Despite at least two Santa Rosa County Commissioners voicing opposition to Navarre Beach leaseholders having to pay a portion of the recently completed roughly $15.5 million beach renourishment project, an August 23 public hearing has been scheduled for that purpose.
Earlier this year Florida legislators allocated an extra $5.6 million for the project for which $4.9 million in state and federal funding had already been allocated.
The remaining costs are expected to be covered by local funding, including bed tax revenues and a potential levy on beach leaseholders called a Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU).
In April Commissioner Don Salter said he would like to eliminate any related MSBU assessment on beach leaseholders, stating he would work with the county administrator and budget director to explore that option. Commissioner Bob Cole agreed and suggested using county reserves instead.
However, commissioners went ahead at the time and voted to proceed with required steps toward the assessment, which was reduced after the state announced the additional funding.
Additionally, according to County Engineer Roger Blaylock, the initial project estimate was $17.4 million, but the new project shows it came in under budget at around $15.5 million.
The MSBU assessment may also be further decreased or completely eliminated before the Oct. 1 start of the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
An August 1 letter was sent to affected property owners, advising them of their right to appear at the hearing or file a written objection within 20 days.
“After hearing public comment, the board will determine whether to impose, amend or alter the proposed assessment,” stated the letter.
If approved, affected property owners could see an annual assessment between $87 and $218 for 8 years, starting with their 2016 ad valorem tax bill.
The public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m., Tuesday, August 23 at the County Administrative Complex, located at 6495 Caroline Street in Milton.