Government

Five things to know: Land Development Code rewrite

Five things to know: Land Development Code rewrite

County Commissioners, builders, citizens and stakeholders got their first look last week at the complete rewrite of one Santa Rosa’s most important governing documents. The new Land Development Code is roughly 444 pages long, taking reference from Panama City’s codes and hundreds of citizen comments.   The rewrite was launched by Planning and Zoning Director […]

Navarre residents voice priorities but few citizens turn out for budget workshops

Navarre residents voice priorities but few citizens turn out for budget workshops

From dog parks to road flooding, residents of Navarre made their concerns and questions known to county officials Saturday morning during the final Your County-Your Priorities Workshop at the Navarre Beach Visitor Information Center. County Administrator Dan Schebler said more than 30 people attended the Navarre workshop. While that is less than 0.075% of Navarre’s […]

Courthouse project already over budget

Courthouse project already over budget

While the Santa Rosa County Commission boardroom was packed twice last week over a pro-life resolution, another item largely flew under the radar–and it is costing taxpayers at least $77,209. Price estimates for site work on the new county courthouse on Avalon Boulevard are more than $3.1 million, bringing the total preconstruction cost to roughly […]

Workshop seeks citizen input on future budget

Workshop seeks citizen input on future budget

Citizens of Santa Rosa County got a chance to balance the government budget for themselves Feb. 4 during the Your County-Your Priorities Workshop at the Milton Auditorium. During the activity, participants were asked to make monetary allocations to each portion of the expenses of the county based on the county’s actual income. County Administrator Dan […]

Pro-life sanctuary resolution moves forward

Pro-life sanctuary resolution moves forward

County Commission Chairman Don Salter was called a coward more than a few times Monday as citizens spoke out against blocking a pro-life resolution from the board’s meeting agenda. The Sanctuary for Life resolution was submitted for placement on the agenda by Commissioner Bob Cole, but as chairman, Salter makes the final decision on such […]

Lynchard, Wright facing off for District 5 seat

Lynchard, Wright facing off for District 5 seat

The Gulf Breeze area now has two candidates vying to be their representation in county government, after current District 5 County Commissioner Lane Lynchard officially filed paperwork with the Supervisor of Election’s last week. Lynchard, a Gulf Breeze lawyer, has served as the District 5 representative for three terms, starting back in 2008. He said […]

Splash RV Resort, Firestone store approved

Splash RV Resort, Firestone store approved

Plans to build a Firestone tire store in Navarre and an RV resort with a waterpark on Highway 87 both got the green light Jan. 23 from county commissioners during their monthly Special Rezoning meeting. The planned Firestone location is part of a larger 19-acre Aldi grocery store and commercial complex planned near the corner […]

Rep. Williamson sponsors 2020 student page and messengers

Rep. Williamson sponsors 2020 student page and messengers

Twelve local students sponsored by Rep. Jayer Williamson (District 3) have been accepted into the Florida House of Representatives Page & Messenger Program for the 2020 legislative session. A long-standing tradition in the Florida House, the Page & Messenger Program participants are mentioned in the historic journals of the institution dating as far back as […]

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 […]

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