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Fort Walton Beach Council passes Fire Assessment Fee + more news

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Fort Walton Beach Council passes Fire Assessment Fee + more news
By Get The Coast • Issue #86 • View online
Good morning!
👏Thanks for subscribing to the Daily Rundown. Tell friends to follow along by forwarding them this email or by signing up here.
➡️Last night, FWB City Council passed the Fire Fee: More on that below.
🇺🇸September 11, 2001: I was sitting in my English class at Fort Walton Beach High School and my teacher turned on the TV. We watched with the rest of the world.

Citizens don't know what's happening 🤷‍♂️
Last night, the City of Fort Walton Beach Council passed the Fire Assessment Fee with a 6-1 vote. This morning I rewatched the video of the entire meeting. You can watch it here!
“the fee will take effect Oct. 1, the start of fiscal 2020, and will last for one year before needing council approval to remain in effect. It will be included on property owners’ monthly utility bills.”
Screenshot via Payne Walker
Screenshot via Payne Walker
As I listened to so many business owners and citizens at the meeting speak to the council, the same issue was continuously raised (aside from the fact that they didn’t want the increase): No one knows about the fee.
It was even mentioned thatonly the people who pay attention know what’s going on.
Over the last few days I’ve received multiple calls from people asking where they could find more information about the fee and if Get The Coast was covering it. In full transparency, Get The Coast did sit down with Fire Chief Perkins on July 18th where both he and City Manager Michael Beedie talked about the Fire Fee. You can watch that here.
But what I didn’t have was more discussion from the other side. Not for the sake of argument, but for a different perspective. What would it mean for certain residents who may see this as a hardship or the very large commercial business owners who would see a size-able increase in fees? (At last night’s meeting, a gentleman was there representing the 10 hotels along Highway 98).
As a media outlet, that’s a growing pain that I’m committing to getting past.
It was also mentioned at last night’s council meeting that the same business owners and residents continually show up to these meetings and speak up on behalf of the rest of the City. That is very true. Council meetings can be very long and very boring and aren’t on everyone’s list of things they want to do on a Tuesday night.
So what you have is a relative empty chamber with the same people.
What to do about it: Get The Coast will continue to make efforts to keep you as informed as we can on matters like these. Whether that’s through this newsletter or our videos. We publish a lot of light-hearted entertainment/fun articles like upcoming events, new shops, new restaurants, etc. But that’s not all that’s happening within our cities of Okaloosa County.
Over to you: I’ve been rambling about Fort Walton Beach but this applies to any city within Okaloosa County. Do you feel like you are informed on what’s happening? Or is it not that big of a priority?
I want to hear! Email me back!
How 'bout some other headlines?
The Fort Walton Beach Fire Department will host a September 11th Remembrance Ceremony at Fire Station 6 (5 Hollywood Blvd.) at 9 a.m. this morning. The ceremony will recognize the thousands of innocent lives lost that day, acts of heroism, and the hundreds of first responders who gave their lives in the service of others.
The public is invited to attend this event. 
The fire department will unveil its new ceremonial fire bell during the ceremony. The bell was a donation to the department and saw many years of active service mounted on a fire truck in Detroit. The bell has been professionally refurbished by a local company, complete with a stand and backing plate. 
In addition, retired Senior Fire Chief Lou Gusoff, Detroit Fire Department, will speak at the ceremony. Chief Gusoff was assigned to the Detroit fire truck that once held the bell.
Mel Ponder joins the race for Okaloosa Commissioner's seat and becomes the third candidate for District 5
City of Fort Walton Beach hopes to come to agreement on recycling
Allen Strum
The next weather maker could be some storms over the Atlantic near the southeastern Bahamas. This area is headed to the Gulf where it has a 40% formation chance. The system will arrive over the weekend. We will be updating regularly live on @weartv. https://t.co/FjibUBpQ28
6:57 PM - 10 Sep 2019
Ok, that’s all I have for you this morning! Hope you have a great Wednesday and may we never forgot those we lost 18 years ago.
See ya tomorrow!
Jared
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