Last night, our PBA, together with the PB Chamber, representatives from the PB hotels, and other concerned citizens pressed the Santa Rosa Island Authority (SRIA) last night to reduce its budget. As a result, the SRIA Board asked its staff to reduce the 2016 budget and transfer about $4.6 million in costs to Escambia County.
Cost transfers would include the cost of maintenance and lifeguards, as well as road maintenance and other costs normally borne by Escambia County in all other areas of the County.
The effect would be to reduce the SRIA 2016 budget by about 50%, with a similar 50% reduction in lease fees for all residential and commercial lease fees.
This is great news and welcome relief. Special thanks to Jim Cox and Terry Preston, PBA Government Affairs Committee, for the hard work and dedication they invested over the last year into achieving the goal of reducing lease fees. Thank you also for all those who turned out last night to show support.
If Escambia County Commissioners accept the SRIA budget and assume those costs, the lease fee reductions would go into effect October 1, 2015. The Board of County Commissioners have promised to maintain the current level of services on Pensacola Beach. We need to be sure they live up to that promise.
PBA members are encouraged to attend the next SRIA Budget Workshop on June 10th and express their support for reduced SRIA budget and lease fees.