Santa Rosa County

Santa Rosa County

  After going through 56 applications for a new Administrator, Santa Rosa County officials have their man – from just down the hall.

Tony Gomillion will move from his current position as the county’s Public Service Director since 2003, into the chair being vacated by Hunter Walker – who’s retiring next month after 20 years. 

“Taking the next step,” said Gomillion. “Having a desire to have a challenge, meet the challenge, and put together a new team of strong leaders for our county.”

Santa Rosa County officials are looking 30 years into the future, and are asking residents for ideas on how to get there.

First of all, just what is a “comprehensive plan?” For that, we turn to Don Salter, who chairs the Santa Rosa County Commission.

“[It] pretty much identifies a long-range plan on how you’re going to continue to develop your county,” said Salter. “Land use, concurrency on highways, school concurrency, protection of your rural farmlands. And the requirements necessary to support that growth.”

Florida Dept of Environmental Protection

Santa Rosa County officials will go through a list of 15 project applications seeking part of 4.3 million dollars in RESTORE Act money from the BP oil spill.

The original 56 projects were scored and ranked by technical teams, with those offering sustainability and lasting impact making the cut.

Officials from Santa Rosa County are crafting a strategy to encourage and manage retail development.  Shannon Ogletree, the Director of Economic Development for Santa Rosa County says because the county is growing so fast,  officials want to produce guidelines so retail development is planned and not haphazard. Ogletree, along with County Commissioner Jayer Williamson and Milton City Manager Brian Watkins recently attended an international retail convention in Las Vegas to begin the process of forming a retail strategy for Santa Rosa County.

Santa Rosa Farmer's Market Association

Coming up Saturday the Pace area will be home to a new farmer's market. Last fall farmers approached Santa Rosa County Extension's commercial horticulture agent, Blake Baxton, to talk about the possibility of starting a farmer's market in Santa Rosa County.

A series of workshops have been scheduled over the next two weeks to help area homeowners fight what has been called a breed of “super termites.”  Florida Representative Doug Broxson will be hosting the four free workshop around the area to warn homeowners and help them prepare for these pests.

The deadline for residents in Santa Rosa County to apply for money from the RESTORE Act for their projects is this Friday. Because of that, there are calls going out not to get in the paperwork by Thursday.    

“A special note on that deadline,” said Sheila Fitzgerald, the county’s Grants Director. “We do realize that it is the Good Friday holiday. So we are encouraging anyone that is planning to submit a proposal to try and get that in if at all possible by Thursday. That way, if they run into any technical issues, there will be staff on hand.”

Major road projects, and their price tags, are forcing the Santa Rosa County Commission to explore new ways to pay for them. One possible solution is raising the county’s gasoline tax.

Commission Chairman Don Salter says the need stems from the loss of road project money from the Florida Department of Transportation's Small County Outreach Program. Once providing more than $7 million, or 75% of funding for eligible projects, the payouts ended when the county’s population grew beyond eligibility standards.

American Diabetes Association

The Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County is offering a new program, aimed at heading off the onset of Type-2 diabetes in those most prone to develop the disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three American adults has pre-diabetes.

“Pre-diabetes means that your blood sugar on average is higher than it should be, but it’s not yet at the threshold for a diagnosis of diabetes,” said Sandra Park-O’Hara, Administrator of the Department of Health in Santa Rosa.

Cold Weather Shelters Open In Santa Rosa & Okaloosa

Feb 13, 2015
Photo via Flickr// MTSOfan

Cold Weather Shelters across the region will be opening their doors through the weekend as temperatures are predicted to dip below 40 degrees. 

In Okaloosa County, the cold weather shelters are part of the Cold Night Program and operated by a group of local churches.