Destin Standing at the Crossroads June 28, 1973

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Destin Standing at the Crossroads June 28, 1973 - .Page6A-PLAYGKOUND DAILY NEWS, Thursday...
.Page6A-PLAYGKOUND DAILY NEWS, Thursday Morning. June 28.1973 i iotr . ,.)n'J*ly IJi th* third/Tuesday .in the M«nth, the. registered i-otrrs.of Desttn'wll) go lo the |»Hs lo: vo« on whether to accept incorporlatlon as a .|MtniklpalUy wilh an eleclrd ..mayor and five councilinen. This feature is designed lo present a history of Ihe Otsliu ·area working up lo Ihe beginnings of the incorporation movement and on to the presrnl crossroads decision. II is hoped · that some of the questions and answers on the pros and cons of incorporation wil) enable Ihe voters to see both sides of the issue and vot* on Ihe rclalive merits. BYA1.TURNKH Deslin was founded about 1845 when Leonard Deslin, a native of Ne London, Conn., built a h o n n i ; the area. He was one of Ihr- fii a t lo realize the full potential of Ihe area as a fisherman's paradise and proceeded lo develop a full- blown f i s h i n g industry. Descendcnts still operate fishing boats f r o m Deslin, although their main occupation is now sport rather than commercial fishing. When a post o f f i c e was started in Destin in 190-1, Caplain Billy Marler, who had worked for Leonard Destin years before, was asked by the federal government w h a t (he post office should be called. Up until lhal time Ihe tag "East Pass" had seemed sufficient. Thai day, however. Marlcr Destin---Standing At The Crossroads made history when he suggested to Ihe federal official thai Hie name of the now posl office should he "Dcstin", a name thai has stuck ever since. Unlil 1935, when Ihe bridge was completed between Deslin and Ihe eastern end of Santa Kosa Island, the community was isolated on a peninsula called Mrocno Point and depended on waterways for contact wilh the outside world. These waterways were made profitable during prohibition when boats were used to smuggle whiskey. The arrival of ships loaded with liquor was carefully limed to coincide with Ihe arrival of the commercial fishing boats, which received the cases of whiskey. The liquor was then brought to a certain designated dock on one of the haynus. Fishermen could receive more money for one shipment than their nets could haul in for a whole month!! The present Easl Pass channel was begun in 1928 and was enlarged by floods in 1929. The original channel shoaled and closed in 1937, thus creating t h e present day Old Pass Lagoon, which provides shelter for most nl Ihe charier fishing boats in the area. While Deslin is now a modern village, still unincorporated, it retains the New England atmosphere of the b i r t h p l a c e of its f o u n d e r , Leonard Deslin. In line with Ihe fact that Destin is an unincorporated i '-iN. (JUSTIN'S CAST--The Primrose, now being renovated by the Destin Women's (Tub is some 50 years ',«*. nld anil represents the oldest fishing treat in Destin. lown, property owners pay only cimtiudcd by'/,. Jerry Najarian of c o u n t y and s t a l e taxes. Organizations in the community Dial are responsible for promotion a n d c o m m u n i t y awareness include the Deslin Chamber of Commerce and Ihe Deslin Community Center. The Destin I n c o r p o r a t i o n Committee is a committee, of Ihe Community Center and organized in March of this year believing t h a i t h e unin- corporlated Destin area had a need to become a complete service community. Since the main economic base of Destin is t o u r i s m , a study r e c e n t l y of the Deslin Chamber Commerce staled in part.. ."in determining the resources of Ihe Destin Chamber of Commerce stated in parl.. ."in determining the resources of the Destin Area and the adjacent South Walton County area, it is improlant to consider the growth of the area in terms nf its recreational facilities." He goes on. . . ."Evidence indicates thai expenditures for r e c r e a t i o n a l purposes have been steadily increasing and have reached proportions that can no longer be dismissed as Advantages Versus Disadvantages ADVANTAGES: The advantages lie in the fact that several economic publications, notably a Destin Economic Study recently compiled by Z. "Jerry" Najarian, recommends centralized planning in order lo cope with the tremendous growth of population, need for services such as water, sewer, clcclricily, and telephone and the promotion orderly growth o( building patterns. This study has been complimented on its thoroughness by people representing concerns that are presently planning to locate to Destin. a. Zoning-Incorporation would mean local control of zoning instead of at the county or state level. This means that the people of Destin would have some voice in Ihe zoning of the town rather than in a higher governmental unit where individual voi es of have less of an effect. b. Police-Incorporation could lead to the establishment of a municipal police department. While Ihe Okaloosa County Sheriff's Deparlmenl has done a good job providing law to Deslin, the presence of a local law enforcemcnl unil might improve reaction times lo criminal activity, and present a visibility in the community that can be an effeclive delcrrcnl lo crime. c. Fire Department-Under incorporation, the present fire control district would come inlo the city. Eventually, a permanent municipal type fire department may become a reality. While the contribution of tile volunteer fire services is valuable, a permanent fire department staffed with full time employees is oflern better trained, more professional and will generally be belter able lo cope wilh fire prelection problems that exist in a community of high rise condominiums and molds, as well as residences. d. Local Government-Incorporalion means lhal government would finally come lo Deslin. While Destinites do have a voice in voting for county commissioners lo represent Ihem, the relatively smaller population of Destin compared to Niceville or Valparaiso means that no voice at the county commissioner level can truly represent Ihem. Incorporation into a city would mean the establishment of government at the local level in an atmosphere where any citizen can have nis say. e. Sewage and waler-Incorporation could provide sufficient resources lo borrow whenever expansion of the sewer and water sytem in required. Recently, FHA turned down a loan request by the Deslin Water Users Association, because of Ihe limited resources of the association. Incorporation may have resulted in the loan being approved. Proponents of incorporation, water and sewer facilities and their expansion are a must in todays age of worry about Ihe environment and pollution. DISADVANTAGES:^ try to balance the pros and cons concerning incorporation, taxes can be listed under disadvantages. In order to become a municipality, a minimum of 3 mils has lo be levied. Thecity council if elected has the power to raise laxes higher than this if necessary in the future. In plain language, the 3 mill increase in taxes means an increase of $2.50 a monlh on a home assessed at $15,000 with a $5,000 homestead Exemption. Also on the disadvantage side is the amount of time that it will take for the city to form an effective municipal government. The people of Destin cannot expect needed services to spring up overnight. II takes planning and above all, financing. TAXES ARE ALSO AN ADVANTAGE-Incorporalion means that the city of Deslin would be eligible for federal revenue sharing funds. It would also be eligible to receive taxes from alcohol and tobacco excise laxes as well as other stale and general revenues. The problem here lies in the fact that cerlain federal guidelines must he me! in order lo qualify for federal revenue sharing funds. One example comes from 1971 economic date which shows lhal the town of Panama City Beach wilh a population of around 3,000 and basically Ihesameindustryas Destin, thatis, tourism, received almost $80,000 in cigarette taxes alone, while receiving a total of some $250,000 in state and general funds. In general a considerable portion of town's funding comes from such oul- sidc sources such as been listed here. I'hiilo by Al Turner inconsequential." Because of Ihe tremendous growth Ihat Destin has enjoyed in tourist facilities, motels, condominiums and the like, the incorporation committee feels lhal an unincorporaled area could not minister lo the needs of m a i n l a i n i n g an orderly growth of services lo Ihe c o m m u n i t y while the community was expanding by leaps and bounds. In response lo the challenge, the Destin Incorporation C o m m i t t e e headed by Bill Jones, presently past president of the Deslin . C h a m b e r of Commerce was established with members taken from Ihe executive hoard of (he Deslin Communily Center. According to Jones, this association is an open membership community organizalion and every one in the community is invited to participate in its activity. The community center found itself t a l k i n g a b o u t in- croporatirig and had decided to do something about it, but the project was put off for a year and a half, until Ihe opportunity presented itself early this year. Okaloosa Counly Represent a t i v e Jerry Melvin reportedly suggested to the Community Center (hat they try (o put together an incorporation hill and (hat he would submil it lo the legislature. In a marathon seven evening session. Ihe incorportation bill was hammered together from literally hundreds 'of diverse suggestions and recommendations. Participants in this group included besides Bill Jones, Gill .Ming, Laura "Josie" W r i g h t , Z. "Jerry" N a j a r i a n . O.C. Douglas, Warren Shuck, Gloria Griffith, Hoyce Grey, Connie MacPike, future is io be decided. In the final analysis, only the voters of Deslin, can make the decision. I'lmlo by Al Turner. Economic Index Climbs WASHINGTON (UPI) -The governments index of leading economic indicators resumed its upward climb in May month drop, followed by a renewed surge, has little meaning as far as the predictive powers of Ihe index are concerned. Did you ever pick up a "Bargain"? And then brag about it? DKSTIN'S 1'LTUIIK--This condominium development, Shoreline Towers, rises against Ihe of the Playground area at Destin iind provides a marker for Dcstin charterboal men lo Ruddy and Xack Urunson. Charles Hughes was also included HI Ihe group but was unable to assist due to illness The resulting bill was sent to the legislature and was passed reccnlly. A copy of Ihe bill is poskd al the Destin Posl Office and Chamber of Commerce, in (he event any interested citizen desires to look the document over. Basically, the July 17 election is two fold; the voter will vote for or against incorporation, and also for six candidates. The top vole getter will become mayor and the next five will serve as councilmen. The-list of candidates include: Z. "Jerry" Majarian, Laura B. "Jnsie" Wright, Raymond H. Marshal, O.C. Douglas, K.P. Pcarce, Paul Burnett, William T. Ming Jr.. Warren Shuck, T.S. "Ted" Shaw, W.D. "Bill" Bacon, Vincent D. Longo, J.W. "Jim" Braden, H.F. "Chubby" Destin, Maltie Kelley, Martin Townsley, Bernarr L. Kelly, Leon Caver Jr., Gloria Griff i l l i , Hnyce Grey, Connie MacPike, Bill Jones, James "Buddy" Brunson and William F. Davis. Electors may write in the name of any resident for election lo the offices of mayor or city council. Any bill of this magnitude n a t u r a l l y contains some elements thai may raise questions in the minds of the voter who has to decide on whether to accept it or not. The following list and discussion thereof is by no means complete, but il should contain the answers to some ([iiestions Iliiil may be raised. As Ihe head . this feature implies, Deslin is indeed at the crossroads. July 17 is an important day in that a city's And then be sorry. Didn't want to admit it! It's happened to all of us. Cheap Air Conditioning is no bargain. Don t let it hap pen when you air condition your home. install SERVEL Gas Air Conditioning

Clipped from
  1. Playground Daily News,
  2. 28 Jun 1973, Thu,
  3. Page 6

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