Public participation in government decision-making is a vital element of our democratic form of government. County Commissioners and school board members are elected, but there are a number of appointed citizen councils that are also important to Okaloosa county government. The appointed members ensure our Commissioners have qualified sources to turn to when critical decisions are required.
Our elected and appointed officials meet on a regular basis to discuss matters of importance to our community and make decisions that affect all of us. Thanks to Florida's Sunshine Law, these meetings are open to the public. Unfortunately, members of the public often take little notice of the business being conducted in their name by local government. Let your officials know that you do care about their actions by attending public meetings.
Anyone who wants to learn more about the way our local government is run can join the League of Women Voters of Okaloosa County and be a part of the newly activated Observer Corps. To learn more about the Corps contact us. The Observer Corps is an excellent way for new members to learn about local issues and share information with League members through newsletter articles and League meetings. Observers' reports are factual and non-judgmental, present various sides of an issue and are intended to help members be well-informed before making any decisions concerning possible League or individual action. Some of the meetings to be observed are listed below, and others may be added, based on member interest.
The Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month. The meeting's location rotates between the Crestview City Council Chambers (1st Tuesday) and the County Administration Building in Shalimar (3rd Tuesday). The time and subject of each meeting also varies, so check the calendar and agenda before you go. Residents who want to address the Commission should contact the County Manager's office at 651-7515 to schedule an agenda presentation. Commission meetings are also aired on WEAR-TV Channel 6 at 7:00 pm, Wednesday, and 10:00 am, Thursday, after each meeting. You can also watch the meeting videos anytime. The Commissioners also meet for an afternoon workshop session on the 4th Tuesday of each month.
On 3 Jan 2017 the commission unanimously approved the addition of a monthly workshop to its regular meeting calendar. The workshop idea was proposed by Commissioner Fountain as a less formal meeting, where final decisions are not made, to allow the Board to discuss issues with greater detail and thoroughness than afforded in regular meetings. Additionally, all regular meetings in 2017 will begin at 8:30 in the morning.
School Board Meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at the School District Administration Building, 120 Lowery Place SE, Fort Walton Beach. There is a workshop on the first and third Thursdays each month. Check the calendar before you go.
The Aviation Advisory Commission meets as needed to advise the local Planning Department and contractors of tall structures requesting approval of their impact on air carriers, general aviation and the Air force in this area. To find out when meetings are scheduled, contact the Okaloosa County Airport director at 850-651-7160.
The Board of Adjustment meets at 1:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month in the County Administration Building in Shalimar. The board decides whether or not to grant or refuse variances, special exceptions or administrative appeals following a public hearing. For information about specific issues and hearings, contact the Department of Growth Management at 850-651-7180.
The Bob Sikes Airport Improvement Committee meets as called by the chairman to provide community input into the development of the airport. To find out when meetings are scheduled, contact the Okaloosa County Airport director at 850-651-7160.
The Code Enforcement Board meets at 4:00 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the County Administration Building in Shalimar, to hear and decide alleged violations of all codes. For information contact the Department of Growth Management, Code Enforcement Division at 850-651-7180.
The Okaloosa County Commission on the Status of Women meets at 5:15 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month at the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, 34 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE in Fort Walton Beach (between Eglin and Beal Pkwys). Its purpose is to eliminate barriers to achievement for women through research, education and communication, and to recognize and honor women who have made significant contributions toward improving the status of women and other citizens of Okaloosa County. For information about meetings and events, visit the OCCSW website.
The Construction Board meets at 3:00 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month in the County Administration Building in Shalimar. The Board determines eligibility for and approves certificates of competency for qualified applicants in the general building and residential contracting trades, and hears complaints involving building code violations and contractor licensing. For information contact the Department of Growth Management at 850-651-7180.
The Destin Airport Advisory Commission meets monthly or as needed to advise the Destin City Council on matters concerning land use surrounding the airport, as well as operations on the airport itself; and to act as an advisory body to and liaison with the City of Destin and Okaloosa County in matters concerning use of the airport by citizens of and visitors to Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa County. For information about scheduled meetings, contact the Okaloosa county Airport Director at 850-651-7160.
The Fire Code Advisory Board meets as needed to adopt life safety and fire protection codes, and to prescribe regulations governing conditions hazardous to life and property from fire, explosion or natural disaster within the boundaries of Okaloosa County. For more information about scheduled meetings, contact the Department of Growth Management at 850-651-7180.
The Okaloosa County Planning Commission meets at 5:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month in the County Administration Building in Shalimar. This commission hears, decides, recommends and approves or disapproves rezonings, subdivisions and planned unit developments. For information about scheduled meetings, contact the Department of Growth Management at 850-651-7180.
The Public Safety Coordinating Council meets every 60 days as set by the Council to assess the population status of all detention or corrections facilities owned or contracted by the county, and to develop a 5-year safety plan for future construction needs and a comprehensive county public safety plan. For information about Council meetings, contact the Department of Corrections at 850-689-5690.
The Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council meets at 1:00 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Okaloosa County Visitors Welcome Center on Okaloosa Island (1540 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE). The TDC levies a tourist development tax and spearheads a unified marketing and servicing program to enhance economic growth in south Okaloosa County through tourism. For information about scheduled meetings, contact the TDC Executive office at 850-651-7131 or visit the TDC website.