Commission to discuss penny sales tax

Posted on October 4, 2015 by Deborah Nelson


Monday morning, Santa Rosa County Commissioners will further discuss plans to add a one-cent sales tax to next year’s ballot.

Commissioners say they need the additional tax for Sheriff’s Office equipment, parks and recreation facilities, stormwater projects and a new courthouse.

Earlier this year, County Administrator Hunter Walker proposed the board increase revenues by raising property taxes by more than 6 percent. But instead commissioners approved only a 3-percent increase and raised the local gas tax from 6 to 12 cents — to better match the gas tax in neighboring counties, which are about twice Santa Rosa’s previous rate.

Voters must approve the one-cent local option sales tax for it to be enacted.

At the same meeting, commissioners will also be updated on the status of the recruitment process to replace Walker, who retires in December.

The 9-candidate short list includes some familiar names, including former Escambia County Interim Administrator Larry Newsom and current Santa Rosa Public Services Director Tony Gomillion.

Tomorrow morning’s agenda also includes discussion on:

  • An ordinance that would allow commissioners to grant special exemptions for alcohol at local events.
  • Selling 2 acres of land at the Industrial Park to Gulf Cable Properties for $35,000.
  • Moving forward with bank mortgages for HoliCorp’s new hotel on the beach.
  • “Partnering” with local green energy nonprofit Gulf Coast Energy Network to apply for a free “Smart Growth” workshop.

Additionally, the board will discuss eliminating developer impact fees — charges developers pay for added traffic brought by new development. The board says impact fee criteria are outdated and no longer usable.  They have said they may consider a new impact fee ordinance in the future.  The impact fee hearing happens Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

Tomorrow’s Commission Committee hearing happens at 9 a.m. at the Santa Rosa County Administrative Center Board Room, 6495 Caroline Street, Milton. The video of the meeting can be viewed at