County Administrator Tony Gomillion

Courthouse design will need update – and cash

Courthouse design will need update – and cash

Going back to the drawing board can be expensive. Now Santa Rosa officials are wondering if engineering plans for the proposed county courthouse on the newly purchased Avalon Boulevard site will cost anything like the roughly $475,000 already spent on such research for previously proposed locations that’s now at least partly obsolete. Read the full […]

Tourism council answers rebuke with an invitation

Tourism council answers rebuke with an invitation

Santa Rosa officials bristled at the recent scolding they received from House Speaker Richard Corcoran about the financial practices of the county’s Tourist Development Office. But they rejected a first impulse to fire off a terse letter to Corcoran—deciding instead to invite him here to prove the transparency with which the county handles its annual […]

Pace flood control elbows past Navarre

Pace flood control elbows past Navarre

County officials revealed this week that they have moved the start of five flood control projects in the Pace/Pea Ridge area ahead of stormwater containment in Navarre. The roughly $10 million in retention ponds, drainage and other infrastructure for which the county is seeking federal funds in the Pace/Pea Ridge area contrast sharply with those […]

Williamson listening tour reaches Navarre

Williamson listening tour reaches Navarre

Board of County Commissioners Chairman Rob Williamson continued his third annual listening tour with a July 12 meeting at the Navarre Beach Visitors Center. Williamson, District 4 commissioner, spoke to about three dozen residents on a variety of concerns specific to the south end of the county. Williamson said his annual listening tour allows him […]

LOST committee scrutinizes 2018 projects

LOST committee scrutinizes 2018 projects

In their first meeting Tuesday, the Santa Rosa County Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) Citizen Committee has turned a critical eye on potential projects for the 2018 school year. One project drawing criticism from multiple members of the 10 member committee is the conversion of the Santa Rosa County Jail air conditioning unit to a […]

Courthouse site search advances fitfully

Courthouse site search advances fitfully

Yes. No. Maybe. Let’s look at somewhere else. That’s how Santa Rosa County commissioners reacted July 10 when they discussed five offers of land on which to build a new county courthouse. Not only was there no consensus on the five offers on choosing a parcel of land for sale or lease—and one for free—from […]

Gulf Coast Discovery Center seeking new site

Gulf Coast Discovery Center seeking new site

Navarre Beach’s Gulf Coast Discovery Center has cleared another hurdle toward construction, but it’s also facing a new set of questions. The Discovery Center project was approved as part of a larger multiyear plan for BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill RESTORE Pot 1 funds submitted by Santa Rosa County to the U.S. Treasury, which will […]

Courthouse costs mount as site debate drags on

Courthouse costs mount as site debate drags on

For nearly 20 years Santa Rosa County has been arguing the point of creating a new courthouse, and that delay has been costing the county millions. While the back-and-forth on this issue has continued as voters rejected multiple sales-tax increases and locations, the bill to keep the existing building running is growing. In just the […]

Hurricane-damaged house riles beach neighbors

Hurricane-damaged house riles beach neighbors

Just one lot short of Gulf Islands National Seashore there is a brick-and-concrete home at 7315 Gulf Boulevard. Across the street there are condominiums and brightly painted beachfront homes. Some are newly constructed. A blue-and-green “Navarre Beach” sign welcomes visitors a few feet away. Read the full article in the March 9 issue of Navarre […]

Commissioners at odds on need for pier master plan

Commissioners at odds on need for pier master plan

County Commission Chairman Rob Williamson has a vision of what the Navarre Beach pier should look like in coming years. He said he would like to see coffee and ice cream shops, retail opportunities, rental activities and an expanded stand-alone restaurant. “I believe we could be tripling that revenue,” he said. The Board of County […]

No holds barred in pier dispute

No holds barred in pier dispute

The legal dispute among partners who manage the Navarre Beach Pier has them hurling allegations at each other over nearly everything but the kitchen sink –and who’s in charge of that is even in doubt. Read the full article in the March 9 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as […]

Thursday concert series moving to the beach

Thursday concert series moving to the beach

Discussion of the future of the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce’s Thursday’s concert series got intense at Monday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting as chamber president Judy Morehead and Commission Chairman Rob Williamson tangled over past conversations involving the event. The NBACOC has applied to have the 2017 concert series on Navarre Beach Gulf-side […]

LOST committee lost in the weeds

LOST committee lost in the weeds

Debate over what projects will be funded and who decides on those projects left the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) without a clear path forward for the estimated $39.5 million to be collected on the half cent local option sales tax, or LOST, Tuesday following the board’s annual Planning Workshop. Read the full article in […]

Oversight or hindsight?

Oversight or hindsight?

The county has published their proposed spending plan for an estimated $39 million in local option sales tax funds, and not surprisingly folks aren’t happy with the distribution. The projects listed are clearly important. The first responders’ radio tower that is listed at a price of $750,000 should have been built years ago. It is […]

New obstacles for proposed beach condos

New obstacles for proposed beach condos

The developers behind an unpopular plan to build condominiums in Navarre Beach Marine Park are encountering yet another hurdle. Read the full article in the Feb. 16 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 per year.

Nominees for sales tax oversight committee named

Nominees for sales tax oversight committee named

Collection of a half penny sales tax is underway and county commissioners made their final recommendations Monday for the Infrastructure Surtax Committee, a citizen oversight group. The tax, passed by Santa Rosa voters, is expected to net roughly $35 million over its five year lifetime. These dollars are limited to infrastructure uses including transportation and […]

Roughly $1.5 million set aside for Holley by the Sea drainage improvements

Roughly $1.5 million set aside for Holley by the Sea drainage improvements

County Commissioners moved forward with phase one of a multimillion dollar plan to improve drainage flow in Holley by the Sea Thursday after accepting $650,000 of support money from the state Department of Environmental Protection. The projects are in the design phase and total approximately $420,892. The improvements currently being designed are to Camden Drive […]

Topaz Beach subdivision clears hurdle with county

Topaz Beach subdivision clears hurdle with county

Development of a gated 66 home subdivision known as Topaz Beach on White Sands Boulevard on Navarre Beach cleared a final hurdle Thursday night in the form of an appeal brought before the County Commission. Commissioners approved without objection the appeal of two variances previously denied by the zoning board that would reduce setbacks of […]

Jubilee land claims could cost county

Jubilee land claims could cost county

If Santa Rosa officials accept the 2,718-acre parcel in Pace known as Jubilee as a donation, the county could be dragged into pending litigation over its ownership. That’s because a conflicting claim filed in Santa Rosa County Circuit Court last month clouds the rights of developers who want to trade the property for tax breaks. […]

Jubilee land lawsuit may snag gift to county

Jubilee land lawsuit may snag gift to county

Conflict over the ownership of the 2,718-acre parcel known as Jubilee in north Santa Rosa could stall or even stop the planned donation of the property to the county. Atlanta area investor Ron Reeser, who once led the original development group that in 2007 planned to build thousands of houses and a golf course on […]

New homes on higher ground heighten flood concerns

New homes on higher ground heighten flood concerns

Jason Buttke looks up at the new house under construction next door to his on the 1800 block of Sunrise Drive and wonders where any excess stormwater will drain in the event of heavy rain. Like many new residences going up in Holley by the Sea, the lot under the Adams Homes building has been […]

DEP $1 million short on Navarre Beach Park improvements

DEP $1 million short on Navarre Beach Park improvements

Design and permitting of Deepwater Horizon oil spill funded improvement projects for Navarre Beach Park are coming to a close as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) prepares to put the roughly $2.8 million project out for bid in January. That $2.8 million projection blows past the initial estimate for these improvements FDEP’s coordinator […]

Gigi the loggerhead granted lease extension

Gigi the loggerhead granted lease extension

District 4 Commissioner Rob Williamson and Gigi the blind loggerhead sea turtle finally met, and he saw things her way. After his first visit to the Navarre Beach Turtle Conservation Center since its August opening – and a review of the nonprofit’s barebones finances – Williamson agreed this week that Gigi’s aquarium and accompanying environmental […]

New tax starts in January

New tax starts in January

Collection of a half-penny sales tax in Santa Rosa County will begin in January of next year, but appointment of the oversight committee for the LOST has been delayed until weeks before that collection. The Infrastructure Surtax Citizen Committee (ISCC) will look at spending of the estimated $35 million of revenue generated by the half-penny […]

Six figures for Gomillion’s new assistant is typical

Six figures for Gomillion’s new assistant is typical

The $115,000 annual salary for the new position of assistant to County Administrator Tony Gomillion is prompting questions and criticism. But a Navarre Press review of pay scales in nearby counties and those of similar size elsewhere in the state shows that both Gomillion’s compensation and that of his as-yet-unnamed assistant are in line with […]

Questions swirl around drainage projects

Questions swirl around drainage projects

Although Holley by the Sea residents are eager for some of the county’s 30 proposed stormwater protection projects to begin in their area, some suggest that a more organized approach is needed. “We want to get things done. But the right things,” said Yvonne Harper, president of the Holley by the Sea Improvement Association, a […]

Beach residents’ share of restoration still unclear

Beach residents’ share of restoration still unclear

Due to a recalculation by the company that is now completing the sand replacement on Navarre Beach, residents there should see a reduction in their share of the project’s costs, county officials say. The company needed less sand than expected and found that fewer acres needed to be replenished, resulting in a final tab that’s […]

Public restroom shortage questioned again

Public restroom shortage questioned again

The need for public restrooms in Santa Rosa County recreation facilities has gained attention from county commissioners for the second time in less than a month. On Monday the panel agreed to consider adding restrooms on the Navarre Beach Pier to the ones at its base However, if facilities are installed, they may be portable […]

County’s closed-door meeting riles Tiger Point residents

County’s closed-door meeting riles Tiger Point residents

Tiger Point residents’ worries over traffic safety around the new Sacred Heart clinic under construction on U.S. Highway 98 are growing after they were excluded from a closed-door meeting of county and state officials on the issue last week. “The county commission seems to have made a decision without much input from people who live […]

Sales tax backers labor to woo voters

Sales tax backers labor to woo voters

Tinkering with the nuts and bolts of their sales tax appeal to voters scheduled for the Aug. 30 ballot, county commissioners are trying to make it fly as they keep getting flak from the idea’s critics. Only 10 days before the deadline to submit the proposal to the county elections office, commissioners finally decided on […]