Santa Rosa considers bed tax deal with Airbnb

Posted on July 21, 2016 by

Santa Rosa County leaders have inked a deal that will dictate how the online rental booking company Airbnb will pay bed taxes for units rented through its services.

“The online vacation rental industry has continued to evolve during recent years and Airbnb is a major vendor in this market,” County Administrator Tony Gomillion wrote in a memo to Santa Rosa County commissioners.

“A number of counties around the state have reached agreements with Airbnb and the State Department of Revenue has an agreement on behalf of some counties. There are a few counties that are considering litigation against Airbnb.”

Under the draft agreement, San Francisco-based Airbnb would act as collection agent for the county’s accommodation tax, also known as the “bed tax.” However, the names of individuals who book units with Airbnb will not be disclosed.

The terms of the agreement will become valid upon the effective date – to be set at the time of adoption – and will not be retroactive.

Commissioners are scheduled to discuss the proposal at Monday’s committee meeting, set for 9 a.m. at the Santa Rosa County Administrative Office Complex, located at 6495 U.S. 90, Milton (behind McDonald’s).

The agenda for Monday’s meeting is available at Commission meetings are broadcast live at

Also on Monday, commissioners are set to hear a presentation from the Florida Department of Transportation on a planned safety study of U.S. 98. The study area goes from Postside Drive near the Gacron Point Bridge to Mary Esther in Okaloosa County.

The study will investigate:

  • Widening the existing roadway
  • Improving intersection operations
  • Evaluating accident locations to improve safety
  • Providing multi-modal opportunities for Cars & trucks, park-and-ride Lots, bicycles and pedestrians

Various aspects of the study are expected to continue through August 2019.

Other items on Monday’s agenda include:

  • Discussion of the “BearWise” state grant funding initiative and application as well as a draft “BearWise” ordinance.
  • Special event application from the Holley Navarre Intermediate School Parent Teacher Organization to host the Holley Navarre Intermediate Color Run on Oct. 1, 2016.
  • Special event application from the Blue Knights Florida XXI to host a low impact motorcycle event Knights of the Round Table on Oct. 29, 2016, on Navarre Beach.
  • Special event application for the “I Embody All Things Great 5K” set for April 1, 2017, on Navarre Beach.

Generally, commissioners discuss items at committee meetings on Mondays with decisions coming at the regular meeting the following Thursday. The meeting on Thursday, July 28, is set for 9 a.m. at the Administrative Office Complex.

At the conclusion of the regular meeting on Thursday, the commission will convene a closed “executive session” to discuss pending litigation brought against the county by Blue Water Holdings SRC concering a landfill proposal rejected by the county.

The discussion of pending litigation is one of the few instances in which Florida law allows a public body such as a County Commission or City Council close a meeting to the public. The meeting must be advertised and the minutes of the meeting must be made available at the conclusion of the litigation.

On Thursday night, commissioners will conduct a rezoning meeting at the Administrative Office Complex in Milton. Items on that agenda include:

  • A request by Flynn Building Specialist to rezone one acre on Old Broxson Road in Navarre from restricted industrial to single family residential, allowing four homes to be build on the property. The Planing & Zoning Board recommended approval of this change by 8-1 vote, with Don Richards objecting.

The agenda for the rezoning meeting is available at