Residents lashed out at Santa Rosa County commissioners July 11 over the board’s inconsistent use of a public solicitation process when leasing county-owned property. The reaction came after Hunter Walker, county administrator, placed a discussion on the agenda for soliciting proposals for the design of an air-conditioned storage facility to replace the Santa Rosa County warehouse, which was leased to a local nonprofit organization last year.
The commission’s vote to award that lease without inviting other groups to also submit proposals for consideration angered local volunteers, who say the county’s leasing practices are unfair.
The Santa Rosa Arts and Culture Foundation had asked for use of the county’s warehouse, and the group was subsequently given a $10 per year 25-year lease on the building, which went into effect June 1, 2012. However, the county has yet to remove files, unused office equipment and other materials from the historic 5,000-square-foot Whittle building in downtown Milton. Commissioners voted July 11 to take steps toward constructing a new warehouse to store the items.
To read more, subscribe online or pick up a copy of the July 18 Navarre Press.