BONIFAY — One of the main topics of concern at the meeting of the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners on Oct. 29 was about the quantity, excavation and distribution of county dirt.
Commissioner Kenneth Williams informed the board that Loader 32 had a broken windshield, Loader 55 was broken and the replacement part refurbished would cost over $11,000. Also, the excavator for District 3 was broken beyond repair.
He suggested that they purchase the replacement glass from the manufacturer for $602 and hire someone to install it for $200.
“Otherwise it’ll cost $2,450 for us to purchase the glass from the manufacturer and play for them to install it,” said Williams.
He also suggested that they repair Loader 55, sell the excavator in District 3 and just purchase one large excavator for both District 3 and 4.
Chairman Monty Merchant also reminded the commissioners that the Federal Emergency Management Agency work will be starting soon, which is the FEMA funded efforts to repair roads damaged during the excessive rains in July.
“We’re got a lot of dirt to haul because we’ve got a lot of districts that are going to need a lot of dirt to fix their roads,” said Merchant.
County Engineer Whitney Nelson from Melvin Engineering said that he could get an estimate to survey their dirt pits and let them know how much dirt they have that’s usable.
The board agreed to Commissioner Bill Parish’s request to table the discussion for a special called session on Monday morning.
Resident Elka Mosier came before the board to ask that Bylsma Road remain named after her father, Otto Bylsma in response to Tamphus Messer requested it be renamed after his father, Tom Messer, during their Oct. 9 meeting.
The board approved of allowing 911 Director Clint Erickson to upgrade the 911 software for $138,000, which was assured would be paid for by grant funds.
“It’s not so much the technology but the manufacturers saying they won’t support the system,” said Erickson. “Like when the state pushes the new 911 text we’ll be in a whole new ballpark and we need to be ready.”
Ronnie West with NaturChem herbicide visited the board as a follow-up to their agreement in January to spray an area of road for $3,000, which was suppose to stunt the growth of the grass so that the county wouldn’t have to mow as much.
“Do you have the results from the test plot because they didn’t work so well,” said Williams.
The board agreed with West’s request to get with the road foremen to see exactly what the county needs and adjust it with a free spraying to compensate for the $3,000 spent in January.
“The main thing I want is for you to just let us know you aren’t going to be killing any rose bushes, mimosas or cotton fields,” said Williams.
West assured him that their work is precise to kill only what they target and that there’s an extensive insurance policy that would cover any damage done by mistake.
The board approved of signing a 90-day contract with Interstate Commercial Services for janitorial services provided at the Holmes County Court House with a vote of 4 to 1, with Merchant voting “no.”
Williams informed the board that he posted for a heavy equipment operator but had no responses and inquired if he should change the description to a foreman in an effort to save the county money in the long run.
The board agreed to Parish’s suggestion to discuss it further at the special session on Monday with the county attorney present.
The board approved of Commissioner David Whitaker’s request to advertise for a grader operator for one more week in the Panama City News Herald, One Stop Career Center and the Holmes County Times-Advertiser.
The board also approved of Herbert Carter’s Dixie Phonics Proclamation on the condition that County Attorney Jeff Goodman would rewrite the proclamation.
“We need something that defines the country music here in Florida, Georgia and Alabama when we have someone go to Nashville,” said Carter. “Country music isn’t what it used to be and we need to let them know we’re about the old country music.”
Finally, the board approved of the Holmes County Recycling Center’s recommendation to hire James Cooper as their new Recycling Tech, agreed to establish a drainage easement with a local resident that was experiencing flooding issues due to drainage off of a county road and approved that the only meeting in December will be held at 9 a.m. on Dec. 12.
Their next regularly scheduled meeting is set for 9 a.m. on Nov. 12.