New jobs, protecting base and new administrator on Santa Rosa agenda today

  • November 9, 2015
  • /   Louis Cooper
  • /   community-dashboard

Jobs and Careers

Today, the Santa Rosa County Commission is set to consider leasing land to a company that promises to bring new jobs to Milton, it's going to discuss a grant intended to help protect a local Navy base and its supposed to pick Santa Rosa's first new county administrator in 20 years.

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The meeting starts at 9 a.m. at the Tiger Point Community Center, located at 1370 Tiger Park Lane, Gulf Breeze.

The agenda is located at The meeting is streamed at

Generally, Monday meetings — called committee meetings — are where issues are discussed in detail, while final decisions are usually made at the regular meeting the following Thursday.

Commissioners are set to consider a bid by PowerSecure to lease 18 acres in the county-owned Santa Rosa Industrial Park in East Milton for three year at $525.06 per month. PowerSecure already has a facility in the park and would use this property for training.

"The property is needed for a training area to simulate field conditions for certifications in CDL, flagging, first aid and digger derrick," Shannon Ogletree, the county's economic development director wrote.

The company "would like to make Santa Rosa County their headquarters for training. The company will clear the land at their expense and will obtain all necessary permits to build an electrical substation and add power poles for the on-hands portion of the school."

Details of the project include:

— 10 new employees over a three year period.

— Average wage above 150 percent of the county wage.

—10-week courses with up to 65 students for year one.

— Up to 200 students by year four.

— Lodging and meals from $45,000 to $100,000.

Commissioners are also set to discuss the latest Defense Infrastructure Grant Agreement with Florida Department of Economic Opportunity in the amount of $300,000 for ongoing base buffering around Whiting Field Naval Air Station.

{{business_name}}Whiting Field Naval Air Station.

Whiting Field Naval Air Station.

Since 2003, Santa Rosa County has used such grants to purchase land and development rights on about 1,739 acres around the base north of Milton.

Private development and government employment — including that associated with military bases — are import to the local economy as measured by labor force participation, the number of middle class households and per capita income, all metrics on the Studer Community Institute's Dashboard.

The dashboard, created in collaboration with the University of West Florida, is a snapshot of the community’s economic, educational and social well-being.

Commissioners are also scheduled to select a candidate to become the next county administrator to replace Hunter Walker, who is leaving the post after two decades on the job. The three finalists are:

— Randall Dowling, of Hoschton, Ga. He was county administrator of Barrow County, Ga., until recently. He has also served as county administrator for Gordon, Lee and Berrian counties in Georgia, among other local government jobs, including some in Florida. He holds a master’s of public administration from the University of North Texas.

— Tony Gomillion, of Jay, who is the current public services director of Santa Rosa County. He was also the county’s former environmental control officer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of West Florida.

— Ted Lakey, of Graceville, Fla., where he serves as the administrator of Jackson County. He is the former superintendent of the Escambia County public works department, and a former correction’s lieutenant in Birmingham, Ala. He holds a master’s of public administration from the University of West Florida.

The county advertised an annual salary range of $115,000 to $145,000 for the job, based on the candidate’s qualifications and experience. Walker's current salary is $132,412.

"I expect the board to select the candidate Monday," Walker said on Friday. "The action for Thursday would be to direct staff to negotiate employment contract with the successful candidate for board approval."

Also at Thursday's meeting, commissioners are scheduled to hold a public hearing on an ordinance that would allow tourist-related events to apply for special events permits to sell alcohol on Sundays in the north end of the county. Currently, Sunday alcohol sales are banned north of the Yellow River.

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