The move to incorporate Pace as a city/town has subsided over the past few years, although at one time it was reverberating at a high pitch.
And currently there is nothing on the horizon that indicates the topic is re-emerging. Some think it would be a good idea, while others see it as just another layer of government to be tax supported. To some it would be a status symbol, cosmetic, while those who consider it troublesome consider it simply not worth it in terms of cost return.
Former County Commissioner Tom Stewart who is an ardent supporter of Pace’s Chamber of Commerce and civic endeavor is one of those who think it unadvisable. The Pace chamber is the closest body that resembles a representative type of organization in Pace and has proven to be a strong motivating force. However, Lloyd Hinote, the former Pace Chamber CEO who appeared to promote the idea, is no longer at the Chamber helm, and with him went much of the Chamber’s aggressive stance.
“I’ve been on the board (of Pace Chamber of Commerce) …and vice president,” Stewart said of the Pace Chamber and indicated he has supported it strongly over the years. “But no, I never have been in favor of incorporating,” he said, indicating that nothing had happened to change his mind. Stewart served as District 1 County Commissioner from 2004-2008 but lost the position to Commissioner Jim Williamson during his last run.
Although Stewart advised that he was currently “…through with politics” and had no desire to become involved again, he appeared to be well informed and verbal about county affairs. He talked about Navarre’s pitch to become incorporated and about how the Town of Jay contracted with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Dept. for its police representation.
District 1 County Commissioner Jim Williamson weighed in on the Pace incorporation “I am firmly against it (Pace incorporation),” he told the Press Gazette Tuesday afternoon. “I think they’ve tried it once or twice before, and it didn’t work. I think it’s best to leave thing the way they are. Navarre had the issue on their ballot once, and it didn’t get very far.” He said in effect people don’t realize that infrastructure, police protection, water and sewerage responsibilities, among others are just being asked for when they talk about incorporating.
Units that incorporate effectively relieve the county of police protection, building code enforcement, and a host of other responsibilities. By the same token incorporated units must shoulder their responsibility through some sort of tax structure.