Government

Gulf Breeze mayor paints rosy picture of progress

Gulf Breeze mayor paints rosy picture of progress

Mayor Cherry Fitch sketched an outlook of more local harmony and less controversy in a briefing to 70 or so City of Gulf Breeze constituents Thursday at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast gathering. Fitch stressed leading the city of 6,000 people as a “resilient community” in the wake of acrimony between some residents and the […]

County seeks citizen input on budget

County seeks citizen input on budget

Under the theme “Your county – your priorities,” Santa Rosa County will host a series of workshops across the county seeking feedback on budget priorities. The five workshops will be held in each of the five commissioner districts. County Administrator Dan Schebler said the tour through the county is specifically aimed at meeting the citizens […]

Zoning Board OKs Firestone, Splash RV Resort

Zoning Board OKs Firestone, Splash RV Resort

Planned construction of a tire store in Navarre cleared another hurdle Jan. 9 as the Zoning Board unanimously recommended approving the use. The planned Firestone location is part of a larger 19-acre Aldi grocery store and commercial complex planned near the corner of Ortega Street and U.S. Highway 98. Also included in conceptual site plans […]

County takes $35 million loan for new courthouse

County takes $35 million loan for new courthouse

Santa Rosa County is set to take on a $35 million loan for construction of a new courthouse on Avalon Boulevard, with an expected interest payment of $13 million over 20 years. Commissioners voted Jan. 9 to pursue Synovus Bank’s offer as the best option of the six tax-exempt, fixed rate, non-bank qualified loan offers […]

Recycling set to restart Jan. 1

Recycling set to restart Jan. 1

The return of recycling in Santa Rosa County finally has an official date on the books. County Commissioners moved forward this week with approving a final agreement with a third-party hauler to get gathered recyclables from the Central Landfill to Emerald Coast Utilities Authority’s (ECUA) processing plant. While recyclables have continuously been picked up, they […]

Santa Rosa declared Second Amendment sanctuary

Santa Rosa declared Second Amendment sanctuary

Amid recent lawmaker calls for stricter gun control laws, the Santa Rosa County Commission unanimously supported declaring the county a Second Amendment sanctuary Dec. 12 during its regular meeting. The vote came less than a week after a gunman killed three unarmed airmen at Naval Air Station Pensacola. The victims were not carrying weapons due […]

A HOPE clinic approved; gas station denied

A HOPE clinic approved; gas station denied

Volunteers of animal advocacy group A HOPE celebrated a victory Dec. 12 after county commissioners gave them the thumbs-up to open a low-cost spay and neuter clinic. The nonprofit was seeking a conditional use to allow it to build a low-cost spay and neuter clinic in Milton on a 25-acre parcel off Pine Blossom Road.

County eyes second try on sales tax

County eyes second try on sales tax

Santa Rosa County will likely be trying to pass a new local option sales tax on the November 2020 general election ballot based on discussion from the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) oversight committee’s Dec. 3 meeting. In an October special election, county commissioners asked voters to approve increasing the current LOST from a half […]

Meet the new Zoning Board

Meet the new Zoning Board

With exactly a week to go before their first meeting and just hours after their official hiring, the members of the newly seated Zoning Board got a crash course in public service Nov. 14 at the Tiger Point Community Center. The Zoning Board is one of many county committees composed of citizen appointees, helping in […]

Decades later, dirt moving on new courthouse

Decades later, dirt moving on new courthouse

When Don Salter was first elected to the Santa Rosa Board of County Commissioners in 2000, the issue at the forefront was replacing the aging courthouse in downtown Milton. A little less than 20 years later, Salter and his fellow commissioners ceremonially broke ground Nov. 13 on the site of a new courthouse, turning dirt […]

Clerk returns unspent $867,000 to Santa Rosa County

Clerk returns unspent $867,000 to Santa Rosa County

For fiscal year 2018-19, the Santa Rosa County Clerk of Court and Comptroller Donald C. Spencer returned unspent revenues of $867,269 to the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners. This makes the seventh consecutive year since taking office, Spencer has returned unspent revenues to the county commission totaling $3,030,425 over that time. “Through fiscal […]

Property appraiser launches new website

Property appraiser launches new website

The Santa Rosa County property appraiser’s website has a new look, new features and a lower price tag thanks to a revamp launched Oct. 1. But county Property Appraiser Greg Brown said the initial reception has not been entirely warm. Change is hard, Brown said, and the website, especially its property record features, are widely […]

Sales tax fallout: Zoning board and commissioners respond

Sales tax fallout: Zoning board and commissioners respond

In all but one precinct of voting, a proposed one cent local option sales tax for Santa Rosa County failed to pass Oct. 8. For the County Commissioners who had championed the tax to tackle deteriorated infrastructure and mounting sheriff’s office requests, the result was a wake-up call. After dozens of public hearings in which citizens […]

Land in beach marine park secured by county

Land in beach marine park secured by county

Fears that commercial developments would one day be built in the heart of the Navarre Beach Marine Park are coming to an end Thursday as county commissioners officially accept donation of $2 million worth of waterfront property. The nonprofit Trust for Public Land has been working on and off for years to secure purchase of […]

Florida toughens ban on texting while driving

Florida toughens ban on texting while driving

As of Tuesday, Oct. 1, motorists in Florida can be stopped for using a hands-free communications device while driving in a designated school crossing, school zone or active work zone area. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), through its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), sent out an advisory reminding […]

County cracks down on M&M Construction violations

County cracks down on M&M Construction violations

Much of the operations at Juarez M&M Construction in Navarre will have to shut down after county commissioners voted not to change land requirements for property along Constitution Drive Sept. 26 during their Special Rezoning meeting. Neighbor Ron Millis said it is about time something gets done.   Read the full article in the Oct. […]

$178 million county budget headed for approval

$178 million county budget headed for approval

Santa Rosa County is set to approve its largest budget in more than 15 years, but County Commissioners say that’s not the whole story. The board unanimously approved Sept. 12 a roughly $178 million tentative budget for fiscal year 2020. The final public hearing and budget adoption is set for Sept. 24.   Read the full […]

Board gets preview of new courthouse interior

Board gets preview of new courthouse interior

Layout of the interior of a new $45 million county courthouse was revealed to Santa Rosa County commissioners last week as the project inches forward. Jay Smith of Ajax Building, one of a handful of companies tasked with designing the new facility, told commissioners Sept. 9 that the project is proceeding on schedule.   Read […]

Improvements recommended for building process

Improvements recommended for building process

Amid continued complaints from small-business owners, County Commissioner Bob Cole called for some accounting in the planning and building departments Monday during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting. Cole pointed to reports of lengthy delays, continued confusion and changing expectations from projects seeking to get off the ground.   Read the full article in the Sept. […]

One cent local option sales tax election

One cent local option sales tax election

Santa Rosa County Commissioners are pushing hard for an additional half cent sales tax to be added to purchases within Santa Rosa County, but that will be up to the voters to decide Oct. 8. Sample ballots have been mailed and registration books closed for a countywide special election on the issue.   Read the […]

Five things to know: Countdown to legislative session 2020

Five things to know: Countdown to legislative session 2020

As of this issue’s publication date, there are 131 days until the start of Florida’s 2020 legislative session, but preparations are already in full swing. Governments, legislators, lobbyists and organizations throughout the state have been setting their priorities, talking strategy and drafting their bills to prepare for roughly 60 days of the meat and potatoes […]

South end critiques Land Development Code

South end critiques Land Development Code

A comprehensive rewrite of the Santa Rosa County Land Development Code gained weigh in from residents of south Santa Rosa Aug. 15 during a public open house at Tiger Point Community Center. County staff lined up at information tables as roughly 24 citizens made their rounds to ask questions and formally propose changes to one […]

County advances Navarre dog beach plan

County advances Navarre dog beach plan

County commissioners moved forward Monday with a proposal to allow dogs on a portion of Navarre Beach’s Santa Rosa Sound coastline. Under the proposed ordinance, owners would pay an annual fee of $30 to allow their dogs on a stretch of the beach near the water tower on White Sands Boulevard between 4 p.m. and […]

RVs and pit pass, vet clinic fails

RVs and pit pass, vet clinic fails

It was standing room only again July 25 as the Board of County Commissioners took up contentious development proposals previously vetted by the Zoning Board. Among the issues on the docket for the commission’s Special Rezoning meeting were proposals to bring a low-cost spay and neuter clinic to northern Milton, allow a dirt borrow pit […]

Parker appointed to Florida Association of Counties board

Parker appointed to Florida Association of Counties board

Santa Rosa County Commission Chairman Sam Parker, District 1, was recently appointed to the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) board of directors. Commissioner Parker will serve in this role for two years. “I am honored to have the opportunity to serve on the FAC board of directors,” Parker said. “This will allow me to work […]

If it passes… Transportation tops the list for sales tax

If it passes… Transportation tops the list for sales tax

Santa Rosa County has proposed replacing the current half-cent local sales tax, set to expire in 2021, with a one-cent sales tax for 10 years. Voters will have a chance to approve or deny the tax on a special ballot Oct. 8.   Read the full article in the July 25 issue of Navarre Press. […]

Beach advocates stricter codes to prevent another “Turner House”

Beach advocates stricter codes to prevent another “Turner House”

Fed up with years of dilapidation across the street, beach residents called on county commissioners Monday during their meeting to amend the Land Development Code (LDC) to prevent future homes from sitting in disrepair for 15 years. Sailmaker Cove president Terry Pierman said the gulf front “Turner House” located at 7315 Gulf Boulevard is an […]

Public comment invited on Land Development Code

Public comment invited on Land Development Code

Santa Rosa County will be seeking public input on a revamp of the Land Development Code (LDC) during two public workshops next month. The LDC contains regulations that govern how land is developed in the unincorporated areas of the county and addresses everything from zoning, site development, the natural environment and stormwater management to parking, […]

Three things to know: Santa Rosa County Zoning Board

Three things to know: Santa Rosa County Zoning Board

A standing-room-only crowd led to a long evening meeting July 11 for the Santa Rosa County Zoning Board. Board denies A HOPE’s new home A HOPE for Santa Rosa County faced opposition from neighbors during the meeting as the pet rescue organization sought to create a permanent home for its low-cost spay and neuter operation. […]

Divvying up the LOST: Improved animal services a top priority

Divvying up the LOST: Improved animal services a top priority

While Santa Rosa County commissioners pursue a one-cent sales tax for an Oct. 8 ballot referendum, determinations still must be made for spending of the county’s existing half-cent sales tax for fiscal year 2020. The local option sales tax (LOST) that took effect in 2017 has paid for millions of dollars in completed projects across […]

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