On Monday, June 22, 2015, the Santa Rosa Island Authority (SRIA) Board adopted its budget for fiscal 2016. The budget reflects the transfer of the Public Works (maintenance) and Public Safety (lifeguards) to Escambia County effective October 1, 2015. This will reduce the SRIA’s operating budget by about 50%. The SRIA Board directed a corresponding 50% reduction in residential and commercial lease fees.
The SRIA budget is subject to review and approval by the Escambia County Board of Commissioners. The County Administrator, Jack Brown, was at the SRIA meeting, and he indicated that the budget was in line with County expectations, although the County Board may require some undefined “tweaks” in the budget.
This lease fee reduction is the direct result of coordinated work by the PBA, the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce and representatives from the major Beach hotels.
Some implementation issues, such as how to get master leaseholders to pass on the lease fee reduction to its sub-lessees, need to be worked out. Also, we need to make sure the County lives up to its promise of maintaining the current level of service for the maintenance and lifeguard services.
PBA will continue to work on obtaining additional lease fee reductions, with the ultimate goal of eliminating lease fees altogether. We will also continue to work on getting fee-simple title for all Beach leaseholders.