BONIFAY — Holmes County Board of County Commissioners voted to cease the county’s service of providing rock to private customers during their March 26 meeting,
The vote was 4 to 1, with Chair Monty Merchant voting “no.”
County Attorney Jeff Goodman explained that the county was being reimbursed for the cost of rock and the fuel to transport it to those who wished to purchase it within Holmes County.
Goodman said that he arranged the policy for the county to “get out of the business based on possible liability.”
There were too many possible liability issues that could occur when going on private property to deliver a product, even if the county was being reimbursed, said Goodman.
Commissioner Kenneth Williams agreed with Goodman, stating that he was uneasy with such a high risk of liability on the County to be entering on to private property.
“We need to get out of the rock-selling business,” said Commissioner Bill Parish. “It not only puts us in competition with local companies in the same business but it’s too much of a liability. We have no intention of hurting or hindering service to our residents but we shouldn’t be involved in the private market place.”
Merchant disagreed with the decision.
“I know we’re not in the business of hauling rock but it’s not like dirt,” said Merchant. “It’s not like we’re hauling it every day.”
The board also approved of the resignation of Holmes County Development Chair Bud Riviere.
The commissioners also approved of abandonment resolution for the Colletti Property.
After a public hearing, the road abandonment was tabled after local resident Tom Smith said that abandoning the road would mean cutting off access to his property.
“This is the first I’ve heard of this,” said Goodman. “Let me look into the matter and bring it before the board at the next meeting. We won’t need to hold another public hearing and if this is cleared up then we’ll just need to publish after adopting it and after 30 days it will be made effective.”
This issue had been brought before by resident Jeffery Johnson at the board’s Jan. 16 meeting, requesting to properly vacate a street that dead-ends next to a piece of property he purchased recently from Colletti.
“It’s 8.5 acres of usable land, but if that piece of street was properly vacated it would be 10.6,” said Johnson.
Landowner Daniel Colletti said the Board’s old resolution didn’t include the lower half to be properly vacated, but that he was ready to sign the required paper work and pay the $500 to place up the sign.
“We’ve got to run an ad and hold a public hearing at the next meeting in March,” said Goodman.
Goodman explained that he and Smith had a discussion and found that it wasn’t a matter of access but a matter of devaluing.
“We had a very good conversation and found that he has access to his property,” said Goodman. “I’ve also explained that all these roads have already been abandoned, but since they were not properly filed before we’re having to go through this process now.”
The board agreed to start the process of abandoning Prosser Lane at the request of landowner Steve Rocher since he has purchased all surrounding land and he is the only one to be impacted by abandoning the road.
“We have to advertise for a number of weeks in the newspaper, then we can hold a public hearing and then take action,” said Goodman.
The commissioners also approved of advertising and holding a public hearing to continue the 1 percent Small County Surtax.
In other business, the board approved of their new Paid Time Off Policy, which is a universal policy stating that those in violation of abusing their PTO will be issued a warning on their first offense, receive a week off without pay for their second offense and face possible termination upon the third offence within a 12 month period.
“I’ve included leniency for health and other emergency related situations,” said Goodman.
Parish requested the purchase of two culverts, one for $2,000 and another to temporarily replace a bridge for $4,000.
“It’s just a possible temporary fix until other arrangements can be made,” said Parish.
Parish added that the road department was still receiving calls for culvert permits.
“We need to let everyone know if there’s any issue with a road that they should call our main office,” said Parish. “If there’s any issue to do with a road residents should call 547-1119.”
He also requested that a new document be provided to the road foremen so that a more detailed report can be submitted.
“It’s important that we have good documentation,” said Parish. “It’s more for the foreman to do but it will help in the long run. I suggest we make a form from other counties and collaborate with the foremen to see what can be adjusted for what best fits our county.”
Merchant encouraged the new commissioners to attend Legislative Day, which was held April 4 at the FSU Turnbull Conference Center in Tallahassee.
Goodman also encouraged the new commissioners to attend a convention in Tampa that is arranged specifically for new commissioners.
“They will hold seminars that are quite informative,” said Goodman. “I’m only suggesting this because I was informed that the new commissioners wished to expand their understanding of their office.”
The next scheduled meeting is set for 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 9. in Bonifay.