Walton County beaches should have lifeguards in place before this year's spring break begins.
Tuesday night Walton County commissioners voted to award the lifeguard contract to the South Walton Fire District.
The contract calls for two lifeguards at each of the six major beach access points in south Walton. The commission chose the Fire District over the other bid submitted by the Walton County Sheriff's Office.
County officials say it was a tough decision because both agencies are equipped to handle the responsibility.
Bill Imfeld is the county’s finance officer and says, “Both have great backstopping abilities. The Sheriff’s Department has beach patrol the fire department has their people that work the beaches. We've got both having equipment already to all-terrain vehicles and sea dews, so it's tuff to come in and say there is a recommendation one over the other both are very good proposals."
The county will use Bed Tax collections to pay for the lifeguard services, which will run from March 11 through October 1.