Crestview by the numbers: Mayor shares State of the City report

Brian Hughes | Special to the News Bulletin/USA TODAY NETWORK

CRESTVIEW — At the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce’s June monthly breakfast meeting, the spotlight was — literally — on Mayor JB Whitten as he delivered his State of the City address.

Crestview Mayor JB Whitten is in the city’s new spotlight as he delivers the State of the City address at the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce June breakfast.

“As we moved from ‘A Community Coming Together’ in the last half of 2020 and migrated to ‘Raising the Bar’ beginning in 2021, we demonstrated both sides of that coin,” the mayor said, referencing the city’s recent mottos.

Crestview employees of the year attending the chamber of commerce’s June breakfast were Kody Lusk (Public Services), Brad Weeks (Water Department), Officer Corey Newcomb (Police Department); Lt. Kevin Walters (Fire Department) and George Hillsman (Parks and Recreation).

During the address, Whitten shared some of the city’s accomplishments over the last year in numbers.

$2 million: State money attracted to Crestview for the Main Street Enhancement Program, renovating the Bush House into a Crestview museum, and erecting a fire training tower that will be shared with neighboring firefighting agencies.

300+: Children served through the Police Department’s Cops For Kids Christmas toy distribution.

4,000: Incidents to which the Crestview Fire Department responded.

32,000: Incidents to which the Police Department responded.

14 to 3: Reduction in number of sworn police positions the agency was short. And the final three are cadets currently in training at area police academies.

77 to 10: Reduction in graffiti incidents.

317: Acres annexed into the city under the annexation program.

$75,000: Amount saved by property owners who annexed into Crestview under the program.

$150,000: Increase in city tax rolls due to these annexations.

540: Code enforcement cases closed by new on-staff code enforcement magistrate.

60: New code enforcement cases.

10: Blighted properties demolished.

2,179: Business tax receipts, many attracted to Crestview by rewritten, business-friendly development ordinances.

96.52 percent: City employee retention, up from 85.65 percent.

15 to 3.5 percent: Turnover rate decrease.

52, 30 and 41: Recreation Department basketball, soccer and baseball teams.

75-90: Average weekend entries at the B&T R/C Racetrack radio-controlled vehicles park.

50, 1,000, 144.5 and 12: Tons of garbage, number of tires, volunteer hours, and targeted areas cleaned under the April Volunteer Month community spring cleaning.

5: Crestview city employees of the year recognized at the breakfast. They are George Hillsman, Recreation Department; Kyle Lusk, Public Services; Officer Corey Newcomb, Police Department; Lt. Kevin Walters, Fire Department; and Brad Weeks, Water Department.

Crestview city officials attending the June chamber of commerce breakfast were Community Development Services Director Barry Henderson; Parks and Recreation Director Chuck Powell; Fire Chief Tony Holland; City Manager Tim Bolduc; Mayor JB Whitten; Public Services Director Wayne Steele; Finance Director Gina Toussaint; Administrative Services Director Jessica Leavins; Police Chief Stephen McCosker; and City Clerk Betsy Roy.

Other successes

In addition, Whitten also outlined successful programs including:

•opening of the Eglin Federal Credit Union Skate Park and the B&T R/C Racetrack in the newly named Brookmeade Park.

•resodding the Bark Park dog park, and the disc golf course started attracting fans even before it was finished.

•The city-owned Foxwood Country Club is under contract and scheduled to reopen in the fall.

•seeking land for a community sports complex, the city’s next major project.

•Public Services and the Finance Department collaborated on a new automatic meter reading system for water customers.

•hosting the Okaloosa-Walton Veterans Stand-Down for the first time.

•creating a Citizens Advisory Council, which has led to a police stop education program and the special graphics packages for new police SUVs honoring Special Olympics, Crestview’s history, the Crestview High School Bulldogs and our military.

•ongoing support for the Crestview Area Shelter for the Homeless.

•Under the Mayor’s Cultural Series, Family Movie Nights have moved under the Spanish Trail Park amphitheatre after a COVID-induced drive-in format; and Crestview High School performing arts groups and Shoal River Mustang Band have brought their talents in concerts and theatre to the amphitheatre stage. Other programs include the World War II Victory 75th Anniversary two-day celebration, formation of a community chorus, producing an arts festival, Blessing of the City, and the upcoming 9/11 Remembrance.

Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce June breakfast attendees knew who the event’s sponsor was as they were greeted by this lawn sign in front of the Crestview Community Center.

As for that spotlight in which the city’s accomplishments — and the mayor — were illuminated, the LED digital follow-spot is a new Parks and Recreation Department acquisition for use during city events, primarily in Warriors Hall and the community center, and boasts an impressive array of colored beams, zooms and a dimmable beam.

“It made me look pretty bright,” Whitten quipped after the spotlight debuted at the chamber breakfast. “Sometimes I’m left in the dark.”