Santa Rosa County courthouse

Determining new fate of old courthouse

Determining new fate of old courthouse

For the first time in 92 years, the Santa Rosa County Courthouse in downtown Milton will likely be vacant. After more than 20 years of argument and failed ballot measures, the county has concrete plans to move judicial services to a new location along Avalon Boulevard. Read the full article in the April 11 issue […]

Funding for courthouse, sheriff cause budget uncertainty

Funding for courthouse, sheriff cause budget uncertainty

Despite budget votes being more than 7 months away, Santa Rosa county commissioners are already wrangling with two major funding decisions in the wake of Thursday’s early Budget Workshop. One major point of concern is how to fund the $45 million price tag on a new courthouse and judicial complex. Read the full article in […]

Courthouse contractor picked, construction to begin

Courthouse contractor picked, construction to begin

After more than 20 years of debate, construction of a new Santa Rosa County courthouse will begin this year according to county officials. The Santa Rosa County Commission took a huge step in that direction Tuesday, selecting the firm that will design and build a new judicial center complex along Avalon Boulevard in Milton. Read […]

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 […]

Navarre Master Site plan set to begin

Navarre Master Site plan set to begin

County Commissioners Monday selected the firm that will shape Navarre’s future or at least the plan for it. Matrix Design Group was selected by a three to two vote to create a District 4 Master Plan. District 4 includes Navarre, Holley and Navarre Beach. The firm will be paid approximately $80,000 to $150,000 for the […]

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 […]

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 […]

Courthouse quest still confounds commission

Courthouse quest still confounds commission

When ideas began to emerge for a new Santa Rosa County courthouse 17 years ago, District 1 Commissioner Sam Parker was a student at Milton High School. While the 32-year-old freshman commissioner expressed optimism about prospects for a new courthouse at Monday’s board meeting, he saw firsthand examples of the disagreements and disparate approaches that […]

Courthouse verdict déjà vu

Courthouse verdict déjà vu

With downtown Milton now in the rearview mirror as the site for a new county courthouse, Santa Rosa commissioners say they’re open to offers of free land or good buys in likely locations. Read the full article in the March 9 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 per […]

New courthouse site could be Avalon area

New courthouse site could be Avalon area

The search for prospective sites for a new Santa Rosa County Courthouse is resuming in the wake of an abrupt about-face by Milton officials who no longer insist that it be located downtown. Read the full article in the Feb. 23 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 per […]

Bomb threat at courthouse

Bomb threat at courthouse

Dozens of defendants, plaintiffs and attorneys exited the Santa Rosa County Courthouse Thursday morning after a bomb threat. Sheriffs deputies began evacuating the building about 9:30 without explanation–telling people the courthouse won’t be open until at least 2 p.m. Sheriffs Department Capt. Blevin Davis told the Navarre Press, “We had a bomb threat. We are […]

Logistics of the Local Option Sales Tax

Logistics of the Local Option Sales Tax

While county commissioners and staff are still sorting out the half-cent local option sales tax (LOST) issues, there is clarity on when the county will have those dollars in hand. Read the full article in the Feb. 16 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 per year.

Santa Rosa’s growth gap increasing

Santa Rosa’s growth gap increasing

Although the central and south areas of Santa Rosa have long outpaced the north in residential development, the disparity is rising amid a wave of homebuilding since the Great Recession. The number of new houses built in Santa Rosa below the Blackwater River area—from Milton to Navarre Beach—reached 1,243 in 2015, the most recent year […]

Aydelott faces judge trial date

Aydelott faces judge trial date

The final date has been set for murder suspect and Gulf Breeze native Brandon William Aydelott, 20, to stand trial Tuesday, Oct. 11, for the Christmas Eve murder of his mother Sharron Aydelott. Aydelott will face a trial by judge rather than a jury state attorney Bill Eddins said. “In a case like this where […]

Move afoot to get Parker seated now

Move afoot to get Parker seated now

Republican nominee Sam Parker is the only candidate left standing for the District 1 County Commissioner’s seat after write-in candidate Caleb Boudreaux dropped out Sept. 1. If he had defeated Boudreaux in the general election he would have taken office Nov. 15 at the end of previous commissioner Jayer Williamson’s term, but the seat is […]

No property tax increase seen for courthouse

No property tax increase seen for courthouse

Santa Rosa residents won’t have to pay higher ad valorem taxes because they rejected the referendum to fund a new county courthouse in downtown Milton with a temporary sales tax increase. Although some commissioners had indicated before the election that higher property taxes seemed the only alternative to building the $35 million courthouse, three of […]

Milton and county seek courthouse tax alternatives

Milton and county seek courthouse tax alternatives

Searching for support on the proposed local-option sales tax to build a new downtown Milton courthouse, city leaders ponied up $5,000 for a mass mailing to voters as time ran short before this week’s election. But even before the ballots were counted, Milton’s city council and some paid officials started strategizing to cope with the […]

Santa Rosa splits on sales tax

Santa Rosa splits on sales tax

Enthusiasm for the two proposed half-penny sales-tax measures is much higher on the north end of Santa Rosa County than in Navarre or Gulf Breeze. As the Aug. 30 election nears, yard signs are easily noticeable in the Milton area, where the planned new county courthouse would be built with revenue from one of the […]

Tourist Development committee needs their voice back

Tourist Development committee needs their voice back

Numerous articles in Navarre Press over the past year and few months have highlighted the pains endured and discord with the Board of County Commissioners that continues to plague the all-volunteer advisory Tourist Development Council.  The Legislature-mandated council is made up of tourism stake-holders as required by Florida Statute 125.0104.  While the statute allows for […]

Commission focuses on cleaning up Santa Rosa Sound

Commission focuses on cleaning up Santa Rosa Sound

The county’s commitment to cleaning up Santa Rosa Sound where unhealthy levels of bacteria have been discovered will include pursuing the sources of that pollution, commissioners have declared. Their decision came while setting priorities to spend roughly $28 million in BP oil spill compensation monies that the county is expected to receive in the next […]

Sales tax spending group to exclude commissioners

Sales tax spending group to exclude commissioners

If the proposed half-cent sales tax for new county infrastructure is passed by voters on Aug. 30, the business community group backing it wants an advisory panel that’s independent of county commissioners to help decide how the money is spent. Citing concern about “public trust,” Ed Carson, who heads Moving Santa Rosa Forward, a volunteer […]

Sales-tax allies distance themselves from courthouse

Sales-tax allies distance themselves from courthouse

Sensing voter resistance to a new county courthouse in Milton, the business community group that supports an additional Santa Rosa sales-tax plans to promote only the Aug. 30 ballot measure about paying for other infrastructure. That’s because the volunteer Moving Santa Rosa Forward organization, which plans to use mailers and yard signs, fears that tying […]

Fate of old courthouse building undetermined

Fate of old courthouse building undetermined

While argument over the location and funding of a new county courthouse is in full swing, the fate of the old courthouse remains unclear. Built in 1927, the building at 6865 Caroline Street in Milton, Fla. has served as Santa Rosa County’s court building for more than 80 years, costing $137,000 to build. There is […]

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 […]

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 […]

Downscaled courthouse-tax vote set for Aug. 30

Downscaled courthouse-tax vote set for Aug. 30

As Santa Rosa County commissioners have discussed the proposed new courthouse in recent weeks, and a new one-half cent sales tax to pay for it, both have shrunk. Now the stage is set for voters to decide if the building and its funding -both downscaled last week by about one-third in their latest incarnations – […]

Courthouse size and funding to be cut

Courthouse size and funding to be cut

Santa Rosa commissioners took a long look at the latest engineering cost analysis of a new county courthouse and agreed that the projected size and estimated $50 million tab must both be scaled back. The panel also acknowledged that the proposed local sales tax increase of one cent on retail purchases be cut in half […]

Courthouse report submitted to commissioners

Courthouse report submitted to commissioners

Conceptual design renderings have been released to the Board of County Commissioners in preparation for Monday’s BOCC Committee meeting.  The company responsible for the renderings, HOK, will present a report to the commissioners that includes renderings, timelines, construction details and a cost estimate.  The proposed center is slated to be a three-story building with 135,000 […]

Timing of sales-tax vote under scrutiny

Timing of sales-tax vote under scrutiny

Some backers of the proposed 1-cent sales tax to pay for a new Santa Rosa County courthouse are debating whether their plan should be put before the voters in prime time. They’re unsure if a required countywide referendum about the local- option sales tax will stand a better chance on the August primary ballot, or […]

Courthouse cost and tax details remain unclear

Courthouse cost and tax details remain unclear

The clock is ticking on Santa Rosa County commissioners to make their case to voters for a 1-cent local option sales tax that would help pay for a new courthouse in Milton. To get the proposed tax on the ballot next August that language must be crafted by June 1, but so far the commissioners […]