The Okaloosa RESTORE Act Committee (ORAC) held its first meeting on Thursday, July 18, at the Okaloosa County Water & Sewer Building. During the meeting, Destin Mayor Sam Seevers was elected chair of the committee. Dr. Jack Azzaretto was elected vice chair.
“I have extreme confidence in the ability of this committee to judiciously recommend projects for RESTORE Act funding,” said Seevers. “I am honored to chair the committee and look forward to working for the citizens of Okaloosa County.”
Approximately 30 people attended the meeting and were provided time to comment at the conclusion.
Highlights from the meeting include:
• Introduction of consultant firms (Matrix, AVCON, and Haas Center).
• Discussion of Sunshine, public records, and ethics laws as they apply to the committee.
• RESTORE Act briefing by Commissioner Dave Parisot.
• Presentation and discussion of the development of a multi-year plan by Matrix Group (Sal Nodjomian).
“I respect and appreciate every one of you for taking on this monumental task for Okaloosa County. I think we have a very good group,” said Commissioner Parisot, following his briefing. He also mentioned the key opportunity for “getting it right,” as did citizens, for the benefit of Okaloosa County.
The 11-member Committee will help decide how RESTORE Act funds will be spent in Okaloosa County. Members include: (Dr. Goetsch has resigned and currently has not been replaced.)
• Councilman Thomas Gordon - Okaloosa League of Cities - North County (Crestview)
• Mayor Sam Seevers - Okaloosa League of Cities - South County (Destin)
• Gary Jarvis - Charter Boat Association and Fisherman's Cooperative
• Dr. Jack Azzaretto - Greater Ft. Walton Beach Area Chamber of Commerce
• Board Member Cindy Frakes - Okaloosa County School Board
• Kay Rasmussen - Okaloosa County Economic Development Council
• Martin Owen - Tourism Industry
• Steve Shippee - Environmental Member
• Jonathan Tallman - Citizen at Large
• James Breitenfeld, Citizen at Large
The composition of the Okaloosa RESTORE Act Committee includes: One member recommended by the Niceville and Fort Walton Beach Chambers of Commerce, 1 member recommended by the League of Cities from Crestview and Destin, 1 member from Okaloosa County School Board, 1 member from the Charter Boat Association, one member from the Economic Development Council, 1 each from the aforementioned tourism industry and environmental community, and 2 at large citizens, bringing the total membership to 11.