On Monday night, the Okaloosa County School Board approved the 9 recommended community members to serve on the Citizen’s Oversight Committee as it relates to the Half-Cent Sales Surtax that was approved by the voters of Okaloosa County on November 3, 2020.
Here are the appointees:
- Michelle Anchors – Founding Partner, Anchors/Gordon Law Firm
- Monica Autry – Operations Manager, Destin Water Users, Inc.
- Jason Belcher – Executive Vice President, FNBT Bank
- Mike Carroll – Owner, Hub City Smokehouse and BBQ Grill
- Jacob Foreman – Sales Associate, Caldwell Banker Realty
- Bernard Johnson – Central District Regional Manager, Gulf Power Company
- Vince Mayfield – CEO and co-founder of Bit-Wizards Information Technology Solutions, Inc.
- James Puckett – Retired, (Okaloosa County Facility and Parks Maintenance Manager)
- Marcus Wilson – Lt. Colonel, United States Air Force
“As you know, part of the promise that we made throughout the process was that we would have a citizens oversight group,” said Okaloosa Superintendent of Schools Marcus Chambers. “And we thought that that was an integral part of transparency in terms of what we were trying to accomplish. Each of these members are from throughout Okaloosa County, from Baker to Crestview, Niceville, Fort Walton, Destin and also comprised of different backgrounds and experiences and expertise.”
The Oversight Committee will be existence for the life of the half-cent sales tax, which will be for 10 years, and each of the appointees will serve for at least a 1-year term. All of the oversight committee’s meetings, record and reports will be open to the public.
“The work of the committee will be subject to the Sunshine Law and the public records law,” said Jeff McInnis, School Board Attorney. “And so what that means is that we will be publicly advertising their meetings. Their meetings will be open to the public, so the public can attend their meetings. Minutes of those meetings will be kept and maintained. The public records law will mean that the records and documents that are presented to that committee and that are generated by that committee will be public records and the district will be maintaining those items.”
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According to Chambers, one of the functions that the Oversight Committee will do is review expenditures of the proceeds to make sure that what the school district does, along with what they spend the money on, is in accordance with the projects that they set forth at the beginning of the half-cent sales tax initiative.
“This committee will make quarterly reports to the school board, as well as to the public and making sure that we are very transparent in our process,” continued Chambers.
The committee will have their first meeting in February.