By LEAH STRATMANN
The first meeting of the newly formed South Walton Tourist Development Council (TDC) met last week with a surprisingly short agenda and to clean up items initiated by the last council.
First up was a report from John Graham who had been asked to conduct a feasibility study on the impact of a performing complex on tourism and make a report to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC). The study conducted included a 7,000-seat outdoor amphitheatre with a black box theater as part of the complex. It was decided that more cultural events could be an added value as a tourism attraction.
Graham said such a facility would cost $35 million to build, not including the cost of the land. “The public and philanthropic resources are not available at this time, making this project not feasible at this time. It would cost more than $600,000 a year to maintain also,” he said. As part of the study, several properties were evaluated and only one was found to be acceptable for such a project.
The study cost $50,000 to conduct and another $50,000 will be spent on another feasibility study on developing a sports complex.
New council member Suzanne Harris took great issue at the $200,000 spent on reviewing the use of seven credit cards by Carr-Riggs. “They found nothing wrong and issued only a three-page report on their findings,” she said. “I want Bill Imfeld’s office to pay part of this as he insisted it be done and I want Carr-Riggs to reduce the bill. Charging $250 an hour is out of control,” she concluded.
TDC attorney Clay Adkinson said, “We can flag this expense and ask the BCC to look into it.”
Richard Veldman made a motion to accept the financial report with the stipulation that the TDC has great concern over this expense. The motion was seconded and passed.
Executive director Dawn Moliterno reported that every job description within the organization has been reviewed and completed. She further informed the board the organization is now acting under the BCC travel policy.
The final agenda issue concerned a code of conduct for TDC advisory council members. It was discovered that one of the board members from the last council was quite delinquent in paying the bed taxes owed. Adkinson said the current code of conduct does not address this specifically, but suggested the code be amended to include that all council members keep bed tax payments up to date. A motion was made and seconded to amend the code and passed by all.
Leah Stratmann may be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org