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Bonifay mulls cemetery committee purchase

BONIFAY – A proposal to purchase the tax certificate on a parcel of land by the cemetery committee and place it in the City of Bonifay’s name was tabled by the Bonifay City Council when they met in regular session July 26. 

Councilman Roger Brooks brought the proposal to the council stating the cemetery committee would pay $100 to purchase the tax certificate on the property located at 511 North Caryville Road but needed to have the certificate placed in the City’s name because the committee could not hold the certificate because of its lack of W-9 tax status.  

Brooks cited the reasoning for purchasing the certificate would be in the hope that when the deed came up for sale, the city would be the highest bidder and win the property which would then become part of the cemetery property.  

Attorney Michelle Jordan advised the council that it would not be in their best interest to approve the proposal. “There is no benefit to buying a tax certificate,” said Jordan. “There is no way to guarantee that when the deed is sold on the courthouse steps, you would be the highest bidder.” 

Jordan also spoke of not having enough information on the status of the cemetery committee, who oversees them or even who appointed them over the cemetery to be able to give the council proper legal advice on the matter. “I do not have enough information about the committee, how their funds are monitored,where the funds they hold come from or if they are even tied to the city in some way to advise legally on the matter,” said Jordan. 

Jordan gave the council two options: to involve Code Enforcement and obtain a lien on the property through the court or to survey the property and find out exactly where the city property line lies. Both options are time-consuming and costly.  

The council agreed to table the proposal until the next regular session meeting to allow time for council members to research the charter by-laws and to have members of the cemetery committee present to answer any questions the council may have regarding the issue. 

In other business, the Bonifay Kiwanis Club addressed the Council to inquire about $2,500 the organization states was pledged as a donation from the City to help defer expenses for milled asphalt was used to repair the parking lot at the Bonifay Recreational Center. 

Kiwanis President Miranda Hudson cited the council had agreed to pay for a portion of the $10,000 cost along with the county and the Kiwanis Club. 

Councilman Rickey Callahan question the source of that pledge, stating it had not been put before the Council.

”Who told you the council approved to pay that amount?” he asked. “Because we, as a council, never agreed to pay for any milling.” 

Hudson went on to speak about the benefit for the entire community the repaired parking provided. 

“When people come to Bonifay that do not live here, they do not know who owns what part of anything out there,” said Hudson. “Most people would just assume the city owns it because it is inside the city limits. We all need to work together to make things nice so people will want to utilize things we have to offer.” 

The council agreed with her and made the decision to look into ways to possibly donate to the Kiwanis as a way to pay back. 

The Bonifay City Council will meet again in regular session at 6 p.m. on August 9.

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