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Improving Okaloosa's storm water removal systems with "a local optional sales tax"


This neighborhood in Ft. Walton Beach is one of many that was extensively damaged by flood waters from those heavy rainstorms back in April. Now the Okaloosa County Commission is looking for ways to improve the county's storm water removal systems, and one of their main ideas has been floating around for a few weeks now.

County commissioner Dave Parisot said that idea is  "a local option sales tax. And you can implement it at a one percent, one cent, a half cent. And cent would bring in about 32 million dollars a year."
   
That money would be used to replace and update the systems.

Parisot said "That can split between the nine cities and the county. The county gets about 22 million, and the rest would be divided between the nine cities."
   
At the county commission meeting Tuesday, the tax was once again a topic of converstaion. Some, like Dave Parisot, asked to vote on the referndum in November, while others pushed to wait for next year, to make sure the details are all ironed out."

Parisot told us  "You've got to have a list of projects. Can it be done between now and the end of August? I think it can. However, it'll be a challenge, absolutely."

Perisot says it would cost the county around $100,000 to put the vote off until next year, to pay to open additional polling stations during a municipal voting session. If the referndum went on this year's ballot, Perisot said, it wouldn't add additional costs. But, either way, the sales tax seems to have support from both commissioners and many county residents.

Lauren Barkley said "I would agree with it. It sounds, it sounds appropriate with all we went through, you know, with the state of emergency."

Gerald Taylor told us "We got to do whatever we got to do to take care of the community. So whatever is best for the community is what we need to do."

The commission will continue their discussion about the sales tax at their June 17th meeting. In Okaloosa County, Rob Brown, Channel Three News.