Area crime just one reason to incorporate

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Incorporation supporters have likened the incorporation wave to the Boston Tea Party — a stand against taxation without representation.They are angered by what they view as bloated and unresponsive county government and want greater control over how their taxes are spent. Proponents argue that the best way to make government responsive to community interests is to make it a community government.

“Who could refuse the promise of decreased taxes and increased services? Many unincorporated areas of Florida are realizing that by incorporating they can reduce their taxes, localize, and increase the responsiveness and services of their local governments … However, like all good things, incorporation comes at a price,”wrote Russell M.

Lazega and Charles R. Fletcher, Florida State University, in The Politics of Municipal Incorporation.

“Counties presently depend upon the tax revenues garnered from more affluent areas to subsidize services to poor communities,”they continued.“Incorporation spurs a dramatic redistribution of local revenues which often leaves the remaining county scrambling to fill the revenue void left by seceding municipalities. Compounding the problem, most of the incorporating municipalities are wealthier areas that have long subsidized poorer regions of their respective counties.”

The problem is Navarre is not getting the services the poorer sections get that we support. If we ask for the five member county commission for something we get outvoted by the other commissioners 4-1.

If we try to vote them out at election, we get outvoted by the other voters in the county.The Santa Rosa County commission approved and built a new four lane highway in North Santa Rosa County that is barely used.

However Navarre can’t get large potholes that have been tearing up new tires for six years fixed.

If Navarre becomes a city, the taxes will actually go down because we won’t have to support the whole county anymore.The county has other ways to raise revenue for poorer sections of the county and the burden should not rest on Navarre to the exclusion of representation.

Let’s start with services. Navarre is under the control of the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office.The main office and the majority of the deputies are in Milton and Pace, both with a population under 10,000.There is a satellite sheriff’s office in Navarre, which has a population of about 42,000.There are always three deputies on duty at all times in Navarre, unless one calls out because of sickness or emergency, then there are two on duty.

Navarre had been an area of low crime. But a couple of years ago, five black teens from Pensacola came to Navarre and did a home invasion on a home off of Highway 87. As they left, they shot at a women who had a baby in her arms, then drove back to Pensacola.

Four months later, three different black teens did a home invasion around the corner from where I live in Navarre.They pistol whipped a 73-year-old woman and then drove home without being stopped. Since then there have been other thefts and robberies.

Every citizen in Navarre agrees we need our own police force, not a satellite sheriff’s, office to protect 42,000 people from crime by persons from other areas.

This is just one of the many problems of being an unincorporated area.

Mark Conte, Navarre

Published Thursday, December 4, 2014 in Navarre Press.