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Destin proposes ‘Joint Resolution’ between Okaloosa Municipalities over bed-tax expansion

On Monday night, the Destin City Council voted to move forward with a ‘Joint Resolution’ between Okaloosa County Municipalities to address concerns over the expansion of the Tourist Taxing District.

On July 12, 2021, Fort Walton Beach City Manager Michael Beedie distributed the Joint Resolution to all city managers of municipalities located within Okaloosa County, according to Destin city documents.

This Joint Resolution requests the Board of County Commissioners to:

  • Implement the Local Collection Method so that it has the means to determine how much of this tax is being collected in various portions of the County.
  • Postpone the mail-in only referendum election currently scheduled for October 5, 2021 for at least 60 days, allowing the county staff and attorneys to work with the municipalities’ staffs and attorneys on the matter.

Current Collection Method: Tourist Development Tax (TDT) dollars are currently reported and remitted to the Florida Department of Revenue, which then distributes the funds to the County. This is the Department of Revenue Collection Method.

According to the City of Destin, the County has the authority to require that the TDT dollars be reported and remitted directly to the County. This is the Local Collection Method.

  • The City of Destin argues that the majority of Florida counties that levy and impose the TDT use the Local Collection Method instead of the DOR Collection Method.
  • Destin also states that counties utilizing the Local Collection Method “gain valuable insight and knowledge relating to where the TDT dollars are collected” and that it cannot be done through the current collection method.

This all goes back to Destin’s original concern of “fair and equitable” distribution of money if the Bed-Taxing District was expanded countywide. Destin stakeholders feel that the Local Collection Method is the only way to truly know where and how money was spent in Okaloosa County.

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