The obvious answer to the purported double taxation (it isn’t double taxation, of course) is for the County Commissioners to waive the lease fees on the beach.
So why can’t they do it?
Why did Grover have to get Matt Gaetz to do it by passing United States Law to convert these leases to fee simple title? Because they all know this will cost the county revenues from lease fees and other fees generated on the beach. That’s why none of them have ever asked for a revenue impact study. They know what the answer will be. It will cost the county substantial revenues. But, if they could blame the big oppressive federal government for the revenue loss they would be saved a taxpayer backlash.
Nobody is fooled. This is all happening with the full endorsement of a majority of the County Commission. It isn’t just Grover. Otherwise, how could any County Commissioner who doesn’t represent the people on the island ever agree to give this land away and risk their constituents rights to use the island? How could they agree to do something that lowers fees for some at the expense of their constituents? How in the world could they ever justify giving away Navarre Beach to Santa Rosa County which would happen if all leases are converted to fee simple title? No, they are all in the soup together.
Their view is if they do nothing; never make a public comment, act like they have nothing to do with it, their problem that they helped to create will be solved by the federal government. When Grover met privately with Matt Gaetz in Washington, D.C. (without public notice) to hatch this plan, he was there on behalf of the Escambia County Commissioners. They may act like they have no involvement in this legislation, but they do.
This plan to give away the island solves a lot of elected officials’ political problems, but the majority of the people are being betrayed by their elected officials. The few that aren’t live or have businesses on the island and they are getting a windfall benefit at the expense of the rest of the taxpayers.
— Bob Kerrigan