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You can request a public record in person, by mail, email or over the phone. You do not have to give your name or the reason/purpose for which you are requesting the record. You do not have to fill out a form; however it is best if you do to make certain we know what it is exactly you're looking for and can you provide you all that you're looking for. It is also best to establish parameters, such as a time frame or documents of a particular type (minutes, permits, contracts, etc.) so that you are not charged for more than you want/need.
City staff is not required to do your homework for you, so if you only want permits or contracts or whatever, don't ask for everything related to the subject matter, because our search will encompass all types of records containing those certain key words.
Public record requests are acknowledged promptly, filled in the order in which they were received and done so in good faith.
ALL public record requests should be addressed to the City Clerk, email@example.com or by calling 850-243-3566 ext:11.
Fees are established by State Statute (Chapter 119/07(4)). When extensive time, redaction or research is involved, as Administrative Fee of $11.00/hour can also be imposed. Electronic copies are often free as they are readily available. Public records can always be inspected instead of photocopied; however depending on the scope of the request, the Administrative Fee may apply here as well to cover the cost of monitoring the inspection. No official or record copy of a public record will be loaned or let out of the City's possession or allowed to be reviewed without a monitor.
The City ofMary Esther believes that openness leads to a better informed citizenry, whichleads to a better government and ultimately, better public policy. Consistentwith the premise that government, at all levels, exists first and foremost toserve the interests of the people, it is the mission and intent of the City ofMary Esther to, at all times, fully comply with and abide by both the spiritand the letter of Florida Statute Chapter 119, also known as the “PublicRecords Act.”
The agenda and entire supporting documentation for each item is available on our website one week prior to the meeting. To find out more, visit our Document Center and select either AGENDAS or AGENDA PACKETS for the year and date you're interested in. You can also sign up for notifications of when those packets are uploaded.
The City retains items according to the State's GS1-SL schedule. In order to be compliant, when documents are destroyed, all versions -- including the electronic copy -- must also be destroyed. Records are kept according to their retention schedule. For example, minutes have a permanent retention while the supporting documentation (the agenda packet) for that meeting's minutes are only maintained for five (5) years.
Our preference would be for all documents to be listed with the most recent first and working it backwards to the oldest. However the uploading process of our new website, loads documents in the order they were selected; so all current year information has to be loaded as it becomes available, therefore making it oldest first and working its way 'down' to the most current.
Code enforcement is the act of enforcing a set of rules, principles, or laws and insuring observance of a system of norms or customs. In the United States, those employed in various capacities of code enforcement may be called Code Enforcement Officers, Municipal Regulations Officers, or other various titles depending on their specialization. Per Florida Statute 162.21, a “code enforcement officer” means any designated employee or agent of a county or municipality whose duty it is to enforce codes and ordinances enacted by the county or municipality.
The code enforcement process is typically initiated in two different ways, learn about these on the How Ordinances and Codes Are Enforced page.
When the City receives a complaint about an ordinance or code violation or a violation is found by means of pro-actively patrolling the community, an investigation takes place to determine the validity of the violation. If it is determined that the complaint is valid, the respondent (responsible entity) is given notice of the violation, the corrective action to be taken to bring the violation into compliance, and a specified amount of time that the violation must to be brought into compliance by.
Repeat violations and high priority violations such as health and safety violations are given a lesser amount of time for compliance and may have a citation or enforcement hearing summons immediately issued. If the respondent fails to voluntarily come into compliance, additional enforcement proceedings may take place.
The City established the Code Enforcement Board in 2001. The Board is comprised of five members, all of whom are Mary Esther residents from different walks of life. The Board was established to hear cases of municipal ordinance and code violations that were not resolved by voluntary compliance. Public hearings are held for each case that does not come into compliance within the time specified by the Code Enforcement Division. The Code Enforcement Board may order fines to be paid by the respondent with a maximum amount of up to $5,000 per day and may order an administration fee to be paid of up to compensate the City for actual costs of prosecution.
In addition, the board also has the authority to order violations to be brought into compliance by steps deemed necessary by the board. If a fine is not paid or the violation is not brought into compliance, the City has the authority to place a special lien on any real property of the violator and may foreclose on the property after three months of the filing of such lien.
If a specified time has been ordered for compliance by the Special Magistrate and the violation remains non-compliant past that time, a daily fine will begin to accrue against the property. After 90 days from the filing of the Special Magistrates order, if the violation remains non-compliant and any fees and fines remain unpaid, the City may initiate foreclosure proceedings against any real and personal property owned by the respondent in Florida. If a violation constitutes a threat to the public health, safety or welfare, the City may also take abatement actions.
Learn about the penalities for violating different City ordinances or codes on the Penalties for Violating a City Ordinance or Code page.
You may report a code violation by:
Floodplain management is the operation of a community program of preventive and corrective measures to reduce the risk of current and future flooding, resulting in a more resilient community. These measures take a variety of forms, are carried out by multiple stakeholders with a vested interest in responsible floodplain management and generally include requirements for zoning, subdivision or building, building codes and special-purpose floodplain ordinances.
While Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has minimum floodplain management standards for communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which the City does, in 2012 the City of Mary Esther passed a 28 page ordinance adopting requirements at the local level to safeguard the public health, safety, and general welfare and to minimize public and private losses due to flooding through regulation of development in flood hazard areas.
Learn more on our Flood Zones page.
Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt events flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not percolate into the ground. As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops), it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is discharged untreated.
The primary method to control stormwater discharges is the use of best management practices (BMPs). In addition, most stormwater discharges are considered point sources and require coverage under an National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
Learn about the program on our National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System page.
Find out about Mary Esther's stormwater requirements on our Stormwater Requirements page.
In order to protect City residents from acts of illegal contracting such as unlicensed contractors, uninsured contractors and contractors that have not complied with the States workers compensation laws, the ordinance establishes specific requirements that all contractors must adhere to in order to do business in the City.
Per City Code 13-26 (a) and Florida Statute 489.127 (1)(i), all service contractors, specialty contractors and construction industry contractors, whether state certified or not, shall be required to purchase a city tracking certificate and obtain the necessary permits from the building official or his agent prior to commencement of any work within the City.
Any contractor doing business in the City limits must be registered. Examples of contractors include but are not limited to:
The registration fee is $20 each year and must be renewed by September 30th. Please make checks payable to City of Mary Esther.
The fine for unregistered contracting practices is $250.00. A contractor found operating without registration is subject to an immediate citation and may also be summoned to appear before the City’s Special Magistrate and face additional fines up to $2,000.00 per offense, administrative fees and other enforcement actions.
Additionally, any person found in violation for unregistered contracting is subject to enforcement under Florida Statute 489.127 and may be charged with a First Degree Misdemeanor for a first offense and a Third Degree Felony for a repeat offense.
Per City Code 13-26 (a) and Florida Statute 489.127 (1)(i), all service contractors, specialty contractors and construction industry contractors, whether state certified or not, shall be required to purchase a city tracking certificate and obtain the necessary permits from the building official or his agent prior to commencement of any work within the City. Contractor tracking certificates expire on September 30 of each year.
You may verify a contractor registration by viewing our List of Current Registered Contractors or calling 850-243-3566, ext.10. The registered contractor list is updated as new contractors become registered or expired contractors renew their registrations. While every effort is made to keep the registration list current, if you believe there is an error or you do not see a contractor listed, please call us for verification.
Please complete and return the Contractor Tracking Certificate (PDF) to the Business Tax Receipt Administrator. Documents needed to process the application are
Utility bills are due on or before the 15th of the month. Any payments not received by the due date will be subject to a 10% penalty. Please see see the Water Department page.
Please contact Waste Management by calling 850-301-2822.
If you are located west of Hurlburt Field Air Force Base and have a Mary Esther address, your water services are provided for by Okaloosa County. Please contact the Okaloosa County offices located at 1804 Lewis Turner Boulevard in Fort Walton Beach at 850- 651-7171.
All real properties lying within the city's limits, whether occupied or not and regardless of use, shall be billed a “Ready to Serve” water rate in accordance with their property type/zoning. Please see the Water Sewer Rate Schedule (PDF) for Ready to Serve fees.