BONIFAY – Holmes County Board of County Commissioners approved to enter into a 10-year lease agreement with Opportunity Florida during their regular scheduled meeting on June 10, with a vote of 3 to 2, with Commissioner David Whitaker and Chair Monty Merchant voting “no.”
Jim Brook, representing Opportunity Florida, informed the Board the 195 foot tower would be built on County property and given to the county under the stipulation that three spots on the tower be used by Opportunity Florida in their endeavor to spread broad band ability throughout the rural counties.
“This project has been going on for about three years now and the idea is to bring broad band to rural communities,” explained County Attorney Jeff Goodman. “Basically this is a quid pro quo; we’re giving Opportunity Florida the ability to build this tower on property that we own, leasing the property for 10 years. This will allow for two things; we’ll have space on the tower to put equipment on it if we so choose and the money maker for them is the ability to sublease two spaces on the tower, which is the income revenue to help support Opportunity Florida.”
Goodman said they will build the tower, maintain the tower for 10 years and after the 10 years it is up to the Board what they want to use the tower for.
“We own the pole and they’ve got the space, the only thing I want you to be aware of is that once the pole is built that the county include the pole in the county’s insurance policy the same way it would be include any other poles in the county,” said Goodman. “We will own it and insure it immediately and all other maintenance and risk associated, per the agreement, will be assumed by Opportunity Florida.”
· Merchant informed the Board 19 applicants responded to the open position of Emergency Management Director and after much discussion the Board agreed to review the applications before deciding how to move forward at their next meeting.
· Board approved to sign two agreements for Homeland Security Grants, which Emergency Management Director Interim Roger Dale Hagan informed would help fund several aspects of Emergency Management which includes the disaster preparedness exercises and training.
· Board agreed to hold an employee recognition plaque presentation for former Holmes County Emergency Management Director Wanda Stafford and former Emergency Management Services Programmer Tiffany Majors for their years of service to the county during their next meeting.
· Williams informed the Board that he had a grader that was in disrepair but not out of commission yet, with estimated costs for repair at $20,000, which he said there was no need for action yet.
· Williams also informed the Board that he had been in contact with U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland and he was informed that if the FEMA’s Alternative Project was possible for the county then Southerland said he would help the County secure it. The Alternative Project is FEMA funding that would allow the county to not only repair the roads but construct permanent solutions, such as chip seal miles of dirt roads, which would potentially eliminate need for FEMA funds to repair after disastrous rains and flash floods.
· Goodman informed the Board the first public hearing for the gas tax extension would be held in the last meeting in June.
· Goodman also informed the Board that one of the dirt pits they are currently leasing is up for sell by the owner to the county and after negotiating the price was brought down to $98,000 and the Board should consider if they want to purchase the land or not.
The next meeting of the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners is set for 6 p.m. on June 24.