South Walton Mosquito Control District Board talks new administration building project, 60th anniversary event 

Story by ADRIANNE WALLINE CAMPBELL 

The South Walton Mosquito Control District held its regular meeting on March 21, 2024, at the South Walton Mosquito Control District board room. Steven Nicholson of DAG Architects and the Construction Manager, AJ Brown with Wharton-Smith, Inc Construction Group, along with his partners were present as well to discuss the upcoming project building the new administration building. The GMP (Guaranteed Maximum Price) came in at $8,010,419 – up considerably from the price given in 2022 of $5 million. They expect completion to be April 30, 2025. They collected quotes from numerous sub-contractors which are listed, and four items were considered to be allowances totaling $690,000: 

• Pedestrian guardrail/handrail and bridge repair

• Access control, security, IDS, AV

• Vehicle Gates and Fencing

• Sod/Seeding

Commissioner Doug Liles questioned them concerning de-watering, which was not covered in the proposal, however the engineer for the project was not present. A.J. Brown, Construction Manager, commented that de-watering wouldn’t be necessary given the shallow foundation of the project. Joe Deel, Operator with the SWMC, said the ditch work currently in place takes care of a lot of excess water. Construction and owner contingencies were included and if not used are to be returned to the SWMC. HVAC and furniture, fixtures, and equipment are not included in the proposal. 

The board approved the construction proposal by a vote of 2 – 1, with Commissioner Doug Liles dissenting. The SWMCD has been saving funds for some time and will be able to pay for this project in full without having to borrow money. They also have been preparing to build a satellite location in the Bunker/Steel Field area. Development is expected to increase after the new bridge is built across the Intracoastal. They may in the future need to discuss raising the ad valorem one point to pay for the added facility. 

Bernadette Canut, Public Outreach Coordinator, presented the flyer about the upcoming 60th Anniversary Celebration on April 13, 2024. They will have food trucks, drone demonstrations, and “Touch a Truck” with South Walton Fire Department. The Walton County Animal Shelter will have pets available to adopt, (heartworms are spread by mosquito bites) and some SWMC commissioners will be available to speak with the public. Also, a beekeeper will be on hand with honey and various products made from beeswax. The methods the SWMC uses to control mosquitoes do not affect the bees. They will also be passing out a second yellow fly kit; currently they give out one to each south Walton resident. The kits will be available after attendees proceed through each display, and receive a booklet stamped that they have heard the topic covered by each display. Walton County Commissioner (District 5) Tony Anderson is expected to be there as well as Florida State Rep. Shane Abbott, 

In the Operations report, it was reported that 35 acres were treated with the drone. The drone can reach areas that are difficult for human employees to access. It also has GPS and operates on a preset plan. 

Director Darrin Dunwald said the get-together he had with the County Code Enforcement Officers turned out well. It is important that they are aware of the issues that concern the mosquito control while they are looking at other problems. There were 15 – 20 officers present. He also said there are 400 – 500 pools currently in the pre-construction phase. It is particularly important that they monitor the condition of these pools. 

Finally, SWMCD reported that are no longer able to pick up old tires. The county lost the contract with the company that previously did it. Now homeowners themselves must take them to the landfill. 

Due to scheduling conflicts the next meeting will be held on April 25.