BOCC looks for ag center funding

HOLMES COUNTY – Procurements, appropriations and American Rescue Plan Act funds were the hot topics when then Holmes County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Dec. 7.

Holmes County EMS has purchased their chest compression equipment and Personal Protection Equipment and has submitted their validated check to the county as part of the procurement process for their portion of the ARPA funding. Doctors Memorial Hospital is working their way through the procurement process as well, for equipment that was on their wish list for ARPA funding which was approved by the board previously.  Attorney Brandon Young has the final draft of the ARPA procurement policy and is expected to bring the board his recommendation to approve the policy before his departure at the beginning of the year.

The Legislative Delegation meeting that was held on Dec. 6 and Liberty Partner’s Jennifer Green reported back to the board on the plan to move ahead with funding sources and plans to move ahead with the agriculture center and surrounding land.

There are three separate options for the building and the land, The first is the possibility of building UF/IFAS offices on the county owned property adjacent to the ag center. The second is building a public safety building on the same site which would house EMS and HCSO Dispatch. The final possibility is for the county to purchase the property back from the state. The total estimated cost of the three combined is $1.5 million. State Representative Brad Drake has submitted a bill for appropriation for all three projects combined believing this is the best way to secure the funding. Senator George Gainer however, is requesting funding for all three possibilities separately, with his belief being this is the most efficient way to secure funds.

The board has long dealt with the issue of the ag center after Hurricane Michael left the facility unusable for health and safety reasons. The answer to the funding questions will not be answered until next budget season rolls around in mid to late 2022.

In other items, all paving for the $22 million in FEMA funding projects has been completed and came in before the deadline. The county will receive all of the appropriated funds from the project.

Commissioners presented Young with a plaque for his service to the county which will end at the end of December when Young takes the bench as the newly appointed judge in the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit.

Holmes County Board of County Commissioners will meet again in regular session at 9 a.m. on January 10.

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