BONIFAY — Holmes County Board of County Commissioners approved of maintaining the current millage rate at 9.6605 during their July 30 meeting.
“After reviewing the budget as extensively as we have I feel comfortable at our current rate,” said Commissioner Kenneth Williams.
Board also approved of the date for the budget hearing, at 5:01 p.m. on Sept. 9, and final reading at 5:01 p.m. on Sept. 23.
Clerk of Court Kyle Hudson spoke on behalf of the Holmes County Courthouse to inform the Board of a leakage issue at the courthouse.
“We’ve found that it isn’t a plumbing issue and it possibly something far worse,” said Hudson. “It may be a foundation issue.”
Board agreed to allow the next county engineer up for duty to examine the situation.
Director of 911 Clint Erickson came before representing the Holmes County Fair Board to request advisement from the board.
Erickson explained that he was turning in his resignation from the fair board and shortly afterward every active member save one turned in their resignation as well.
“I’m not sure what to do,” said Erickson. “I’ve got a check for $20,000 and outstanding debt to be paid, however there’s only one active member left. I came before the Board because we are leasing the property from the county and so you have a vested interest in the matter.”
County Attorney Jeff Goodman said he wasn’t sure how the Board would be able to play a roll in the endeavor but recommended that a special session be called and the matter be discussed with all affiliated members.
Larry Jones and Billy McKee with Walton County presented a resolution to the Board that stated that the Board was in support of their upcoming RESTORE Act Project.
“We’re working on two projects pertaining to the RESTORE Act,” said Jones. “The first is an inventory of all unpaved roads that would affect the Choctawhatchee river water shed with sediment. So far we’ve got over 800 listed in Holmes, Washington and Walton Counties.”
Jones said the second was to do a study on bank erosion.
“These studies are just the first step in getting grants to pave these roads so that sedimentation off of these roads can be greatly reduced,” he said. “We’re moving on with the studies and this resolution is just saying that Holmes County supports our project.”
Goodman advised that this was an ideal opportunity.
“These restoration claims go all the way up to Washington,” said Goodman. “We’re talking billions, not millions, of dollars in funding.”
County Engineer Cliff Knauer add that the studies would help them in future grant pursuits as well.
Board agreed to review the resolution and put it on the consent agenda for the next meeting.
Knauer also explained that the County Improvement Grant Program had strict guidelines for potential paving funding such as demonstrating they are taking traffic off of a state road, the paving of the road would encourage economic growth, maintain or protect the environment, a dangerous intersection, etc.
He advised that the board members think of any roads that match the descriptions provided and that they should bring recommendations to the next Board meeting.
Knauer added that surveys were going out to all the residents along South and North Ride Roads and if 50 percent or more were below poverty then the project would be approved for a Community Development Block Grant.
Board approved of the Holmes District School Board’s requested resolution stating to the Florida Department of Education that the county confirms that the Holmes County Fair Ground property would be available for negotiations if the funds were acquired.
“This doesn’t bind us into any agreement,” explained Goodman. “It just states we’re just willing to negotiate if they should be approved of funding.”
Goodman informed the Board that he went with their request to maintain a multi-franchise agreement with the local garbage collection providers and that he had rewritten the current agreement to include protection for the county.
“The fees remain at $500, however I’ve added the requirements of insurance,” said Goodman. “It also has an indemnification clause. It’s in efforts to try to protect the Board’s interest.”
Board agreed to review the document and bring it before the special session.
Board also agreed to bring together names for a committee to review and “narrow down” applications for the County Coordinator/Public Works Director to the special session since the applications deadline is Aug. 7.
Diane Little and Carroll Harrell of the Holmes County Health Department came before the Board to announce the one-year anniversary of the Holmes County Health Clinic.
“Ran by completely on volunteer help and headed by Dr. Lisa Bailey we’ve been able to provide a free clinic to those without health insurance of any kind,” said Little. “We’ve had over 111 brand new patients during our first year and that doesn’t include our repeat patients.”
Holmes County Community Health Clinic is a non-profit ministry of the First Baptist Church of Bonifay located at 203 West Iowa Ave. and is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first and third Saturday of each month.
For more information contact the clinic at 850-510-3779 or 850-547-2420.
Board approved of Commissioner David Whitaker and Williams to serve on the Value Adjustment Board; Commissioner Bill Parish to serve on the Insurance Committee Board Member Designee; to renew the contract with Doctors Memorial Hospital and re-bid the contracts with Dr. Mohammad Yunus and Catastrophic Inmate Medical; and CR 177 Small County Rural Assistance Program Agreement and Resolution for the Florida Department of Transportation.
The special session will be announced as soon as the information is provided and the next regularly scheduled meeting is set for 9 a.m. on Aug. 13.