Officials make closure/rescheduling decisions as Hurricane Michael approaches

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS met on Oct. 8 for an emergency meeting. A number of decisions were made in preparation for Hurricane Michael’s impending arrival in the Panhandle.

By DOTTY NIST

With Hurricane Michael predicted to arrive somewhere along the Panhandle coast on Oct. 10, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) held an Oct. 8 emergency meeting at the Walton County Emergency Operations Center in DeFuniak Springs.

The first action item was declaring a local state of emergency, which was approved by unanimous vote.

It was announced that the Walton County School District had indicated that there would be no school on Oct. 9 and Oct. 10 and that there would be a decision at 3 p.m. on Tuesday whether school would be open on Oct. 11.

The commissioners directed that county government buildings would close down at noon on Oct. 9 and would remain closed on Oct. 10, with a decision to come later on whether the buildings would still be closed on Oct. 11, depending on the amount of damage resulting from the hurricane. This includes the offices of the Walton County Tax Collector, Property Appraiser, Clerk of Courts and Health Department.

The Walton County Fair was reported to be still on for Oct. 8, with a decision on Oct. 9 and 10 to be made later in the day.

There were no evacuations in place at the time of the emergency meeting. Jeff Goldberg, county emergency management director, commented that Walton County Emergency Management would make a decision on the morning of Oct. 9 about evacuations.

Regarding the regular BCC meeting previously scheduled for 4 p.m. Oct. 9 at the South Walton Annex, the commissioners voted to make the following changes: cancel the meeting as scheduled and hold a 9 a.m. Oct. 9 meeting at the Walton County Courthouse. This is just to approve authorization of expense payments in order to ensure that bills would be paid as necessary. The remainder of the meeting agenda items were rescheduled for a 4 p.m. Oct. 15 meeting at the South Walton Annex.