COLUMNS

Separating Destin fact from Destin fiction

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

In last week’s column, I made a New Year’s resolution to continue my fact-finding missions to Destin City Hall and beyond and to share those facts with you. This column is in keeping with that resolution.

There are two controversial issues now dividing our beloved Destin:

First, there is the current mayor’s attempt to have Destin taxpayers and utility users pay $71 million to buy out the Gulf Power utility in Destin. That ill-conceived idea is also shared by a few city council members. However, it is opposed by more than 85 percent of Destin taxpayers and power users. Here are some of the pertinent facts along with the sources:

The Northwest Florida Daily News, a sister publication to The Destin Log, reported on a city council workshop held on Oct. 9, 2017. The report is titled “Destin residents oppose purchase of utility.” It went on to say: “Almost every member of the public who spoke at the City Council’s workshop on Monday expressed opposition to, or at least questioned, the city potentially buying the Gulf Power electric utility in Destin.”

Independent polls report that 88 percent of Destin is against it. That number mirrors the feedback that I have received from The Log's readers since first mentioning the attempted buyout in one of my columns back in October.

That same disapproval is echoed in public records at Destin City Hall. The two most vocal proponents of the proposed buyout are Destin Mayor Scott Fischer and Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell. A public records search of their email shows that the mayor received emails approving his proposal and 14 disapproving. The councilwoman got the same three emails approving her position and 19 disapproving. Combined, they show that about 85 percent of respondents are not happy with what they are trying to do.

The other controversy is about the current mayor and some council members trying to enact new rules restricting rental rights for single-family homeowners. They have appointed a committee to recommend enacting new rules in lieu of enforcing existing rules. There are many rules already on the books that will work much better if given the chance, something that has never been tried before. These weekly committee meetings are ongoing, and I am attending them to gather the facts and report back to you as the facts become available.

With so much confusion going on now, it is more important then ever to separate fact from fiction. It takes more effort, but that’s what I do. Look for more factual info on both subjects in future Destin Log columns. It continues next week.

And thank you again for your many comments to The Destin Log editor and to me. Please keep them coming.

Jack Simpson has owned and managed rental properties in Destin since 1974 and has lived in the city since 1983. His column is designed to start conversations in the community. To respond to Jack’s column in The Log, email your letter to the editor or guest column to dricketts@thedestinlog.com. To contact Jack directly, email jacksimpson@cox.net.