Okaloosa panel to review how to eliminate rental costs

Published: Friday, November 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM.

Amunds said the first target for renovation could well be the old Fort Walton Beach Hospital building the county owns on Hospital Drive. The old Garnier’s wastewater treatment plant on Essex Road in Ocean City also will also be reviewed.

Amunds said he hopes the sheriff’s office Investigative Division will go along with a plan to move to the old hospital or another county-owned location so the $125,000 to $130,000 rent for its offices in Shalimar can be eliminated.

The biggest rental cost the county pays is about $400,000 to lease the tax collector and property appraiser offices at Uptown Station in Fort Walton Beach.

Those leases run out in November 2014. Amunds said the two offices definitely will be relocated.

One problem the task force faces is that the county still is technically entangled in litigation over the Shalimar annex property.

The annex was almost completely vacated following construction of the new courthouse annex extension at the C.H. “Bull” Rigdon Fairgrounds and Recreation Complex on Lewis Turner Boulevard.

The Meigs family trust, which deeded the Shalimar annex land to the county decades ago, sued. The Meigs trust claimed that by moving, the county triggered a reverter clause that states if court functions were abandoned in Shalimar, the property would be returned to the family.

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