local grants.
A part of the public service that Okaloosa County pro-
vides is easy access to all Board meetings and other coun-
ty functions. The staff of Okaloosa County’s Facility
Maintenance Department completed the renovation of the
Board of County Commissioners Chambers at the
Okaloosa County Courthouse in Crestview. The renovation
provides full ADA accessibility to Board meetings. In addi-
tion, four new restrooms were added to the main floor of
the courthouse. Modern audio-visual equipment was added
to provide easier and clearer viewing of presentations to
the Board by the public.
Prepared by the
1804 Lewis Turner Blvd.
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547