Emerald Coast Northwest Florida Information Pages


Okaloosa County is home to the communities of:
Ft. Walton Beach, Destin, Crestview, Niceville, Mary Esther, Shalimar, Florosa, Valparaiso, Baker

Other counties: Walton County (east), home to:
DeFuniak Springs, Freeport, Grayton Beach, Seaside, Seagrove, Sandestin, Santa Rosa Beach, Paxton

Santa Rosa and Escambia Counties (west), home to:
Navarre, Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, Gulf Breeze, Holley

Map of the Area
City of Ft. Walton Beach Ft. Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce
City of Niceville Destin Chamber of Commerce
City of Shalimar Navarre Chamber of Commerce
City of Mary Esther Walton County Chamber of Commerce
Okaloosa County Walton County

This Page:
General Info * Homestead * Licenses * Churches
Population * Taxes * Housing * Academics


Next Page:
Waterfront * Retirement communities * Transportation * Utilities *   Weather



Welcome to the Emerald Coast

Right smack in the middle of the 100-mile long "Miracle Strip" of Northwest Florida is the Emerald Coast, the Playground of the Gulf Coast. Fishing, boating, swimming, sunning, sailing, sports, scuba diving or just relaxing, you can have it all. No longer a well-kept secret, our natural, sugar-white beaches are the most beautiful in the world. Blue-green waters lap the white sands of the Gulf of Mexico, thus the name Emerald Coast. Bayous, lazy rivers, and green forests complement the shoreline, making this region truly a place of peacefulness and beauty.


Five main factors stand out on the Emerald Coast: the military impact, the high tech industry located here, the abundant educational opportunities, the cost of living, and the lifestyle advantages.

Lifestyle
Emerald Coast residents enjoy a lifestyle that is the envy of the rest of the country. Our beautiful, clean and uncluttered beaches are world renowned. The weather is to die for most of the year, but even our winters are mild. Oh sure we have a hurricane every now and then, but just to keep the excitement level up. If you had experienced this community's spirit pulling together to help each other out, you would move here in a heartbeat.
Homestead Exemption
In Florida $25,000 of the assessed value of your home is exempt from real estate taxes. You must have title or record your property as of January 1 and reside on this property. Okaloosa County has the lowest property tax of all 67 counties.
License Plates and Title
You must immediately obtain license plates upon residence, registering your children in school, or getting a job. Proof of auto insurance, title, and registration are needed. The $295 impact fee for registering an out of state vehicle was stopped in January of 1996.

Businesses require annual occupation permits, and zoning permits if the office is in a residential zone.


Gone Fishing...or golfing..

Military Presence
Eglin Air Force Base, the world's largest military reservation, along with Duke Field and Hurlburt Field, have a huge economic impact on Okaloosa County and Fort Walton Beach.
Employment
Civilian Labor Force.......................82,486
Unemployment rate........................3.3%
*Eglin AFB...................................29,812
estimated 408 contractors, 441 contracts active on Eglin AFB
**Hurlburt AFB..............................10,869


*Military accounts for 69% of the staffing on Eglin;
**Military accounts for 94% of the staffing on Hurlburt


County Employment by Industries

Labor Force % Avg wage
Agricultural 1.0% $17,774
Transportation, Pub Util.0 3.6% $30,067
Trade/Public Utilities 2.0% $29,870
Manufacturing 4.7% $30,147
Construction 5.8% $23,403
Financial, Insurance., Real Estate 5.9% $26,216
Services 33.1% $23,010
Government 19.8% $32,053

Employment Forecast
The area hiring forecast is that 17% of companies in the area will be adding employees. Some employees are seasonal hiring, but the Emerald Coast has not suffered a recession. Fort Walton Beach and Navarre are growing because of military expansion at Hurlburt AFB.


Places of Worship
More than 120 churches and places to worship are on the Emerald Coast: African Methodist Episcopal, Apostolic, Assembly of God, Baptist, Buddhist, Catholic, Greek, Islamic, Jehovah's Witness, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Jewish, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Protestant, and many other denominational and interdenominational places of worship.


 
Information from the Okaloosa Economic Develoment Commission
www.florida-edc.org

Population

 

Emergency Services All of Okaloosa, Walton, and Santa Rosa counties are served by 911.

Non-emergency phone numbers (Area code 850) 
Crestview.................682-2055
Fort Walton Beach....833-9500
Niceville...................678-2166
Valparaiso................678-8888

The remainder of the county is served by the Okaloosa County Sheriff's department.

Non-emergency phone numbers (Area code 850) 
Crestview..................682-2788
Shalimar...................651-2788
Hospitals 
4 hospitals.............................434 beds
- Twin Cities, Niceville.
- Columbia/FWB Medical Center
- Harbor Oaks...psychiatric
- North Okaloosa Medical Ctr (Crestview)
Nursing/Convalescent: 10........634 beds
Physicians.............................145
Dentists...................................42
1980 109,920
1990 148,777
1999 179,589
Projections
2000 182,550
2005 215,565
Population Ages
0 - 17 42,108
18-44 59,578
45-64 31,261
65+ 15,371
County Land Area 936 sq. miles
Population density 169.10
Surrounding counties
Population 199,084
Largest Inc. Municipalities
Ft. Walton Beach 21,980
Crestview 11,903
Niceville 11,480
Destin 8,985
Valparaiso 6,507

Surrounding Counties
Taxable Sales $1,610,518,000 Building Permits (Value) $227,774,000

County Taxes State Taxes
Ad Valorem Millage Rate   Corporate Income Tax 5.5%
Government 4.7719 Personal Income Tax none
Special Districts .0500 Retail Sales Tax 6%
Schools 8.5860 Gasoline Tax $0.123
Total 13.4079 Intangible Tax 2.0 mills per $ value
Are local option ad valorem tax exemptions available yes
Utility Service Tax/Rate no/0.00% Income and Cost of Living Data
Local Option Sales Tax 0.00% Per Capita Personal Income $18,202
Local Option Gasoline $0.123 per gal Median household disposable income EBI* $31,897
  Cost of Living Index 96.0%


Home Sales Source:   The Hutchison Report    www.built4u.com/housingtrends.html

1999 New Home Sales By Month
Month
Number of
Sales
Total Sales
Value
Average
Sales Price
January, 1999
40
5,441,100
136,028
February, 1999
56
6,923,200
123,629
March, 1999
59
8,706,700
147,571
April, 1999
89
12,124,700
136,233
May, 1999
60
8,042,600
134,043
June, 1999
72
12,209,100
169,571
July, 1999
86
12,908,100
150,094
August, 1999
68
9,580,400
140,888
September, 1999
64
8,559,900
133,748
October, 1999
63
8,450,500
134,135
November, 1999
68
8,522,900
125,337
December, 1999
69
9,657,700
139,967
1999 YTD Totals
794 units
111,010,400
139,812
2000 New Home Sales By Month
Month
Number of
Sales
Total Sales
Value
Average
Sales Price
January, 2000
37
5,311,357
143,550
February, 2000
37
4,609,200
124,573
March, 2000
46
6,221,500
135,250
April, 2000
44
5,891,657
133,901
2000 YTD Totals
191 units
25,446,114
133,226

Month
Number of
Sales
Total Sales
Value
Average
Sales Price
January, 2000
157
19,357,257
123,295
February, 2000
165
19,950,157
120,910
March, 2000
276
31,301,086
113,410
April, 2000
225
34,306,100
152,472
2000 YTD Totals
823 units
104,914,600
127,478
New Homes Available For Sale, by Price
As of 03/01/00
Fort Walton Niceville Destin Crestview TOTAL
Under $70,000
0
0
0
3
3
$70,000 to $79,999
0
0
0
0
0
$80,000 to $89,999
0
0
0
7
7
$90,000 to $99,999
27
0
0
14
41
$100,000 to $124,999
17
0
7
23
47
$125,000 to $149,999
18
9
6
3
36
$150,000 to $174,999
2
7
6
0
15
$175,000 to $199,999
0
3
4
0
7
$200,000 to $249,999
1
18
3
0
22
$250,000 to $299,999
0
4
9
0
13
Over $300,000
6
2
33
0
41
Totals for
02/00
71
43
68
50
232
Totals for
01/00
67
38
70
69
244
Increase/
Decrease
6.0%
13.2%
-2.9%
-27.5%
-4.9%
Source:   The Hutchison Report    www.built4u.com/housingtrends.html

Academics

Each of our 36 schools is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
How do Okaloosa County schools stand academically?
Okaloosa County maintains one of the highest graduation rates in the state of Florida. 64 percent of graduating seniors plan to attend college or vocational schools. More than $9.7 million in scholarships were awarded during the 1993-94 year. The district had 3 National Merit Finalists, and 150 Academic Scholars. The Gold Seal of Endorsement scholarship was awarded to 47 senior vocational students.

Twenty-two schools have instructional computer networks, and all schools have laser disc technology. The Info Tech Committee at the Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to wiring all schools to the internet. Eglin AFB and Hurlburt AFB donate computers to the schools on a consistent basis.

Graduation requirements.
Students must attend school until their 16th birthday; however the majority of students graduate from high school. Pupils who have earned the following credits in grades 9-12 are awarded a diploma:

4 Language Arts 1/2 Performing Arts
3 Mathematics 1/2 Life Management Skills
3 Science 2 Physical Education
4 Social Studies 6-1/2 Electives
1/2 Vocational Education 24 Total

How will my child get to school?
Students living 2 or more miles from school are provided school bus transportation. Special wheelchair transportation is available for handicapped children.

What if my child prefers a vocational or technical course?
Centers in Crestview and Fort Walton Beach provide training in grades 10 and beyond.   Service occupations, construction, health, business, industrial and agri-business programs are available.

 


This Page:
General Info * Homestead * Licenses * Churches
Population * Taxes * Housing * Academics


Next Page:
Waterfront * Retirement communities * Transportation * Utilities *   Weather