County to vote on liquor ballot at Feb. 15 meeting

The issue of liquor by the drink was at the top of the list for discussion when the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners met in workshop and regular session meeting on Feb.1.

Holmes County Development Commission (HCDC) Executive Director Joe Rone once again asked commissioners about placing the measure on the ballot. “I cannot express how important this is for the future development of Holmes County,” said Rone. “Allowing the sale of liquor by the drink is key in attracting large restaurants to the area. If we don’t have this, none of them will even look at Holmes County as a viable option.”

Commissioners tended to agree on that front but have the concerns of how the election is to be paid for. Referendums such as these are not allowed to be placed on a general election ballot which means should commissioners vote to place the measure up for a vote, it will be a special election. The likely option for the vote is mail-out ballots, per Florida Statute, mail-out elections are permitted when the ballot does not include candidates for office.

The main hold-up on voting to place the measure on the ballot is funding. The $32,000 cost was not budgeted for this fiscal year, leaving commissioners wary of moving forward. The board and HCDC could work out an agreement to split the cost should they so choose.

The board is expected to vote on the issue in their Feb. 15 regular session meeting.

After voting to sell the county owned 58 acres on Deacon Road, commissioners rescinded that vote to retain the land for another year. Commissioner Jeff Good says he would like the county to keep the land in order to keep an eye on what transpires with the 79 Corridor. “We don’t need to sell right now,” said Good. “With the corridor getting started and businesses coming into the county, this land could become a much more valuable commodity. We need to hold onto it and look at selling it when we could get a higher price.”

Commissioner Clint Erickson disagreed. “How are we to expect growth in the county if we don’t make land available?” asked Erickson. “We already agreed to sell it; we need to do just that.”

A repair and renovation bid package for the Agricultural Center was approved to go back out to bid after not receiving any interest the first time out. Katie Taff of Liberty Partners advised commissioners and those in attendance to try and bring in local companies. “With this going back out to bid,” said Taff. “Talk to your local construction companies. Encourage them to bid. Keeping things local also helps boost the local economy.”

The Holmes County Board of County Commissioners will meet again in regular session at 9 a.m. on Feb. 15.

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