Samantha Abell

The City of Gulf Breeze audit cost mounts

The City of Gulf Breeze audit cost mounts

The cost to the City of Gulf Breeze for the state’s 17-month-long operational audit has now exceeded $63,000 and consumed 1,827 hours worked on the project by city employees—and counting. Begun in April 2018, the intensive examination requested by State Sen. Doug Broxson isn’t over yet although a draft review of the findings is underway […]

Fairpoint finding its way again

Fairpoint finding its way again

While agreement on what caused water flow problems over Memorial Day weekend still may seem elusive, unity on a path forward appears to have come to the member utilities of Fairpoint Regional Utility System. Representatives from Holley Navarre Water System (HNWS) and Midway Water System agreed at the July 23 board meeting to work together […]

Who’s in charge at Fairpoint?

Who’s in charge at Fairpoint?

South Santa Rosa’s water providers had a bad weekend over the Memorial Day holiday, according to records provided during the Fairpoint Utility board’s meeting June 25. Fairpoint Regional Utility System is a joint venture of south Santa Rosa County water providers to source water from wells in the north end of the county.   Read […]

New hotels worry Gulf Breeze residents

New hotels worry Gulf Breeze residents

Only four years after a developer warned Gulf Breeze residents that if the little city didn’t approve his plans for an apartment complex next to a single-family home neighborhood, he might build a hotel there instead. The neighbors didn’t blink, kept up their objections and that developer went away.   Read the full article in […]

Federal probe of United Way nears conclusion

Federal probe of United Way nears conclusion

The federal investigation into the United Way of Santa Rosa County’s finances that began last October is expected to conclude in March with the release of information about its findings. Davey Willhoit, the charity’s new chairman, told the Navarre Press earlier this week that he participated in a phone call by some volunteer board members […]

Pensacola Bay bridge replacement completion a moving target

Pensacola Bay bridge replacement completion a moving target

The general contractor on the Pensacola Bay Bridge replacement missed its Feb. 5 deadline for a $15 million bonus, raising questions about when the overall $420 million project can be completed. Although a roadside sign near the construction site in Gulf Breeze has long proclaimed “summer 2020” for the six-lane, three-mile span to be finished, […]

State audit roils Gulf Breeze City Hall

State audit roils Gulf Breeze City Hall

State auditors who started a probe of Gulf Breeze finances and operations last April continue to ask more questions in an examination destined to extend into summer. “I have spoken with the city manager (Samantha Abell), who expressed her frustration about this,” said State Sen. Doug Broxson. Read the full article in the Jan. 31 […]

Gulf Breeze abandons contentious land claim

Gulf Breeze abandons contentious land claim

With a new mayor and two freshman city council members, the City of Gulf Breeze is giving up its long fight to win control of a narrow strip of land between two private homes that has cost the municipality’s taxpayers more than $800,000. “The city is abandoning its claim,” City Attorney Mary Jane Bass told […]

Gulf Breeze audit and legal pressures grow

Gulf Breeze audit and legal pressures grow

The state audit that City of Gulf Breeze officials tried to avoid is expanding at a time when the municipality just lost the latest round of a controversial and costly property rights case. City Manager Samantha Abell told the Navarre Press that the Florida Auditor General’s operational review, which began last April, is requiring her […]

United Way regroups during FBI probe

United Way regroups during FBI probe

The federal probe of finances at the United Way of Santa Rosa County may be delving into matters of donations, spending and the charity’s payroll that few if any of its 27 directors understand. That’s because the nonprofit had a “separate budget” in addition to its regular ledger in 2015 and 2016, according to Guy […]

United Way financial questions mount

United Way financial questions mount

As federal agents continue their probe into finances at United Way of Santa Rosa, records at the agency show that staff salaries there kept soaring before the volunteer board recently stepped in to put three employees on paid leave and order a special audit. While donations and grants have been on a roller coaster at […]

Changes promised by Gulf Breeze candidates

Changes promised by Gulf Breeze candidates

More government transparency, less litigation and increased civility toward residents who speak out at City Council meetings are being promised by both candidates for mayor in Gulf Breeze. David Landfair, who has been on the council for eight years, is making himself sound like an outsider bent on reform at times. Read the full article […]

Utility tweaks Tiger Point land sale for school

Utility tweaks Tiger Point land sale for school

If you buy it, you fix it. That’s essentially what the City of Gulf Breeze wants the Santa Rosa School District to do as a condition to purchase 45 acres of land on Tiger Point Golf Club property. Read the full article in the Oct. 25 issue of Navarre Press. Visit www.navarrepress.com/subscribe to view subscription […]

Gulf Breeze grapples with stormwater costs

Gulf Breeze grapples with stormwater costs

Raising the monthly stormwater utility fee by more than 80 percent to $9.20 is being proposed for City of Gulf Breeze homeowners. But even that increase won’t be enough to cover the utility’s long-term costs and pay off debt, according to documents provided by City Manager Samantha Abell. Read the full article in the Sept. […]

Holley Navarre wary of effluent spraying deal

Holley Navarre wary of effluent spraying deal

Once closely allied, Holley Navarre Water System and the City of Gulf Breeze are now at arm’s length. Not only is the revamped board of HNWS backing away from a proposed contract under which it would have paid an estimated $8 million dollars over two decades to spray treated wastewater on land that the city’s […]

State probe of Gulf Breeze may take months

State probe of Gulf Breeze may take months

  After three months of sifting through tips from would-be sources, state auditors are still trying to decide how far and deep their planned look into City of Gulf Breeze operations will be. The Florida Auditor General’s staff had planned to set up shop at Gulf Breeze City Hall by the end of March, but […]

Gulf Breeze says flood control grants drying up

Gulf Breeze says flood control grants drying up

The squeeze could be on soon for City of Gulf Breeze homeowners to pay special assessments for stormwater control now that officials there have acknowledged that the prospect of more government grants is unlikely. That’s a sea change in a city where a blue ribbon Stormwater Task Force got off to a fast start after […]

Rancor over red-light cameras resurfaces

Rancor over red-light cameras resurfaces

  Retired Navy Senior Chief Geoff Ross recently looked for hot-button issues in his candidacy for the Santa Rosa County Commission and hit on a controversial target in the red-light cameras used for traffic enforcement. Read the full article in the Jan. 25 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as […]

Scope of Gulf Breeze probe could widen

Scope of Gulf Breeze probe could widen

The planned inquiry by the Florida Auditor General’s Office into the City of Gulf Breeze’s finances will take several months and may extend to questions about controversial legal expenditures. Requested recently by State Sen. Doug Broxson, the audit will bring a Tallahassee-based team of accountants and other specialists to set up shop at Gulf Breeze […]

Gulf Breeze makeover needs investors

Gulf Breeze makeover needs investors

The City of Gulf Breeze’s recent $30 million request for BP oil spill funds is part of a push to solve its identity crisis. The beachy hamlet of about 6,000 souls “currently lacks a ‘Town Center,’” according to the makeover proposal submitted by City Manager Samantha Abell. Creating a new civic and commercial core would […]

Water board faces outside political pressure

Water board faces outside political pressure

Do it our way. That’s the message from City of Gulf Breeze officials to the Holley Navarre Water System board about a controversial proposal to refinance $9.8 million in debt held by the collective from which the utility buys most of its water. A majority of HNWS directors recently rebuffed the inperson pitch by Fairpoint […]

Legal-fee squabble roils Gulf Breeze

Legal-fee squabble roils Gulf Breeze

If William Shakespeare wrote today about the City of Gulf Breeze’s long-running legal fight in the so-called Catawba Street “Land Grab” case, he might well tweak his famous line in Henry VI thusly: “Let’s pay all the lawyers.” In fact, before anything else gets decided in a 30-year-old case that won’t die, opposing attorneys are […]

Gulf Breeze City Hall shifts gears

Gulf Breeze City Hall shifts gears

Gulf Breeze leadership will soon take on a new look when longtime City Manager Edwin “Buz” Eddy steps aside into a part-time advisory role and a successor is named to lead the 6,000-resident municipality. Saying it’s time to “turn the page,” Eddy last week followed through with the retirement he has recently hinted at. Read […]