If incorporated, Navarre set to see $3.3M in tax revenue

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Two factors stand between Navarre and an estimated $3.3 million: incorporation and approval of the one-cent sales tax needed to build a new courthouse.

According to analysis by the state Depart­ment of Revenue, as a city, Navarre would be entitled to a portion of the $15 million expected revenue from the sales tax, as Gulf Breeze, Jay and Milton are. As it stands now, Navarre would receive nothing while the $13.7 million remainder would go directly toward the county courthouse. In addition to their share of county funds, area towns are entitled to additional money: Gulf Breeze would receive $539,015; Jay would receive $51,627; and Milton would receive $845,989.

However, if Navarre incorporates, the county would be required to give up $3,135,321 to Navarre.The rest of the $3.3 million would dip into shared revenue from surrounding towns: $79,620 from Gulf Breeze; $7,626 from Jay; and $124,964 from Milton.

“It stood to reason that if the half-cent sales tax (equals) $1.5 million, then the full-cent tax would be $3 million, and I’m glad the Department of Revenue was able to show that,” said Laurie Gallup, member of the Citizens to Incorporate Navarre PAC.“I’m really excited to see that a one-cent sales tax would bring that much money to the city of Navarre.”

Gallup said if the tax is approved, Navarre will be contributing “quite a bit”to the sales tax thanks to the beach rentals. But she also pointed out that Navarre won’t be on the receiving end unless it becomes incorporated.

“If we’re not incorporated, we will not get our chunk,”she said, adding that only incorporated cities like Gulf Breeze would receive revenue.

The analysis, which was provided at Citizens to Incorporate Navarre’s request,“is conducted as if the local option sales tax was in place and the default formulas were used to distributed the proceeds of the local option sales tax,” according to the Department of Revenue.

The Department of Revenue also estimated that Navarre would have received $899,825 in shared municipal revenue during the current fiscal year if it was incorporated. Currently, Navarre is unable to participate in revenue sharing, so that money goes directly to the county in addition to the $3.3 million.

Navarre’s estimated total of revenue sources for fiscal year 2014-15 is $5.8 million. Instead, that money will be returned to the county.

A straw poll will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot asking voters whether or not they want to continue the study of incorporation. The poll is not a referendum to incorporate; it is a way to gauge the community’s interest in moving forward.

By Ashley Varese

Published Thursday, October 30, 2014 in Navarre Press.