BONIFAY – Holmes County Board of County Commissioners approve to purchase 40 acres of land from Continental Forest, Inc. in the amount of $98,000 during the meeting of Aug. 12.
The board became interested in purchasing more property as a dirt pit after studies showed one county pit running out and the county is in need of large dirt supplies for the upcoming Federal Emergency Management Agency work in repairing roads damaged by last year and this year’s heavy rains.
The property located was 40 acres of clear-cut land owned by Continental Forest, which offered the land to the county in the amount of $104,000 on March 17. The county counted with $92,000 and Continental Forest, Inc. countered again with the offer of $98,000. After tests came back showing that the dirt was suitable for the county’s needs the county took into consideration purchasing the land after a period of consideration, leading to the approval at the most recent meeting.
“There is no easy answer but I’m leaning toward this being our best option,” said Commissioner Kenneth Williams.
The money to pay for the property was agreed to be acquired using FEMA funds.
- Accepting a $120,000 Department of Environmental Protection 319 grant with an $80,000 grant match to pave between .8 and 1.1 miles on Old Mount Zion Road, with $30,000 of the grant match being in-kind labor from the county. This grant was years in the making with tests showing over 1.4 million pounds of county dirt washing into the Jackson Spring after every big rain. County Engineer Cliff Knauer explained that it would save the county substantial money on road maintenance, with this section being one of the biggest maintenance expenditures for the road department.
- Resolution for Wildflowers, presented by the Bonifay Garden Club and Florida Department of Transportation. This allows the FDOT to help beautify certain areas of Holmes County to be maintained by Bonifay Garden Club with the permission of the board. FDOT’s experts will also address invasive plants in those areas as well. This benefits the county to reduce costs of mowing and maintenance in those areas.
- Permanent drainage and maintenance easement at Arnold property.
- Accept a portion of McCullough property to address drainage issues. Williams suggested requesting the FDOT tie it in to their current paving project in that area.
- To sign up Commissioners Bobby Sasnett and David Whitaker to attend FAC Policy Committee Conference with possible scholarship from Opportunity Florida.
- Remove maintenance from county janitorial services agreement to keep under new budgeted amount of $30,000 for when it is up for rebid in October.
In other business:
- Whitaker informed the board resurfacing of County Road 177 was 90 percent complete, including a turn lane at Bethlehem High School.
- Resident Judy Powell requested help from the county about possibly cleaning up the county’s section of State Street in Bonifay.
- Knauer informed the board County Road 2 project is soon to be started and State Street’s repaving is complete with the exception of placing down sod.
The next meeting of the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners will be held at 6 p.m. on Aug. 19.