Washington County will be joining an interlocal agreement to help provide a management structure for the an estuary program set up for the Choctawhatchee Bay.

The Environmental Protection Agency has officially announced plans to fund an estuary program in Northwest Florida earlier this year by setting up a competition for $2 million that Okaloosa and Walton county officials had been preparing for for months.

The Choctawhatchee Bay watershed includes tributaries that run through Washington and Holmes County, leading to an interlocal agreement being proposed by Okaloosa County and Walton County officials so that the four counties can team up to expand the estuary program.

Washington County Commissioners signed the agreement when the board met in regular session Thursday.

The agreement is meant to consolidate the counties' respective efforts for collaborative management, restoration and protection of the bay and its watershed. Officials state that with the counties working together, revenues and grant proceeds that can fund these projects can be used to maximize the funding.

In other agenda items from the Thursday meeting, commissioners addressed the following issues:


Washington County Tax Collector Ken Naker submitted the tax recapitulation report to the board showing $497,493.60 in discounts, errors, double assessments and insolvencies in the 2016 tax roll.
North Florida Construction was awarded the bid for Keencutter Road project with additional rib and curbing for $87,484. The project is a low water crossing project being paid out of FEMA funds.
A construction bid for the South Boulevard and Hoyt Street sidewalk project was awarded to BCL Civil Contractors for $373,008.63, to be paid by Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
Two semi-annual water quality reports and two semi-annual reports/sampling/analysis for the Mudhill Landfill was approved to be handled by Dewberry Preble-Rish.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between the commissioners and the Washington County School Board to provide emergency shelters. Local schools serving as emergency shelters are Chipley High School, Roulhac Middle School, Vernon High School, and Vernon Middle School.
Two New Holland tractors with HD flex wing bush hog and a ten foot offset bush hog were approved for purchase from Kingline Equipment. The $147,200 cost will be paid for out of Public Works budget.
The Clerk of Court's request was approved to pay bills for the month of May, totaling $2,034,124.44.

Washington County Board of County Commissioners will meet again in workshop at 9 a.m. on July 19.

Tom McLaughlin of the Northwest Florida Daily News contributed to this report.