By DOTTY NIST
Recently approved were Walton County priorities for state and federal funding, and officials have set a workshop to consider the county’s strategic goals and objectives.
State and federal funding priorities
The priorities were approved at the Jan. 24 Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting at the Walton County Courthouse. They will be used by the firms lobbying for state and federal funding for Walton County.
At the top of the priority list is water and sewer to serve properties along the U.S. 331 corridor and surrounding unincorporated areas, in order to encourage economic development within this area. Total funding for this infrastructure has been estimated at $28.8 million, with phase I cost estimated at almost $2.9 million.
Next are drainage and stormwater improvements on county roads, including the entire length of CR-30A, at an estimated total cost of $90 million, with phase I cost estimated at $2 million.
Priority number three, also infrastructure related, is funding to assist with sewer expansion along the watershed of the Choctawhatchee Bay, including the area of the coastal dune lakes, with the aim of reducing the potential for contamination of groundwater and surface water resources, at an estimated total cost of $7.9 million and $2 million for phase I.
Rounding out the priority list are the following items: additional rural health care clinics to increase access to primary health care services to underserved residents; roadways improvements adjacent to the bay and dune lakes to prevent continuous erosion; and broadband accessibility throughout the county’s rural areas and southeastern Walton County, with the goal of expanding broadband coverage countywide; creation of an education and environmental center; and continuation of the ongoing autonomous vehicles project under the leadership of the Seaside Institute.
Strategic goals and objectives and workshop
On the agenda for the upcoming strategic goals and objectives workshop will be discussion and possible direction for an update of the goals and objectives under which the county has operated for the past several years. These include:
“Improve the economy of Walton County through the development of a comprehensive economic development strategy, growth of existing businesses, diversification of the local economy and development of a master plan for the 331 corridor.”
“Move to complete the required infrastructure, execution of a marketing plan and completion of a target market analysis for the Mossy Head Industrial Park.”
“Improve the quality of life in Walton County by completing an analysis of options for broader health care access countywide and improving countywide water quality by developing and instituting a comprehensive water resource action plan.”
“Preserve and enhance the physical environment of Walton County.”
“Continue building confidence in Walton County government through sound financial management including the development of cost/benefit options for road maintenance and clarifying and enhancing the policies of the county, including review of current policies to ensure they are enforceable.”
The strategic goals and objectives workshop is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 14 at the South Walton Annex. It is open to public participation and input.