BONIFAY — Holmes County Board of County Commissioners agreed to review a Road Name Change Policy presented by County Attorney Jeff Goodman during their meeting on Dec. 10.
“The board of county commissioners shouldn’t be in the business of hearing out why someone thinks their road name needs to be changed and how they’re justified over another,” said Goodman. “We need a policy so that people know the requirements needed for a road name to be changed.”
Some of the requirements included a list of property owners adjacent and on the road, a petition signed by at least 80 percent of property owners adjacent to and on the road, approval from 911 Coordinator to insure 911 compliance, a $500 fee for internal review and advertising, submission of an overview of the road so that the entire road is renamed, followed by two public hearings before it can be approved of by the Board, followed up by an effective date.
“I piecemealed it together based on the needs of Holmes County,” said Goodman. “Here’s a draft to be put on the agenda for the first meeting in January and there will be an application drawn up for review. We just need to remain as consistent as possible.”
The first hearing was held for an application for a zoning change from residential to commercial to a piece of property on the corner of County Road 81 and Sandy Creek Road located just north of Ponce de Leon, which was approved of and recommended to the Board of County Commissioners by the Holmes County Planning and Zoning Commission on Dec. 3.
“I’m wanting to build a convenient store and gas station,” said landowner Paul Fuzell. “Almost everyone from that area believes that it will be service and help to the community.”
Resident Lisa Shirley was present to say that her concerns were that if it doesn’t become a convenient store that it could potentially become a bar.
“What if he can not put a store there and it sells as commercial property?” asked Shirley. “What’s to stop someone from building a bar there?”
Resident Johnny Brown said that he shared the same uneasiness.
“We aren’t interested in a commercial entity that has the potential to become an establishment that can sell alcoholic beverages,” said Brown.
David Saunders came before the Board to ask that Saunders’ Landfill’s franchise be pulled.
“My wife is no longer running the business as she should, in fact she’s running it into the ground,” said Saunders. “She is pulling trailers of garbage that are open and without taillights. We’ll honor everyone who paid and eat those expenses.”
Goodman said there wasn’t anything the Board could do at that time because her name is on the company’s franchise agreement.
“We don’t have the right to terminate it,” said Goodman. “We’ll request that she join the next meeting so that she can explain why the franchise license shouldn’t be pulled.”
Commissioner Kenneth Williams said he was concerned for those paying costumers that are being affected by this.
“This is what we discussed when we agreed to the multi-franchise agreement,” said Goodman. “We’ll hold a special session and give her the chance to show up but whither she does or not we’re going to do this the right way.”
Rick Davis, Administrator for the Washington County Health Department and Interim Administrator for the Holmes County Health Department came before the Board to announce his retirement and to let them know that the Department of Health is intending on combining the two counties’ position as one.
Board put it in the form of a motion to show that they approve of the decision for the two counties share one Health Department Administrator and approved.
“I don’t have any problem with it due to the level of service and dedication you’ve provided throughout the years,” said Williams.
Board approved of Commissioner Bobby Sasnett to represent the Board on the Tri-County Community Council Board.
Kim Teagarden, a representative from Verizon Wireless, came before the Board to say that Holmes County was approved for free cell phones, wall chargers and car chargers for all emergency responders.
“It will only be five cents per minute for all devices with a regular fee of 22 cents a day, which is about $4.40 a mouth and a little over $50 per year,” said Teagarden. “We’ve already been in contact and have supplied phones for the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office and the Holmes County School Board.”
Williams said that he would look over it, however he would decline.
“Verizon has the best coverage in Holmes County, but it isn’t all that good even for being the best,” said Williams. “Especially in an emergency it wouldn’t get service in a lot of the areas of Holmes County. There are just too many ‘dead’ zones.”
Board approved of a Temporary Clerical Position to help with paperwork filed with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for emergency funding to repair damaged caused by excessive rains earlier in the year.
Mike Reistad, representative with the West Florida Regional Planning Commission, came before the Board to explain the Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Program.
“Brownfields are defined as ‘real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant,’” said Reistad. “Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties protects the environment, reduces blight, and takes development pressures off green-spaces and working lands. What I propose is that the county submit a response, which we’ll draft, for a community assessment grant which will be followed by a clean up grant and a revolving loan fund.”
Goodman asked that if the assessment grant went through, would it be guaranteed that the county would receive a clean-up grant and Reistad said there wasn’t.
“Let’s say this guy has a site and it’s not common knowledge and then an assessment is done and there’s something wrong,” said Williams. “Red-flags are brought up all over his property but then it’s too much to fix it and now he’s black-balled as a contaminated site.”
Goodman explained that the program was a good idea, however to rural areas it isn’t practical.
“The problem is money,” said Goodman. “There’s no guaranteed money for the reclamation. They’re just using their money so these places can stay on their radar but it doesn’t help illuminate the problem; it’s a good program, but it just doesn’t help rural areas.”
Board agreed to Williams’ proposal that a ordinance be written to insure space on local towers for county use.
Board approved of County Engineer Whitney Nelson to contact the Department of Transportation about doing an assessment of Sutter Creek Bridge.
“It’s retained some damage and it is on the list of emergency items, however the government is moving very slow and this is steadily becoming a matter of public safety,” said Nelson.
Board agreed to Commissioner Bill Parish and David Whitaker taking the place of Merchant and Williams on the 2014 Canvassing Board.
“Normally it would be done by the chair and vice chair, however, this year both of their seats are up for re-election,” explained Goodman.
There are two special called meetings planned for a latter time, which is to be announced and the regularly scheduled meeting is set for 9 a.m. on Jan. 14.