Development Commission votes to pay cost of liquor election

The Holmes County Development Commission (HCDC) voted unanimously to pay for the election that would place the liquor by the drink issue on the ballot.

In what they say is an effort to advance economic development in Holmes County, HCDC voted to pay the estimated $22,000 cost of holding the special election should the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners agree to place the measure on the ballot.

HCDC members state they voted unanimously to pay for the election when they met in regular session on Feb. 21 largely because they brought the request for the referendum to commissioners earlier this year to boost economic development in the county and along the 79 Corridor.

County Commissioners have been slow in making a final decision regarding placing the issue up for vote, however, due to financial concerns on how they would fund the election. Commissioners say the referendum was  not budgeted for the current fiscal year. 

 HCDC is expected to present their offer to commissioners when the BOCC meets again in regular session on March 1. 

Voting on this type of referendum must be held no less than 60 days before a general election. HCDC is currently considering holding the election in June to meet that requirement ahead of the Aug. 23 General Election.

In other business, HCDC addressed a reverter clause in their decades-old land deal with the Florida Department of Corrections in regard to the now shuttered Holmes Work Camp.  

The contract provision came into play with the closing of work camp more than a year ago, leaving the state not using the land for its designated purpose under their agreement. The board asked  Attorney Ben Armstrong to move forward with the process of having the property’s ownership reverted to the development commission. 

Armstrong was tasked with writing the FDOC officials to inform them of the issue and advise that should the state not comply, legal processes will be initiated.

Holmes County Development Commission will meet again in regular session at 5:30 p.m., Monday, March 21.

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