Legislature funds Holmes County Jail repairs

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HOLMES COUNTY, Fla. (WTVY) – As the Florida Legislature concluded their 2019 regular legislative session one day late, the $91.1 billion FY 2019-20 budget included $200,000 in funding for repairs for the Holmes County Jail.

With strong support from Holmes County Legislative delegation members Senator George Gainer and Rep. Brad Drake, this project was the number one priority of the Holmes County Commission and Sheriff John Tate.

Regarding the funding, Holmes County Sheriff John Tate said, “The immediate repairs needed at the jail are critical to ensure the safety of inmates, jail employees and the general public. We could not have gone another year without these repairs - many of which were exacerbated by damage from Hurricane Michael.”

In support of the appropriations requests from Senator Gainer and Rep. Drake, the Holmes County Commissioners - as well as several county constitutional officers - walked the halls of the Capitol to make the case for the jail funds. Letters, calls and emails went in to key members of the Legislature such as the House Justice Appropriations Chairman Rep. Clay Yarbrough who fought to keep the funding in his budget and Rep. Scott Plakon who presented the House appropriations project request in committee.

The House’s initial funding was $100,000, and the Senate was at zero. Through the appropriations process, however, the funding was increased to $200,000 for both chambers which was ultimately agreed to by the House and Senate appropriations chairs.

The Sheriff and County Commission must now convince Governor Ron DeSantis not to veto this item when he reviews the state budget and exercises his line item veto.

“While we had hoped to get the entire $250,000 we initially requested, we are thrilled the Legislature appropriated $200,000 for this project,” said Holmes County Commission Chairman Clint Erickson. “I know this was a hard fought battle for these funds and we were thankful for the tireless efforts of Senator Gainer, Rep. Drake and our consulting firm Liberty Partners of Tallahassee which employs two of our own from Holmes County, Tim Parson and Ethan Merchant.”

The County Commission and Sheriff Tate will be working hard to ensure Governor DeSantis does not veto this critical funding.

“We are incredibly thankful to Senator Gainer, Rep, Drake, Liberty Partners of Tallahassee, and Holmes County’s Constitutional Officers and County Commissioners for their commitment to this vital project,” added Sheriff Tate.

“We are hopeful Governor DeSantis will also recognize its importance to our county.”

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