Santa Rosa County Commission

Some familiar names are showing up on a list of candidates wanting to succeed Hunter Walker as Santa Rosa County administrator.

Thirty-eight contenders had submitted applications by last Friday’s deadline, including former Escambia County interim administrator Larry Newsome; Tony Gomillion, the county’s current public services director, and Jonathan Lewis, the former executive officer at NAS Whiting Field.

The Santa Rosa County Commission is beginning the search for a new administrator. A draft announcement was discussed in Monday’s committee meeting.

Hunter Walker plans to retire on December 31, after two decades as Santa Rosa’s top non-elected governmental official. He made the announcement in mid-April, timing it to allow the panel as much time as needed to make its plans.

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.

U.S. Navy

Hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of jobs could be created through construction of Whiting Field Aviation Park. That’s what Santa Rosa County officials are telling the area’s legislative delegation.

County Commission Chairman Don Salter Monday hosted a tour of the county-owned site: 269 acres adjacent to NAS Whiting Field, in search of $8 million from the state to move the project forward. The funds likely would be delivered in two, $4 million increments.

Santa Rosa County

The loss of millions of dollars in state grant money for road projects next year, is prompting the Santa Rosa County Commission to explore other revenue streams. One possibility is a hike in the county’s gas tax.

  Beginning with the New Year, residents in northern Santa Rosa County will have the opportunity to sign up for a new waste and recyclable collection service from Emerald Coast Utilities Authority.

Both the ECUA Board and Santa Rosa County Commission approved the program last week. ECUA was the low bidder for the contrac, offering a quarterly charge of $51.27. That beat out the bids from Waste Management and Waste Pro. ECUA’s Nathalie Bowers says the charge will pay for a number of services.

West Florida Recycling

West Florida Recycling has filed for bankruptcy protection, as it seeks to rebound from what officials call a “perfect storm” of adversity.

Chief Executive Officer Larry Hoover says the “perfect storm” – including debts totaling $1 million -- led to the Chapter-11 filing.

“The issue with the storm water runoff and the flooding, the major drop in commodity prices over the last year, and they all kind of came together at once,” said Hoover.

brandonbaker.com

Naval Air Station Whiting Field has secured more than 490 acres, as part of its double mission of conservation and mission buffering.

That brings to roughly 3,500 acres the amount of land adjacent to the base that’s been purchased. Whiting Field worked on the transaction with Santa Rosa County, Navy Region Southeast and the Naval Facilities Command Southeast.

Total cost was $1.2 million. The money came from the Navy Readiness Environmental Protection Integration, and a grant from the Santa Rosa County Defense Infrastructure.

Nachetz

The Santa Rosa County Commission is at odds with the company providing recycling services to the county. But a resolution could come as early as Thursday morning’s regular meeting.

County Attorney Angela Jones says the complaints – such as overflowing drop-off sites, unattended properties, and a 30 thousand dollar debt owed to the county – are considered violations of the five-year contract signed in 2012. County Administrator Hunter Walker concurred, but added that short of the county going back into the recycling business, they have no other choice.