District 4 Commissioner Rob Williamson

Commissioners seek ordinance against floating businesses

Commissioners seek ordinance against floating businesses

The floating structure that appeared in the Santa Rosa Sound in early March was a topic of discussion at the Board of County Commissioners meeting this morning.  District 4 commissioner Rob Williamson brought it to the attention of the board as a developing situation. “We don’t know who they are or their intentions, but one […]

The game of endorsements

The game of endorsements

The announcement was made Monday morning. The Navarre Area Board of Realtors endorses current District 4 commissioner on his re-election bid. Period. Why the hurry? Potential candidates don’t have to file until June. We have a year left until the general election. Wouldn’t your endorsement mean more if you waited and  considered more than one […]

Pier restrooms get thumbs up

Pier restrooms get thumbs up

Placement of restrooms along the Gulf of Mexico’s longest fishing pier, the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier, was cleared Wednesday by Florida Gov. Rick Scott according to an announcement made by district County Commissioner Rob Williamson. Williamson made the announcement via a video posting to Facebook. “I just want to say thank you to Gov. Scott […]

New signs to be installed at Navarre Beach Causeway

New signs to be installed at Navarre Beach Causeway

A slap on the wrist is all County Commissioner and Chairman Rob Williamson will face for deciding to remove the temporary welcome signs placed at the foot of the Navarre Beach Causeway. The Board of County Commissioners also decided Monday morning to replace the signs with the new versions that were approved months ago. The […]

Hammer time

Hammer time

Santa Rosa County workers were busy installing new “Welcome to Navarre Beach” signs Thursday incorporating the new branding researched and designed by Santa Rosa County’s new advertising agency Paradise Marketing. The process and concept were approved by Santa Rosa County Commissioners as a board. “I promised Rob Williamson we would have the signs up for […]

One way or another, courthouse paid by tax payers

One way or another, courthouse paid by tax payers

Funding for county infrastructure needs and a new county courthouse will be decided by voters this August as the two separate half cent local option sales taxes (LOST) have been finalized for the primary ballot by the Board of County Commissioners. If approved by voters, both of these taxes would add half a cent each […]

Tough Mudder fails to boost bed taxes

Tough Mudder fails to boost bed taxes

Disappointing bed-tax revenue in April, when Tough Mudder Inc.’s two-day event near Milton was expected to give the Santa Rosa County numbers a bump, is prompting tourism industry leaders to reconsider the financial incentives promised to the New York company. County commissioners voted last November to pay Tough Mudder $110,000, including $80,000 from bed taxes, […]

New chapter in the ‘He Coon’s’ Panhandle impact

New chapter in the ‘He Coon’s’ Panhandle impact

The proposed 134-condominium complex on a 6-acre private parcel in Navarre Beach Marine Park hasn’t yet been named, but if it gets called something such as “Bob Sikes Villas” there would be historic justification. Indeed, although the powerful U.S. congressman from Crestview, nicknamed “The He Coon” for his tenacious political style, already has a bridge […]

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 […]

Playground opens at Holley Ball Park

Playground opens at Holley Ball Park

The construction of a recreational playground to enhance the popular ball field is now complete at Holley Ball Park.  The grand opening was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday. Read the full article in the May 5 issue of Navarre Press. Click HERE to subscribe online.

New courthouse encounters trial and tribulation

New courthouse encounters trial and tribulation

For a building in which evidence is supposed to carry the day, the proposed new Santa Rosa County courthouse in Milton appears in need of a strong closing argument. Burdened by the sales-tax increase that will require voters’ support to fund it, the new courthouse is mired in politics and indecision. Read the full article […]

Beach replenishment tab is moving target

Beach replenishment tab is moving target

Although at least three Santa Rosa commissioners support exempting beach leaseholders from paying an extra share of the planned $17 million sand replenishment project, the board’s eventual vote will likely hinge on the county’s overall budget needs. “I think we’re going to see some commissioners keep their powder dry” until next year’s budget is prepared […]

Wanted: Beach park for dogs

Wanted:  Beach park for dogs

Camille Abbamonte is a self-professed animal lover and advocate.  A couple of weeks ago she accidently stumbled across a beach dog park in Pensacola, so she stopped to take a look.  “I was in awe of how well it went, there must have been 40-50 dogs there.  Everyone was acting responsibly, the dogs were socializing, […]

Gallup resigns Tourist Development Council

Gallup resigns Tourist Development Council

Laurie Gallup, a high-profile member of the watchdog, volunteer Tourist Development Council has resigned, citing frustration with Santa Rosa’s government bureaucracy. A two-year veteran of the council, Gallup is the owner of Navarre Properties, which manages leisure guest accommodations in several condominiums on or near the beach. In her resignation letter sent to TDC Chairman […]

County officials’ travel expenses reviewed

County officials’ travel expenses reviewed

The travel by certain Santa Rosa County officials at taxpayers’ expense to numerous trade shows, government conferences and industry seminars is raising questions about the value of some trips. From the North American Travel Journalists Convention in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to Florida Association of Counties workshops in Ponte Vedra near Jacksonville, the receipts in county […]

Breach on the beach over ‘ragtag’ label

Breach on the beach over ‘ragtag’ label

Former Air Force pilot John Lewis, who flew in Korea and Vietnam, led fellow members of the now-resigned Navarre Beach Beautification Committee to protest County Commissioner Rob Williamson’s recent labeling of them as “ragtag” volunteers. “I’ve never been called ‘ragtag’ before,” said Lewis, a retired lieutenant colonel, speaking to the commission at its meeting Monday. […]

Tough Mudder waffling on promotion promise

Tough Mudder waffling on promotion promise

Despite being given $80,000 in Santa Rosa taxpayer money as an incentive to stage its military-style obstacle course near Milton, Tough Mudder Inc. is apparently reneging on its contractual agreement to host a pre-event party. County tourism officials and commissioners thought they had negotiated the for-profit, New York-based company’s financial support for a party on […]

County resumes sharing tourism taxes with Gulf Breeze

County resumes sharing tourism taxes with Gulf Breeze

The longtime sharing of county tourism tax dollars with the City of Gulf Breeze, which was abruptly halted last fall, will be restarted under a new written agreement that remits to the municipality 90 percent of the money collected by hotels within its borders. Read the full article in the Mar. 10 issue of Navarre […]

County not tracking officials’ social media use

County not tracking officials’ social media use

Santa Rosa County’s guidelines and record-keeping practices for its officials’ use of social media fall short of the standards recommended by the Florida Bar that have been adopted by some other counties, including Escambia. Read the full article in the Feb. 18 issue of Navarre Press. Click HERE to subscribe for as little as $38 […]

Tourism leaders spar over Sand Sculpting event

Tourism leaders spar over Sand Sculpting event

Tourism business leaders have rebuffed a move by District 4 Commissioner Rob Williamson to sidestep the rules of their Florida Legislature-authorized Development Council in overseeing $55,000 to fund the sixth annual Sand Sculpting Festival on Navarre Beach. Members of the volunteer council voted unanimously on Nov. 5 against approving a proposal by Williamson and Tourist […]

Wings & Rings restaurant not a done deal

Wings & Rings restaurant not a done deal

Navarre wing lovers went on an emotional rollercoaster last week when District 4 Commissioner Rob Williamson’s announced Aug. 19 that a $2.5 million Buffalo Wings & Rings restaurant was coming to Navarre. The announcement on his Facebook page included a “thank you” to Santa Rosa County and the Holley-Navarre Water System for their part in […]

Williamson’s one-sided Facebook accounts don’t cut it

Williamson’s one-sided Facebook accounts don’t cut it

After eight months in office, District 4 County Commissioner Rob Williamson still doesn’t understand the purpose of the Fourth Estate – the “press.” He seems to believe social media is an adequate substitute for answering tough questions the reporters tend to ask elected officials. But after the last couple of weeks, we can’t really blame him […]