State legislators representing Santa Rosa County will hold a public hearing from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, at the Administrative Offices Complex, 6495 Caroline St., Milton.
The county commission is expected to ask the delegation to combat implementation of new septic system inspection requirements, support an oil spill recovery plan focused on helping the seven counties most affected by the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and restoring the use of boat registration fees for installing artificial reefs.
County Administrator Hunter Walker said last week the commission's priority list will renew requests for the state to fund the Florida Defense Infrastructure Grant and Florida Forever programs, which fund purchases of land to protect military installations and natural resources, respectively. Other priorities likely to be carried over from 2010 include supporting Northwest Florida Water Management District efforts to buy private roads in district property to provide public access to waterways, continuing state aid to libraries and eliminating unfunded mandates to local governments.
Walker recommended not repeating last year's statement supporting offshore drilling if it doesn't affect military testing and training missions.
"I don't know that you'd want to leave that," Walker said. "We know a lot more about what could be the down side" of offshore drilling. Last year's priorities were developed before the 2010 Legislative Session began in March. On April 20, a fire on the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform caused an explosion that killed 11 people and ruptured a pipe that spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Members of the Santa Rosa County legislative delegation include Rep. Clay Ford of Gulf Breeze, the delegation chairman; state senators Greg Evers of Baker and Don Gaetz of Niceville; and state representatives Doug Broxson of Pace and Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach.
Besides the county's priority requests, residents and representatives from civic groups will be given an opportunity to address the delegation.