BONIFAY — After much discussion the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners agreed to move forward in their pursuit of a county manager at their June 11 meeting, by approving County Attorney Jeff Goodman to write a job description to bring back to the board at their next meeting.
“I understand that you want a county administrator but without the authority to hire and fire,” said Goodman. “Someone who can coordinate between department heads and oversee public works but not with the full power of a county attorney. Basically it will be county coordinator and public works director.”
Chair Monty Merchant said he would like someone who would be willing go out to the project sites to work.
“I’m hoping he’s not a coat and tie man,” said Merchant. “We need a man that can put on his boots and get to work out there.”
Project Engineer Jack Elliott and a representative from the Department of Transportation gave an update on the progress being made to County Road 173 North.
Elliot explained there were very few tasks that remain to finish the project, which included side drains and shoulders.
“The south end looks better then the north end,” said Commissioner Kenneth Williams. “Will the north end be corrected before you leave? Also, how long can they hold people up, because I was out there for 22 minutes for almost three miles between barricades.”
Elliott assured him that the north end would be “polished up” before they leave and the maximum allowed space is two miles.
“If it’s more than that we need to correct it immediately,” said Elliott.
The project completion date has a tentative date set for Nov. 15, he explained, which could be extended due to weather.
Resident JoAnn Cooey was present to discuss drainage issues on her road.
“Carmichael Road has drainage problems,” said Cooey. “In some areas it is impassable and the rest is just in bad shape. Last time we discussed this the board said they would send an engineer out, did you?”
County Engineer Whitney Nelson from Melvin Engineering told the board that he did go out, plans were drawn, he met with a foreman but work was never done.
The board agreed to allow Nelson to meet with the foreman again and see that the project moves forward.
Holmes County State Housing Initiatives Partnership Administrator Kathy Ahlen informed the board that the governor of Florida agreed to fund the SHIP program in August.
The board agreed to a three-year extended contract with SHIP with the option of canceling with a minimum 60-day notice.
Commissioner Bobby Sasnett informed the board that he was down to two employees on his road and bridge crew and the board approved of creating a temporary, six-month position with job description and to advertise it.
After much discussion the board approved of allowing Caterpillar to fix one of Sasnett’s graders for $12,962.86.
Sasnett explained that it had no breaks and that the turntable needed to be overhauled and that Caterpillar estimated a two-week period to repair it.
“Park it and see if they will lend you a piece of equipment until the work is done,” said Merchant.
Merchant informed the board that he met with the Department of Transportation in regards to the recent project of repairing County Road 2 from County Road 82 to the Walton County Line.
“There’s a small portion, about a two mile distance, that is being left out,” said Merchant. “I’ve talked with DOT and there may be a way to get funding for that stretch of road. I purpose that postpone awarding this project’s bid until we can get an answer from DOT on if they’ll help or not.”
Board approved to postpone the awarding of the bid until they hear from DOT.
“I’ve also heard there are some negative comments coming from board members,” said Merchant. “Comments about other commissioners and about how they will and will not do certain things. I am not so naive to think that employees won’t talk about our commissioners but it is about time that we look at employees to do their job and stop blaming commissioners for work not being done.”
Merchant also suggested they have a budget workshop soon.
“There’s a lot of expenses coming down that we’ve got to be prepared for,” said Merchant. “Like the increase for retirement. Where they want us to pay for it in full, which would be almost a quarter of a million dollar increase.”
Goodman also informed them that Washington County was facing a 10 to 20 percent increase in health insurance because of Obamacare and that Holmes County shouldn’t overlook the same possibility.
The next scheduled meeting of the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners is set for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25 at the HC BOCC boardroom located behind the Holmes County Court House.