North End Commissioners Not Supportive of Redistricting

Posted on October 26, 2021 by Romi White

County GIS Coordinator Tanya Gallagher presented a proposed map, showing a new line for District 2 extended south to East River, adding the community of Holley into the boundary.

Santa Rosa County has launched a webpage to gather public input on proposed redistricting, which could potentially shift power from three north end to the south end commissioners. However, three north end commissioners today suggested they favor keeping boundaries “as is.”

Santa Rosa County GIS Coordinate Tonya Gallagher during today’s meeting made a presentation, suggesting the community of Holley be shifted into District 2 so that each of the five commissioners more equally represents a portion of the county’s 188,000 population.

From 2010 to 2020, Santa Rosa’s population grew 23% from 152,908, per census data.

The proposed change for Holley would shift around 2,490 residents from District 4 into District 2, per today’s presentation.

District 4 Commissioner Dave Piech said he would be ok with Holley being shifted into District 2 to even out the representation.

However, all three north end commissioners expressed concerns about the proposed changes or support for leaving districting “as is” and not pursuing redistricting.

District 1 Commissioner Sam Parker, who represents Pace, said adding Holley could make District 2 more diverse than it already is (geographically).

“I am fully happy with my district lines,” said District 3 Commissioner James Calkins. “Commissioner Parker made some excellent points.”

Calkins jokingly added that businesses which have the Holley-Navarre name, such as Holley-Navarre Water System, would have to be changed to Holley-Milton. 

A representative from Nabors Giblin, which currently provides legal counsel for the board, said that the county could possible use “geographic integrity” as a reason not to pursue redistricting.

Commissioners will further discuss the matter during their November 9 meeting and, depending on public input, may take an official vote during that meeting.

Per state requirements, redistricting has to be pursued during an odd year and could not be done in 2022.

Citizens can have their say in the matter before commissioners decide via this webpage: