BONIFAY – After requesting Public Works Supervisor Albert Jordan to look for a solution to the county’s beaver issue, representatives from USDA Wildlife Management attended the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting held Nov. 27 and presented their proposal to help the county with the issue.
A price tag of $12,800 would mean the county would receive six full 40-hour weeks of work. The price includes gas, supplies and mileage with the weeks being spread out for a year. The pricing is based on how many times USDA comes to the county to remove the beavers. Should they only come once, the county would only be charged for that time. The aforementioned price is the maximum that would be charged.
All the counties in the region, save Holmes, use the USDA for nuisance beaver removal, the representatives said. Commissioner Brandon Newsom requested more information and facts and figures pertaining to the rates of success in other counties.
“Before we spend $12,000 we would like to see numbers that would support us spending that kind of money,” said Newsom.
USDA Representative Richard Henna advised he would be happy to bring those numbers back to the board at an upcoming meeting.
After much discussion the question was proposed if USDA would be willing to do three weeks of work in order for the board to see the results and decide if they would want to move ahead with the full six weeks. Henna agreed to come back with new figures should the board be so inclined.
“We could write the contract for any amount of time you would like,” said Henna. “We could come out and have a successful week and if you wanted to do more, then we would have to write an amendment. It is easier to write it for the six weeks and if you don’t use the whole time, you don’t pay the whole price.”
Chairman Clint Erickson asked Jordan his thoughts on the matter, to which Jordan responded, “I think this is an issue that we need to worry on. We are spending time breaking beaver dams that we could be spending working on our roads.”
When it came time to take a vote, the measure was voted down in a 3-2 vote. Commissioners Earl Stafford and Bobby Sassnet both voted in favor of the measure with Erickson, while Newsom and Phillip Music voting against.
Newsom says he is worried about liability for the county.
“My biggest concern is the liability issue the county faces if someone were to get hurt on a trap,” said Newsom.
Erickson says he would like to go back and look at the issue.
“I am not against this,” said Erickson. I just think we need to come back and look at how many areas in the county are facing this issue before we agree to pay this amount of money for just a few beavers.”
Job descriptions and resignations were also on the agenda.
The County Coordinator position that was left vacant earlier in the month when Joey Marsh retired after 20 years with the county was the first topic of discussion at the meeting.
Commissioners agreed to advertise the position at a starting range of $45,000 a year which coincides with the already budgeted salary amount. Commissioners are expected to discuss the interview process at a special session meeting on December 4. The position is expected to be filled by the new year.
The resignation of Emergency Management’s second in command Adrienne Owen was approved by the board, effective immediately. The position is set to be advertised to fill the position as quickly as possible.
Holmes County Board of County Commissioners will meet again in special session at 8 a.m. on December 4.