Proposed New Judicial Center for Santa Rosa County
The current Santa Rosa County Courthouse is located in
downtown Milton. Built in 1927, the building size is no longer sufficient for
all the necessary courthouse functions. The design of the building creates
security issues for the public and staff. The parking, heating and cooling
system, and phone and computer network infrastructure are no longer adequate
for daily operations. A new judicial center that can serve our citizens today -
and up to 75 years in the future - is a critical need for Santa Rosa County.
Since 2000, the Santa Rosa County Commission has discussed
the location and funding for a new judicial center. The content and links below provide a timeline of the courthouse
discussions that have led to the current status.
31, 2016 – A
vote for a five-year, half-cent sales tax to fund a new judicial center was not approved
by 819 votes (2.58%).
May 12, 2016 – The board accepted the HOK final conceptual
report on the courthouse siting and design. HOK has been directed to meet with the
parties involved to see if there are any space savings that can be realized so
a reduction can be made to the $35 million estimated cost and proposed 135,000
s.f. overall size of the courthouse. The board approved moving forward with a
half-cent sales tax for five years for the judicial center only on the August
ballot, with the staff looking at reducing the size of the building, as well as
a half-cent sales tax for public safety, infrastructure, drainage and other
April 11, 2016 – L.O.S.T. Board Workshop – The
commission hosted a public workshop to discuss a proposed local option sales
tax, of which proceeds could benefit both the construction of a new courthouse
as well as capital improvements. The proposed courthouse cannot be paid for out
of current revenue. The only option for funding is through an additional
revenue source, such as a Local Option Sales Tax. A one-cent sales tax would
generate $14 million per year for the county.
February 25, 2016 – The commission discussed the proposed
courthouse location further and voted to approve the downtown location based on
additional information provided by consultant HOK and the city of Milton. The
motion was approved three to two with Commissioners Salter and Cole opposed.
February 1, 2016 –Consulting firm HOK gave a presentation
on the courthouse including a wetland boundary study of Pine Street and concept
site plan options. The commission discussed pros and cons of the location and
placed the item on the agenda for further discussion.