BONIFAY — The Holmes County Board of County Commissioners focused largely on county roads during their April 30 meeting.
After months of studies and rankings both County Engineer Cliff Knauer from Preble Rish and County Engineer Whitney Nelson from Melvin Engineering came up with county roads best suited for the upcoming Small County Outreach Program and the Small County Road Assistance Program.
Nelson submitted that, with his findings, the best road to be submitted for SCRAP would be County Road 183 from County Road 10A to the Walton County line.
Knauer submitted that the best roads to submit for SCOP would be Duncan Road and Thomas Drive.
“Our projects were narrowed down to what we could complete in a year,” said Knauer. “North and South Ride are still on my list but may be able to funded through a Community Development Block Grant, combining both into one project and submitting it in October to be finished in the next two years.”
He explained that there are many other county roads that are in desperate need of repairs, however with various extenuating circumstances it would take more than a year to complete the other roads.
Resident Lloyd Davis was present to voice his concerns with enforcing speed limits on county dirt roads.
“We’ve got young people tearing up these roads and reckless drivers,” said Davis. “Are there signs we can put up so I don’t have to keep calling the Sheriff’s Office? There’s also a turn out there that if you turn that corner you can’t see them and when it’s wet you can’t stop. Someone’s going to get hurt.”
Commissioner Bill Parish added that there are children and adults on four-wheelers causing trouble.
“They are out there on there on their four-wheelers destroying roads,” said Parish. “The Sheriff’s Office needs to be out there before someone gets hurt. It’s a law enforcement issue.”
The board agreed to summit an inquiry with the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office about what could be done to reduce reckless uses of the dirt roads.
Commissioner Bobby Sasnett said that he had been receiving numerous phone calls about mosquitoes becoming an issue and inquiring about spraying for the county.
“During our last meeting we approved of our licensed contractor to begin spraying immediately,” said Chair Monty Merchant. “We’ll need to get up with him to see if there’s been some sort of delay.”
Board approved of the abandonment of Prosser Lane.
“As I understand it, the man owns the land on both sides of the road and that it dead ends in the middle of his property,” said Commissioner Kenneth Williams.
Holmes County IFAS Extension Director Shep Eubanks told the board that the Florida Broadband Alliance was interested in the county participating in the expansion of broadband into Holmes County, however there wasn’t much time left before grant proposal had to be turned in.
Board agreed that a representative of the Florida Broadband Alliance should be present to make the request and answer any questions the board might have before they could make a decision.
“Poor planning on their part doesn’t make an emergency on mine,” said Williams.
Eubanks also informed the board that the air conditioning unit is still out at the Holmes County Agricultural Center and that issues have surfaced with the other air conditioning unit but it may just need Freon.
Board approved of paying the low bid of $5,000 to repair the air conditioner unit’s compressor and for Freon for the other unit.
Gritney Fire Department Chief Clifton Crews came before the board about vandalism to the fire station.
Board agreed to meet the insurance $1,000 deductible and look into replacing the windows that were broken.
Crews also informed them that their large fire truck needed service and Merchant informed him that due to the overwhelming amount service trucks coming in they had to stop offering those services.
Board agreed to EMS Director Greg Barton’s request to allow him to find a “more suitable” collection agency for the Holmes County EMS.
“There’s a lot of debt,” said Merchant. “A lot of people need the ambulances and it’s services and there’s some that use it and don’t need it.”
Barton reported that over $70,000 in debt was collected for the month of April and over $74,000 was collected in March, which is $53,700 over their projected amount.
Board approved of a proclamation recognizing Mental Health Awareness.
“Thank you for acknowledging the importance of good mental health in our community,” said Teresa McDonald, representative from Life Management.
Board approved to leave the percentage of taxes as they are.
Board approved to purchase an Excel program for $109.99 to inventory the county’s shop.
Before the meeting a workshop was held earlier with representatives from Jackson, Washington, Walton and Geneva Counties to see how other counties go about grading, state of emergency, hauling dirt and various other services the county provides to their residents.
“I appreciate this board and how they work together,” said County Attorney Jeff Goodman. “After what we’ve done this afternoon with the other counties. I just wanted you to know I appreciate you.”