Walton Area Chamber of Commerce Champions Education of Proposed Mobility Plan and Fee Structure

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Urges Board of County Commissioners to consider alternative options for funding 

Walton County, Florida | April 15, 2021 – The Walton Area Chamber of Commerce leadership, along with its board of directors and members are leading the charge urging the Walton County Board of County Commissioner’s careful consideration before passing the proposed 2040 countywide mobility plan.

The document, prepared by the Walton County Planning Commission and NUE Urban Concepts, reads “The Walton County 2040 Mobility Plan is a vision, over the next 20 years, for how the County’s transportation system will transition from one focused primarily on moving cars, towards a multimodal system focused on safely providing mobility and accessibility for people of all ages and abilities consistent with Florida Statute 163.3180 (5)(f).”

In line with the Chamber’s mission to be the area’s leading voice of business, the leadership and members have been working diligently to host workshops, attend meetings and communicate to its constituents the myriad of intricacies to the proposed plan and its potential effect.

“We at the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce are in agreement that we need a plan to address our county’s mobility concerns,” said Megan Harrison, Walton Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO. “Our hope though, is that the Board of County Commissioners will consider making changes to the plan including a more realistic, prioritized set of projects, and a more reasonable and consistent source of funding, perhaps by way of a sales tax in place of the proposed fees. The current proposed fee structure will be detrimental to our small business community and create a major challenge for economic development efforts to recruit diversified industry to Walton County. It will also exacerbate an already major hurdle we face in regard to affordable and attainable housing.”

Supporting its mission of being the driving force to promote, develop and advocate for successful businesses in the community, the Chamber feels the plan and its current fee structure place an unfair onus on the businesses and its operators. The proposed fees would be charged to any new residential or non-residential building or development and to any expansion to existing structures.

“It’s important for us to consider the financial impact these fees would have on both large and small businesses considering expanding in or relocating to Walton County,” Harrison said. “As the fifth fastest growing county in America, we know Walton County is beloved by those far and wide. Consideration of a sales tax would spread the collection beyond our locals and business owners and include the 4 million+ visitors who frequent our area annually that generate on average 67% of the sales tax collected in the county.”

If you or your business is concerned about the proposed 2040 mobility plan, or you would like to know more, please contact Megan Harrison, President and CEO of the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce via email at ceo@waltonareachamber.com or call (850) 267-0683. If you are willing to email your concerns to the Board of County Commissioners, please contact ceo@waltonareachamber.com for a templated letter.

A special meeting is held for the reading of the plan on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, following the regularly scheduled Board of County Commissioner’s meeting at the South Walton Annex Board Room, 31 Coastal Centre Blvd., Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. As the time of the meeting is currently unknown, the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce will be opening its conference room, located at 63 South Centre Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459, for guests to work from prior to. If you are unable to attend in person a virtual option is available via Zoom. Please visit https://walton.civicweb.net/Portal/ for more information.

About the Walton Area Chamber

The Walton Area Chamber of Commerce was established in 1925 and provides leadership for a healthy business community. As the area’s leading voice of business, the more than 800-member organization represents the interests of business with government, promotes the local community and provides business education and networking opportunities toward building a strong Walton County economy. For more information, visit www.waltonareachamber.com or call (850) 267-0683.

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