MSBU for beach could be eliminated

Posted on June 20, 2016 by Louis Cooper

Santa Rosa County Commissioner Rob Williamson

Thanks to unexpected savings in the cost of renourishing Navarre Beach, the MSBU planned to fund a portion of the project could be eliminated.

At Monday’s Santa Rosa County Commission meeting, County Engineer Roger Blaylock said the final price of the project should be about $1.8 million less than the anticipated $17.4 million. Sand placement has been completed, he said, with vegetation planting expected to continue through July 22.

“It’s nice to have a project come in ahead of schedule and under budget,” Commissioner Rob Williamson, who represents Navarre Beach, said. “I would be in favor of using the reserves from what has been accrued from lease payments (to cover any remaining shortfall) and we could eliminate the MSBU altogether.”

Under the existing funding plan, the cost of the renourishment was to be shared by the state, the county and beach residents through a Municipal Services Benefits Unit, a special taxing district sometimes used to pay for unusual public projects.  Under the MSBU, the average beach property owner would see an assessment between $87 and $218.

Commissioners have until the end of the fiscal year – Sept. 30 – to decide on whether to impose the MSBU.

Also at Monday’s meeting, commissioners gave preliminary approval to a plan to provide $61,225 in funding for the county’s 2016-2017 Tourist Development Office Local Event/Marketing program.

“This is the second time we’ve had this grant process,” Rob Williamson, whose district will feature many of the events, said. “It’s giving us the opportunity to look at all of the events at one time.”

Before the grant cycle process was adopted, events applied for funding individually throughout the year.

Events and organizations included in the funding proposal are:

  • Navarre Beach Snowbirds Club: $2,200
  • Big Screen on the Blackwater (City of Milton): $1,000
  • Bands on the Blackwater Fall Series (City of Milton): $1,700
  • Milton Riverwalk 5K (City of Milton): $2,500
  • Run for the Reef 5K/10K (Navarre Chamber Foundation): $1,000
  • Munson Community Heritage Festival: $3,000
  • Annual Riverwalk Art Festival (Santa Rosa Arts & Culture Foundation): $5,000
  • Gulf Coast Kiln Walk Festival: $5,000
  • Songwriters Beach Blast (Hallway Productions): $5,000
  • Navarre Beach Mardi Gras Parade (Navarre Krewe of Jesters): $4,000
  • Annual Bagdad to Milton Plein Air Paint Out (Santa Rosa Arts & Culture Foundation): $1,325
  • Ocean Commotion: Homeschool Programs (Navarre Beach Marine Science Station): $5,000
  • Annual Autism OdysSea (Navarre Beach Marine Science Station): $5,000
  • Navarre Beach Fishing Rodeo (Navarre Chamber Foundation): $5,000
  • Monarch Madness (Panhandle Butterfly House): $4,000
  • Annual Blueberry Bash (Arc of Emerald Coast Santa Rosa): $2,500
  • Annual Car, Truck & Bike Show (Pirates on the Panhandle): $4,500
  • Bagdad Riverfront Festival (Bagdad Waterfronts Partners): $3,500

Also on Monday. Commissioners gave prelimary approval to the special event application from the Krewe of Karibbean to host the third annual Dead Pirate 5K Run/Walk on Oct. 22. The event will take place on Navarre Beach on Gulf Boulevard, Indiana Street, White Sands Boulevard and Arkansas Street.

Generally, commissioners discuss items at committee meetings on Mondays with decisions coming at the regular meeting the following Thursday. The meeting on Thursday, June 23, is set for 9 a.m. at the Administrative Office Complex, located at 6495 U.S. 90, Milton (behind McDonald’s).

Also on Thursday, the commission will also conduct a rezoning meeting at 6 p.m. at the Administrative Office Complex

Items on the rezoning agenda include:

  • Conditional Use request to allow Holley Navarre Water System to construct a water storage tank and booster pump on a parcel in the 2100 Block of State Road 87 South in Navarre, which is zoned Highway Commercial Development – Heart of Navarre Overlay.
  • Rezoning request from Parker Properties for a 9.2 acre parcel in 2500 block of State Road 87 S in Navarre from Single Family Residential to Highway Commercial Development.