Okaloosa considers using parks money for storm water projects

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FILE PHOTO | Northwest Florida Daily News
Published: Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 16:08 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Okaloosa County is considering using a portion of its dedicated parks funding to pay for storm water improvements. Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the issue at 6 p.m. Aug. 20 in Fort Walton Beach.

Supporters say creating a storm water utility eventually would improve water quality across the county. Currently, residents living in unincorporated Okaloosa are part of a Municipal Services Taxing Unit that generates money to fund parks across the county. The county established the MSTU in 1984 after it settled a double-taxation lawsuit brought by three cities.

The MSTU generates about $1.1 million a year for parks. Under the proposal, the county annually would divert $400,000 to $450,000 from the fund to support a new storm water utility.

That money, added to the $500,000 provided from the general fund each year, would cover a basic level of annual storm water expenses, according to John Hofstad, the county’s director of public works.



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