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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Jul 18

Public/Private Partnerships Driving the 'New View'

Posted to AROUND ABOUT TOWN by Brian Hughes

When the city was presented the opportunity to observe the 75thanniversary of the World War II D-Day invasion, Mayor JB Whitten jumped on it. But there was just one matter to overcome:

There was no city budget for a celebration as grand as planners envisioned, and the Crestview Sister City Program, which had proposed the event, had just granted four student travel fellowships to France and thus had no money for it, either.

No problem. Organizers turned to an amazingly dependable — and generous — source of funding: Crestview businesses and individuals whose sponsorship and support for community events, school programs and cultural functions often astounds local organizers.

Through generous local supporters, the only public observance of the D-Day landings in the entire Northwest Florida region — complete with World War II vehicles, museum artifacts, cultural displays, food, period music and the regional premiere of an acclaimed documentary — was an unqualified success, drawing a standing-room-only crowd to Warriors Hall the night of June 6.

“We all have our lists of favorite go-to supporters,” D-Day co-planner Mary Richard, of MGMR Strategic Solutions and a Sister City Program volunteer, said. “This city’s business community is the most generous I have ever encountered.” 

“There’s always the standard about giving back to the community, but it’s bigger than that,” Hub City Smokehouse and Grill owner Mike Carroll said. “It’s about being integral to the betterment of the community. A lot of businesses give back. We look at it as helping the city grow.”

Mr. Carroll’s Main Street restaurant has sponsored or co-sponsored a multitude of public programs and events, from the Police Department’s Open House to the D-Day observance and the first Family Movie Night.

“Our movie nights were not something we had a budget for,” Parks and Recreation Programs manager Alisa Burleson said. “But they enhance the quality of life in our city. If we didn’t have sponsors like Hub City Smokehouse, All In Credit Union, Adiva’s Day Spa and Flex Fitness, we just couldn’t do it.”

In addition, food vendors including Hub City, Body Be Healthy and Tom’s Main Street Ice Cream participating in city events — including Crestview’s Independence Day celebration, movie nights and the D-Day observance — add value to these programs, Ms. Burleson said.

Mayor Whitten’s vision for a “New View for Crestview” includes the ambitious Mayor’s Cultural Series, which has sponsored events including the D-Day observance, monthly family movie nights and the formation of the Crestview Community Chorus.

Community volunteers also contribute toward the success of some of these programs. Two Crestview Boy Scout troops, for example, joined Sister City Program volunteers in setting up for the D-Day event, and retired music teacher Cecile Lindegren is volunteering her time to establish and lead the Community Chorus,

Businesses and individuals eager to team up with the city often partner with city departments and staff, sometimes providing in-kind services.

Tom Gordon, a former Crestview City Council member and owner of Gordon Martial Arts and Gordon Air Conditioning, says supporting city programs is part of being a responsible business citizen. 

“It’s refreshing to see all the efforts Mayor Whitten is putting into extra events for our community,” Mr. Gordon said. “We’re always glad to participate in his ‘New View’ for this great city, whether it’s providing things like free defense classes or sponsoring an event.”

Just as Mayor Whitten’s “New View” initiatives provide Crestview’s residents with family-friendly events and activities, they’ve inspired local businesses to further their involvement with their community.

I’m real pleased with the new direction the city’s going in,” Mr. Carroll said. “As a business owner and citizen of the city, I’m real excited about the ‘New View for Crestview,’ and I’m glad to do everything we can to support that.”



Businesses and individuals interested in supporting Crestview cultural and recreational programs may contact the Parks and Recreation Programs office at 850.682.0789, or Mayor JB Whitten’s office at 850.682.1560 x252.
Oct 22

Sunshine Law

Posted to City Clerk by Elizabeth Roy

The Facts about Sunshine Law Violation

Recently, The Crestview News Bulletin published an article about possible “Sunshine Law Violation” regarding a Workshop on October 15th about Itinerant Vendors.  Here are the Facts:

The Sunshine law requires “reasonable notice” regarding any public meetings or workshops to be held by a local governmental entity.

     From the Sunshine Law Manual:

   The sunshine law does not define the term “reasonable notice.”  Therefore, the type of notice is variable and depends upon the facts of the situation and the board involved.  in each case, an agency must give notice at such time and in such a manner as to enable the media and the public to attend the meeting

The subject of the October 15 Workshop was discussed as an agenda item at the September 24 City council workshop.  At that time, the date/Time of October 15 at 5:00 pm was discussed and agreed upon by the members of the City Council present. 

The Agenda for the Meeting was posted online and in City Hall on Thursday, October 11.  As a reminder, City hall was closed for Hurricane Michael at noon on October 9 and remained closed on October 10.  Those citizens who have opted for text notifications should have received this text on October 11.

The Sunshine law also does not require that an agenda be published, although it is recommended, and we strive to get that information out as quickly as it is available.

From the Sunshine Manual:

The sunshine law does not mandate that an agency provide notice of each item to be discussed via a published agenda although the attorney general’s office has recommended the publication of an agenda, if available.  The courts have rejected such a requirement because it could effectively preclude access to meetings by members of the public who wish to bring specific issues before a governmental body

In the recent article, there was a “quote” regarding the publication of agendas and supporting documents 7 days in advance.  This comes from the Florida Administrative Procedure Act, and does not apply to Municipalities, or agencies appointed by a municipality.

Florida Statute 120, which establishes the Administrative Procedure Act. In section

120.52 establishes the definition of an agency.

120.52 Definitions. —As used in this act:

(1) “Agency” means the following officers or governmental entities if acting pursuant to powers other than those derived from the constitution:

(a) The Governor; each state officer and state department, and each departmental unit described in s. 20.04; the Board of Governors of the State University System; the Commission on Ethics; the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; a regional water supply authority; a regional planning agency; a multicounty special district, but only if a majority of its governing board is comprised of nonelected persons; educational units; and each entity described in chapters 163, 373, 380, and 582 and s. 186.504.

(b) Each officer and governmental entity in the state having statewide jurisdiction or jurisdiction in more than one county.

(c) Each officer and governmental entity in the state having jurisdiction in one county or less than one county, to the extent they are expressly made subject to this chapter by general or special law or existing judicial decisions.

This definition does not include a municipality or legal entity created solely by a municipality; a legal entity or agency created in whole or in part pursuant to part II of chapter 361; a metropolitan planning organization created pursuant to s. 339.175; a separate legal or administrative entity created pursuant to s. 339.175 of which a metropolitan planning organization is a member; an expressway authority pursuant to chapter 348 or any transportation authority or commission under chapter 343 or chapter 349; or a legal or administrative entity created by an interlocal agreement pursuant to s. 163.01(7), unless any party to such agreement is otherwise an agency as defined in this subsection.”

The term agency applies to the definition above.   The exact excerpt from the Administrative Procedure Act is as follows:

120.525 Meetings, hearings, and workshops.

(1) Except in the case of emergency meetings, each agency shall give notice of public meetings, hearings, and workshops by publication in the Florida Administrative Register and on the agency’s website not less than 7 days before the event. The notice shall include a statement of the general subject matter to be considered.”

The workshop that was held on October 15 was solely intended for the City Council to hear the facts and to determine what if any changes needed to be made to the “proposed ordinance” and if in fact they wanted to proceed with an ordinance.  The agenda clearly stated that the subject of itinerant vendors would be the topic, and the documentation itself was over 110 pages long.  If and when the ordinance is complete, it will be presented in the prescribed fashion in a regular or special meeting and the final reading and public hearing will be advertised a minimum of 10 days prior, as required by Statute. 

The only sunshine requirement for the documentation was that it be available as a public record request.   That request was made at the end of the meeting, and while an immediate providing of those documents is not required, they were handed to the requesting party before they left the meeting room.   No other requests for the documents have been received.

If you have any questions. Feel free to contact my office at 850-682-1560 or

Jul 29

Support Crestview Police and First Responders

Posted to Council Member, Group 1 by Thomas Sutton

On Saturday, communities across America are showing their support for their police and first responders. Locally, people are gathering at the FWB Police Station and the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office to show support by being there, bringing signs, saying prayers, waving hands, honking horns, etc. from 11 AM until noon. We need to do the same here in Crestview. Join me tomorrow [Saturday] in the parking lot of the Crestview Police Station to show our support. Spread the word, bring friends, but most of all bring prayers for those who protect us on a daily basis.