Cole aims to remove Navarre commissioner from tourism council

Posted on December 8, 2017 by Staff reports

In an unprecedented move, Santa Rosa County Commission Chairman Bob Cole is seeking to remove the Navarre district commissioner as the board’s representative on the county tourist development council.

Supporting documentation for the December 11 board of county commission committee meeting shows that Cole’s nomination for committee assignments aims to replace District 4 Commissioner Rob Williamson with District 1 Commissioner Sam Parker on the TDC.

For at the least the past 15 years the Navarre area commissioner has represented the county commission on the TDC because District 4 (Navarre Beach area) generates more than 65% of the Santa Rosa County’s bed tax collections.

County data provided yesterday shows that District 4 has 2,853 accommodations available for guests — compared with District 1 (Pace), which has only one bed tax collector, a nudist resort, Riviera Naturist Resort, located on Guernsey Road in Pace.

Cole has not yet responded to South Santa Rosa News’ inquiry seeking the reason behind his action.

“In business when experiencing a period of unprecedented growth and success, like we are seeing in our tourism numbers currently, you would not make a change in leadership; so the timing of his decision is certainly odd,” stated District 4 Commissioner Rob Williamson. “Replacing the district responsible for 65 percent of our tourism revenue with the district that has zero lodging partners and contributes zero dollars to our tourism economy seems like the decision a rookie would make, not a decision you would normally see from a career politician like Commissioner Cole.
I’m sure he has a good reason for making this historic change. District Four residents and the small business owners who depend on our tourism economy will no doubt be interested to hear what that reason is next week.”

The board of county commissioners is set to discuss the matter at their 9 a.m. committee meeting, Monday, December 11. The meeting will take place at the County Administrative Complex, located at 6495 Caroline Street in Milton.

County commissioners can be reached via