Lynn Haven Commissioner Rodney Friend’s Homestead Status Now Under Official Review

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About two weeks ago, News 13 first told you about a Lynn Haven commissioner accused of violating his residency requirements as an elected official. 

In 2013 and again in 2015, Lynn Haven mayors questioned whether Friend meets the charter requirements of living within Lynn Haven city limits.

On Wednesday, it came to light that Friend is now being questioned by a Bay County official.

Bay County Property Appraiser Dan Sowell issued a notice to Commissioner Friend on June 26.

Sowell said the notice asked the commissioner to provide proof of his residency in the Mowatt Highlands neighborhood of Lynn Haven. He asked for utility bills among other documents to determine if Friend meets the residency requirements for his homestead tax exemption. Howell gave Friend ten business days to return the documents.

Friend said he sent the documents on Day 10, Wednesday. “I certainly don’t have anything to hide, I’m obviously going to cooperate with Mr. Sowell’s office. I made myself available if he has any other additional information. I simply maintain that homestead so that I do meet the charter requirements. I make sure of that so I can continue to serve,” Friend said.

Sowell will then review the documents and make a decision about Friend’s homestead status.

He said the call to take action came after several Lynn Haven residents expressed concern over Friend’s housing arrangements. “Our office is once again receiving inquiries as to the status of your homesteaded property,” the letter from Sowell’s office to Friend, reads. 

You can read the full letter from the property appraiser’s office to Commissioner Friend in the attachment.

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