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Okaloosa County finds way to save thousands while keeping beaches pristine

When you walk on the beach, you might not think about the cost of keeping it clean.
But it can be an expensive.
Okaloosa County has made a change that will rack up six-figure savings.

Laura Hussey "You hear the expression "Sugar White Sand" so often it's almost a clich. But look around, it's absolutely real. Keeping it that way takes a lot of work"
Before some people wake up in the morning, sand sifters like this one scrape trash from six miles of county beach in Destin, and more than three miles here on Okaloosa Island.

Betty Crane/AR "It's very important. Everybody loves to walk the beach and you want a clean beach"
The sifters aren't a new sight for early morning visitors.
But the county employees driving the rigs are .
For years, a private contractor cleaned the beach.
Cheryl Rushing/Oka Island "I wasn't sure, 'cause I liked what the guy did before, but this is making a great running path, it looks clean and I think it's good"   
The county took over beach cleaning during a legal dispute with their contractor.
They decided to look at what it would take to bring the job in-house.

John Hofstad/Public Works Director "We took it on in the height of the season, so it was an effort for us to get ramped up, we had to take on some additional personnel, some seasonal personnel to do it' 
It turns out that even with the part-time workers and the purchase of new equipment, the county will save about forty-thousand dollars the first year.
Then it gets better.
John "We're looking at, in comparison to the contract, probably 200,000 per year in annual savings, and that's significant"
Trash cans are now being emptied seven days a week instead of six, and the sifters make sure locals and tourists get the clean sand they love.

Laura Hussey "Before they can start every morning, they have to check and make sure the turtle watch monitors are finished. No nests here on the Island yet, but there's one in Destin."