y BEN GRAFTON
The board of directors of the Walton County Economic Development Alliance (WCEDA) opened its meeting of March 2 with a discussion about a placing a WCEDA insert into a future issue of the 850 The Business Magazine of Northwest Florida. Managing Director Scarlett Phaneuf said that WCEDA was pleased with last year’s insert. Brian Rowland of 850 said he would like to get feedback from the board about an insert for a schedule that would allow development in time to publish it in the August-September issue. The magazine will do an overrun of 3,000 copies of the insert which can be used as handouts at conferences and meetings.
Director Lori Kelley presented the current financial report for WCEDA noting that the DeFuniak Springs City Council voted to execute the interlocal agreement. An invoice will be sent to DeFuniak Springs for supporting funding. Otherwise there has been little financial activity.
Phaneuf reported that Public Works and Regional Utilities are set to provide support in work to be done at the Walton County Industrial Park in Freeport and that Preble-Rish Engineering has identified some design changes that could save money.
Attorney Clay Adkinson presented a draft of the revised Land Purchase/Lease Policy for review by the board. Significant provisions include: Land can normally be leased or sold only to businesses that are identified by the state as Qualified Targeted Industries, however with adequate justification, the board may accept another applicant. A minimum of 10 jobs, paying 115 percent of the local average wage must be created by the applicant in the first phase (year) of job creation. No more land than is required for initial business development will be sold or leased to a client in the first two years of the project after which additional land may be addressed. The value of the land to be sold will be set by a certified appraiser but the value may be discounted, if justified, by the Walton County Economic Development Council (EDC) on a case by case basis. Land transaction costs will be borne by the candidate business, however the EDC may elect to pay these costs, if justified, on a case by case basis. The maximum time between closing and start of vertical construction shall be limited to 180 days. The client cannot resell the property to any party except the WCEDA. A new draft will be presented at the next meeting.
Phaneuf advised the board that the WCEDA website is not functioning properly. She needs to enter changes to information, but the only thing she can do is delete items from the site. She asked for approval to issue a Request for Proposal to correct web site problems.
Board Member Greg Kisela advised the board that the county is seeking a grant to cover the cost of modifications to sewer and water infrastructure at Mossy Head.
Preble-Rish will be asked to present an overview of Mossy Head infrastructure at the next board meeting.