City of Bonifay officials at odds over $112,000 debt

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 11:50 PM CDT
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BONIFAY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - One Holmes County city is more than $100,000 in debt. Now, city officials are at odds over the city’s current financial standing but did agree on the reason causing these financial issues.

And that’s saying “yes” to too many grants the city’s fronted the money for but has yet to be reimbursed—a simple cash flow problem.

Bonifay Mayor James Sims said the city is $112,000 in debt. As of July 20th, public records showed nearly $700,000 in the red. They said if you deduct all the grant money they’ll get back from that amount, you’re left still $112,000 in the red.

“Our grants are not paid out of our regular budget items, so therefore we don’t budget for grants. Though we have a line of credit, we pay our grants through.”

One grant in question is $125,000 owed to Holley Development Group for the fire department expansion. Sims said they have $16,000 left on their line of credit. Councilman Rickey Callahan said this wouldn’t be enough to go toward the expansion if the reimbursement money from the Department Of Economic Opportunity doesn’t come in.

“Grants are now cash reimbursement. You have to pay the contractor, then you send the copy of the invoice and council check to DEO, and they have to send the money back, and it’s just that there are too many grants right now, and you’re trying to pay too many different contractors,” said Callahan.

Callahan said the check from the DEO for this project should come in any day. Holley Development Group sent a notice Monday that if the city didn’t pay their invoice in ten days, they would walk away from the rest of the project.

Sims said the city has 13 grants, four of which are inactive and two that have just been paid off. He adds the remaining seven grants are still too many for the city to handle at one time.

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