Local News

Senator Denise Grimsley Announces October Mobile Office Hours

Senator Denise Grimsley Announces October Mobile Office Hours

Lake Wales — Senator Denise Grimsley’s (R-Sebring) staff will hold “mobile office hours” during the month of October to assist constituents with state agency concerns and to gather public input on legislative issues.

“In an effort to conveniently provide assistance, our office is traveling to help those in need,” said Senator Grimsley.

Okeechobee County Mobile Office hours:

Monday, October 17th

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Okeechobee Chamber of Commerce

55 South Parrott Ave.

Okeechobee, FL  34974

Senator Grimsley, Deputy Majority Leader for the 2014-2016 legislative term and represents Senate District 21, which consists of Okeechobee, and parts of Highlands, Martin, Osceola, Polk, and St. Lucie counties. Senator Grimsley served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2004-2012 and was elected to the Senate in 2012


Charles Murphy News 9/23

News Cast for September 23rd:

Okeechobee commissioners finalized the 94.5-million-dollar budget for the fiscal year that begins October 1st. The county plans to spend nearly 55 million and keep the rest in reserve.   23.4 million will go to public safety with 15.2 million to the sheriff. The clerk of the court will see 1.3 million, the property appraiser 509 thousand, and the tax collected 421 thousand dollars.   The property tax rate will drop 2 percent.

  • Commissioners also Thursday requested the city consider renaming South East 10th Avenue as Domer Avenue to honor commissioner Ray Domer and his family.
  • Agreed to pursue a lease with K L Trees Incorporated to take over the former Wooley Sheds building.  The business has operated for 21 years.  The annual lease cost could approach 67 thousand dollars per year.
  • Proclaimed the month of September as Hunger Action Month in Okeechobee.
  • Agreed to extend a contract with St. Lucie County to extend pretrial services that keep people out of jail.   The county saved 3 hundred and 94 thousand dollars in the past year.    74 people were supervised out of jail before trial.  It costs the county 80 thousand dollars per year.   Commissioner Terry Burroughs urged the state attorney to support this program when possible.
  • Tabled action on a new rate card for the Ag Civic Center.  One suggestion was lowering the daily rate for the arena by 1 hundred dollars.  Camping rates were also described as two low by commissioners.
  • The commission also wants a beautification project on the Charles Harvey Memorial Highway.  They would add benches and canopy a median strip with flower beds and trees, and improved lighting.  Federal and state grants will be sought.   The multi use trial would be 10 feet wide.  The road would also be four laned. They also want to extend the sidewalk down South East 18th Terrace to 441.  Construction estimates would be 2 point 8 million.
Chris Hewitt of Aldi's gives local VIP tour of new Aldi prior to yesterday morning's grand opening in Okeechobee!

Chris Hewitt of Aldi’s gives local VIP tour of new Aldi prior to yesterday morning’s grand opening in Okeechobee!

 

The county also will consider a 2.8-million-dollar widening and beautification project along Charles Harvey memorial highway that includes new flower beds, benches with shade, new trees, a wider multi use path and a 4 lane highway.  They will request federal and state grants.  They also want to put the sidewalks down South East 18th Terrace to 441.

Commissioners also tabled action on a new rate card for the Ag Center.  One proposal was to reduce the cost to use the arena by 1 hundred dollars per day to 850 dollars.  Commissioners expressed some concerns about low camping rates.

The commission also wants the State Attorney to be more supportive of their pretrial release program that saved 394 thousand dollars last year.  74 defendants were supervised out of jail last year.  The county agreed to extend their 80 thousand dollar per year contract with St. Lucie County to continue the monitoring program.

The community welcomed the Aldi’s grocery store with a ribbon cutting Thursday.  Hundreds of shoppers were lined up outside before the store opened. Store Manager Bobby Wright says he was thrilled with the turnout. 15 employees were hired to operate the store, all full time jobs with benefits.

Wright 1

Wright 2

Wright 3

Wright 4

Hundreds were lined up outside to await the grand opening of the Aldi’s grocery store in Okeechobee Thursday. Company Vice President Chris Hewitt was very impressed with the turnout. The Mayor cut the ribbon on the store, he says it will be a great help to the city. 15 employees, all full time, were hired to operate the store.

Chris Hewitt of Aldi’s

Sports Cast for September 23rd:

Mark Youmans caught two touchdown passes in the first quarter and the Brahman defense made that stand up as they defeated South Fork 21-7 in junior varsity football last night.

Youmans says he knew he had the advantage on the corner back on the touchdown throws from QB Matthew Beard. The Brahmans also scored on a 32 yard touchdown run by Veyon Washington. The defense held South Fork to under 50 yards until the final minutes when they scored on a touchdown pass by Ryan Gross.

Youmans 1

Defensive back Elton Pelt says everyone on the defense contributed.

Pelt 1

Coach Jeff Whitlock says his team struggled down the stretch and must learn to play a full football game.

Whitlock 1

Tonight the varsity Brahmans host Somerset Academy, a first year football program from Boynton Beach.  They are 3-1 on the season playing mostly small schools.

  • Yearling at Storm Grove, volleyball and soccer 4:30 pm
  • OHS volleyball at Gainesville tournament
  • OHS football hosts Somerset Academy 7 pm
  • Pahokee football visits Clewiston 7:30 pm
  • Glades Central football visits Palm Beach Central 7 pm
  • Glades Day football visits Coral Shores High 7:30 pm
  • Moore Haven football hosts Community School of Naples 7 pm

Saturday

  • OHS cross country at Mountain Dew Invite in Gainesville
  • OHS volleyball at Gainesville tourney
  • OYFL at Lake Wales Steelers

Charles Murphy News 9/22

News Cast for September 22nd:

Okeechobee county and the state reached a deal on the state’s interest at Okee Tantie. The county will pay 525 thousand dollars. The 50 acre property can now be developed by private interests, perhaps Guy Harvey who has shown interest in a development in Okeechobee. Gary Clark with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with into the history of the property.

Clark 1

Clark 2

Commissioner Terry Burroughs says the project will create jobs and bring economic growth to the county.

Burroughs 1

Burroughs 2

Burroughs 3

Glades County commissioners approved a millage rate of 11.8867, about a 2 percent increase this year.  The taxing unit for law enforcement increased. Commission chairman Weston Pryor says most of the increase is due to state retirement.

Pryor 1

The Sheriffs budget was 3.3 million this year.  The county manager’s office budget was 158 thousand, county auditors will receive 126 thousand, county attorney 85 thousand, the planning department 141 thousand, code enforcement 41 thousand, and fire departments 312 thousand dollars.

Sports Cast for September 22nd:

Kiara Hardy will be a big part of the girls basketball program in Okeechobee this year. As a freshman point guard she claimed the junior varsity most valuable player award and also saw time on the varsity squad. She said the award means a lot to her. In the off season Hardy has been working on her jump shot and her ball handling skills. Last year was a busy one for Hardy as she moved twice and had little time to catch her breath.

Hardy 1

Hardy 2

The Lady Brahmans won 16 games last year.

  • OMS volleyball and soccer at Sebastian Middle 4:30 pm
  • Boys golf hosts John Carroll 3:30 pm
  • OHS swimming hosts Westwood 4 pm
  • OHS JV football hosts South Fork 6 pm
  • OHS volleyball at Gainesville tournament
  • Moore Haven volleyball at Evangelical Christian JV 5,varsity to follow
  • Moore Haven middle school football hosts Desoto 6 pm

Miami-Dade County Resolution Supports SFWMD Plan to Deliver Clean Freshwater to Help Florida Bay

Miami-Dade County Resolution Supports SFWMD Plan to Deliver Clean Freshwater to Help Florida Bay

Miami, FL – The largest county in Florida on Tuesday unanimously supported the implementation of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) plan to help restore Florida Bay and urged the federal government to speed up its repairs of the dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee.

The Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners adopted a resolution urging the SFWMD to fully implement the District plan to deliver more clean freshwater to Taylor Slough. The resolution Miami-Dade Commissioners passed also urges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the ongoing rehabilitation of the Herbert Hoover Dike.

“This resolution will help Florida Bay, the Herbert Hoover Dike and all South Floridians,” said Miami-Dade District 12 Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who sponsored the resolution. “Florida Bay is a special piece of the Everglades ecosystem and the South Florida Water Management District’s plan will provide the bay with critical relief. The completion of the Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation work is needed now and I am happy the County is doing its part to get this project completed.”

The plan, created by SFWMD scientists and engineers, would rebuild levees and weirs, add canal plugs along the L-31 West Canal and connect canals in southern Miami-Dade County just east of Everglades National Park to deliver billions more gallons of freshwater to Taylor Slough each year. Taylor Slough connects directly to Florida Bay, where the additional freshwater would help to reduce salinity levels and help restore seagrasses damaged by localized droughts.

“We fully agree with the resolution passed by Miami-Dade Commissioners and applaud them for their actions,” said SFWMD Governing Board Member Federico Fernandez. “We have been working tirelessly for months to fully implement our plan and help Florida Bay. We have every intention of continuing until this plan is fully implemented as soon as possible.”

The rehabilitation of the 143-mile earthen Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reduce the risk of catastrophic failure and flooding of surrounding communities has been going on since 2007 and is a major component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.

“We have also been urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for years to expedite the rehabilitation of the Herbert Hoover Dike and to expedite the restudy to determine the regulation schedule for the lake once the dike is repaired,” Fernandez said. “We thank Miami-Dade Commissioners for their vision and support to expedite the completion of this crucial projects.”

To view the Miami-Dade County Commission’s resolution supporting the full implementation of the Florida Bay plan and urging the expediting of the Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation click here.

To learn more about the SFWMD’s Florida Bay plan please visit www.sfwmd.gov/floridabay


FWC land manager receives award from Cabinet

FWC land manager receives award from Cabinet

Tina Hannon, a biologist at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area, received the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Resource Manager of the Year award at the Governor and Cabinet’s Sept. 20 meeting in Tallahassee.

This award recognizes outstanding resource management achievements by the hundreds of resource managers who protect state properties.

Hannon joined the FWC in 2006 as an assistant area biologist after receiving her master’s degree in wildlife ecology and management from the University of Georgia. Since then, she has excelled in the areas of prescribed burning, habitat enhancement and restoration efforts, exotic plant removal, and species monitoring.

Her leadership in prescribed burning efforts resulted in exceptionally well-maintained, high-quality natural communities throughout the WMA in Osceola County.

“The focus at Three Lakes WMA has always been on managing the natural communities in a way that most closely resembles the natural processes that made them that way,” said Steve Glass, Hannon’s supervisor. “Tina’s work is vital to that philosophy.”

Hannon leads an active prescribed burn program in which over 26,000 acres were burned during 2015, a record year for Three Lakes WMA. Over the past five years, she and her staff have averaged over 21,000 acres of prescribed burning per year. She also is working to restore 265 acres of former pasture by planting native grasses. Additionally, she coordinated and conducted annual surveys on the various wildlife species in the WMA.

“Tina is committed and passionate,” said David Johnson, leader of the FWC’s Wildlife and Habitat Management Section and one of Hannon’s supervisors. “Her efforts support habitats for numerous species including quail, red-cockaded woodpecker and the Florida grasshopper sparrow as well as maintaining beautiful natural recreational opportunities for residents and visitors of our state.”

Visit MyFWC.com/Viewing and click on “Wildlife Management Areas” to learn more about the FWC’s WMAs


Vero Beach Couple Pleads Guilty to Importing Controlled Substances, “Bath Salts” and “Molly,” from China

Vero Beach Couple Pleads Guilty to Importing Controlled Substances, “Bath Salts” and “Molly,” from China

This week, a Vero Beach husband and wife pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import controlled substances, commonly referred to as “bath salts” and “molly,” from China into the United States.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Mark Selby, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Antonio J. Gomez, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Miami Division, and Adolphus P. Wright, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, made the announcement.

On September 19, 2016, Julius Andrew Reason, III, 32, from Vero Beach, pled guilty to conspiracy to import a controlled substance- Dibutylone HCI, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, §§ 952(a) and 963; and conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to manufacture and distribute a controlled substance- Dibutylone HCI, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, §§ 846 and 841(a)(1).

On September 21, 2016, Julius Reason’s wife, Venteria Leanet Reason, 28, also from Vero Beach, pled guilty to conspiracy to import a controlled substance- Dibutylone HCI, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, §§ 952(a) and 963.

On March 28, 2016, codefendant Nathasha Thames, 28, also from Vero Beach, pled guilty to conspiracy to import a controlled substance- Dibutylone HCI, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, §§ 952(a) and 963; and conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to manufacture and distribute a controlled substance- Dibutylone HCI, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, §§ 846 and 841(a)(1); and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance- Dibutylone HCI,  in violation of Title 21, United States Code, § 841(a)(1).

The defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of twenty years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release.  The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on December 8, 2016, before U.S. District Court Judge Robin L. Rosenberg.

According to Court records, in January of 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers conducted a  border search of an international mail parcel shipped from Shanghai, China, destined for a U.S. Post Office (P.O.) Box located in Vero Beach, Florida, and  found the parcel to contain approximately one kilogram of Dibutylone HCI, a synthetic cathinone, a/k/a “bath salts,” a schedule I controlled substance.  USPIS records showed that Thames had applied and paid for the P.O. Box.  On January 14, 2016, Julius Reason contacted the Vero Beach Post Office, inquiring about the whereabouts of two parcels.  On January 15, 2016, Julius Reason was notified that his packages were ready for pickup.  Thames then visited the post office and picked up the packages, before meeting Julius Reason and turning over the parcels.  When Julius Reason saw law enforcement he fled from the scene, throwing both parcels.

During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized items including, a loaded 9mm firearm from Julius Reason’s vehicle and electronic devices, wire transfer records, Chinese chemical company business cards, and $10,168.00 in U.S. currency from his residences.

The investigation further revealed that between June 2014 and January 2016, Julius reason and his wife Venteria Reason sent wire transfers to China exceeding $59,000.  Julius Reason, Venteria Reason, and Thames, exchanged communications with Chinese chemical company representatives discussing prices and ordering synthetic cathinones, including Dibutylone and Ethylone, Schedule I controlled substances.  The defendants also communicated by text message regarding the local delivery and sales of another controlled substance, commonly referred to as “molly.”

Between June 2014, and January 18, 2016, at least 20 parcels were shipped from China to U.S. P.O. Boxes and addresses linked to Reason and Venteria Reason, in the Southern District of Florida.  Five of those parcels were seized by law enforcement and thirteen parcels were delivered.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI, the USPIS and DEA.  Mr. Ferrer also thanked the Indian River Sheriff’s Office for their assistance with this matter.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov


Internet Child Sex Operation Results in 10 Arrests

Internet Child Sex Operation Results in 10 Arrests

Osceola County (September 21, 2016) – Osceola County Sheriff’s detectives concluded a 60-hour undercover operation which resulted in 10 suspects arrested and charged with soliciting sex from a child via the Internet and other sex related crimes. Led by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, the operation was conducted as a part of the Central Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Participating agencies included: Altamonte Springs Police Department, Clermont Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Hardee County Sheriff’s Office, Kissimmee Police Department, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Orlando Police Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and Sanford Police Department.

“These predators stalk the cyber community looking for children to victimize. This operation should also be a warning to all parents to monitor and be involved with their child’s computer activities,” said Sheriff Bob Hansell.

During the operation, undercover detectives, posed as juveniles to talk with individuals in chat rooms and instant messaging programs on the Internet. Suspects would travel to a meeting location located in Osceola County with the purpose of having sex with a child. All the suspects were arrested in Osceola County and booked into the Osceola County Jail.

The following were arrested:

Saurabh Agrawal (DOB 6/28/84), 10524 Demilo Place, Orlando

Travel to Meet Child for Sex, Attempted Lewd & Lascivious Battery,

Norman Nazario-Negron (DOB 11/4/92), 2220 Stonehedge Loop

Travel to Meet Child for Sex, Attempted Lewd & Lascivious Battery, Tampering with Evidence, Criminal Conspiracy, Failure to Obey Law Enforcement Orders, Aggravated Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer

Royston Khadaroo (DOB 7/15/72), 910 Amboise Lane, Poinciana

Travel to Meet Child for Sex, Attempted Lewd & Lascivious Battery, Use of a Computer to Seduce/Lure a Child, Criminal Conspiracy

Carlos Velasquez (DOB 6/2/76), 1511 Bly Court, Kissimmee

Travel to Meet Child for Sex, Use of a Computer to Seduce/Lure a Child, 3 counts of Personal Electronic Transmission of Information to a Minor, Attempted Lewd & Lascivious Battery, Criminal Conspiracy

Matthew Sauer (DOB 10/9/94), 21956 Town Place Drive, Boca Raton

Travel to Meet Child for Sex, Use of Computer to Lure/Seduce a Child, Attempted Lewd & Lascivious Battery, Criminal Conspiracy

Kevin Juan Roman (DOB 8/6/93), 4114 Shelter Bay Drive, Poinciana

Travel to Meet Child for Sex, Attempted Lewd & Lascivious Battery, Criminal Conspiracy,

Christopher Maxwell Jackson (DOB 1/28/89), 6904 Wilkow Drive, Orlando

Travel to Meet Child for Sex, Attempted Lewd & Lascivious Battery, Criminal Conspiracy

Ralph Cox (DOB 3/6/53), 12609 Castlemain Trail, Orlando

Travel to Meet Child for Sex, Attempted Lewd & Lascivious Battery, Criminal Conspiracy, 2 counts of Personal Electronic Transmission of Information to a Minor, Use of Computer to Seduce/Lure a Child

Joseph Charles Perkins (DOB 9/8/95), 648 Arrow Lane, Kissimmee

Travel to Meet Child for Sex, Attempted Lewd & Lascivious Battery, Criminal Conspiracy

Steven Myers (DOB 12/23/86), 535 Via Del Oro Drive, Altamonte Springs

2 counts of Travel to Meet Child for Sex, 2 counts of Attempted Lewd & Lascivious Battery, 2 counts of Criminal Conspiracy


Charles Murphy News 9/21

News Cast for September 21st:

Water Management approved an over 726 million dollar budget last night that includes 54 million in Everglades projects, 29 million to improve hydrology in Lake Hicpochee in Glades County, and 20 point 6 million to continue the second phase of construction of the Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment area near the Okeechobee-Martin County line. The Okeechobee basin tax rate is 33 dollars and 7 cents per 1 hundred thousand of property value.

A 29 year old Valrico woman, Sara Birdsell was charged with exploitation of the elderly, befriending a 77 year old Moore Haven man and then stealing checks and making fraudulent purchases on his bank account.

An 18 year old Palm Beach man was charged with a sexual encounter with a 14 year old and then posting explicit videos of the child on snap chat. Anthony Infante was charged with lewd and lascivious molestation, the use of a child in a sexual performance and transmission of child porn by an electronic device. The incident dated back to last January 27th.

The Florida highway patrol plans to crack down on parents who don’t put their children in approved car seats this month. Last year in Florida, 11 hundred children were injured in car crashes because they were not properly secured in the vehicle. Sgt. Mark Wysocky says this is a problem in rural and urban areas. Sgt. Wysocky says everyone under 18 has to wear a seat belt no matter where they sit in the car and the driver is responsible for all of the children in the vehicle. Fines run around 1 hundred to 129 dollars for seat belt violations and is more for car seat violations.

Wysocky 1

Wysocky 2

Press News Release Death Investigation Becomes Homicide

Sports Cast for September 21st:

The Lady Brahmans swept Sebastian River last night in girls’ volleyball, 25-8, 25-7, and 25-9. Okeechobee is (4-5) Sebastian River is (0-8). Lady Brahman Coach Taylor Padrick says this was the first breather on the schedule but she wanted to challenge her girls this year. This weekend the Ladies travel to Gainesville for a tournament. Padrick is looking forward to that experience

Padrick 1

Padrick 2

The service game made the difference as Yearling defeated host Osceola 25-20 and 25-15 in middle school volleyball Tuesday.  Madison Hargraves had 13 service points and Callie Rucks added 10 service points.  Sam Ruiz had four digs, two kills and three service points for Yearling.

Joy Whipple had 10 digs and Lauren Sills had eight service points for the Lady Warriors.

Yearling won the soccer match 7-0.

Lady Brahman golf fell in a tri match with Port St. Lucie and John Carroll.

On the sports schedule today

  • PECS volleyball hosts LaBelle Middle at 4:30 pm, JV, varsity to follow

SFWMD 2017 Budget Accomplishes Mission Without Raising Taxes

SFWMD 2017 Budget Accomplishes Mission Without Raising Taxes 

Major progress on projects will continue with approved funding 

West Palm Beach, FL – At a public hearing tonight, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board adopted a $726.6 million budget for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 (Oct. 1, 2016 – Sept. 30, 2017). The annual budget supports core water management and ecosystem restoration efforts, including the Everglades, without raising taxes for Florida families.

For the sixth consecutive year, the Governing Board has not raised property taxes in the 16-county District, despite calls for a tax increase by some advocacy groups. Approximately 85 percent of the 2016-2017 budget is dedicated to support flood control, operations and maintenance of lands and advancing ecosystem restoration goals. This includes $54.1 million dedicated to implementing the next phases of the Governor’s $880 million Restoration Strategies plan to improve Everglades water quality. The projects include:

  • $31.3 million to increase capacity at Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) 1 West.
  • $6.2 million to continue implementation of the Science Plan to help improve the water cleaning performance of the STAs.
  • $12.8 million to improve conveyance from the G-341 structure to the Bolles Canal south of Lake Okeechobee.

Key Projects

A host of priority projects will provide significant benefits to South Florida’s extensive flood control system and protect coastal estuaries, including:

  • $55.9 million for continued refurbishment of South Florida’s flood control system.
  • $37.5 million for design and initial construction of the Caloosahatchee River C-43 Western Basin Storage Reservoir.
  • $60.3 million for construction progress on the C-44 Reservoir and STA to protect the St. Lucie River and Estuary.
  • $29.2 million for hydrologic improvements to Lake Hicpochee to benefit the Caloosahatchee River Estuary.
  • $20.6 million to continue the second phase of construction of the Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment Area in Martin County.

The approved budget also contains a significant infusion of state revenues, $234 million, approved by Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature this year to accelerate the pace of restoration progress.

 

The budget is funded by a combination of ad valorem (property) taxes and other revenues such as state appropriations, federal and local sources, balances, fees, investment earnings and agricultural privilege taxes. Ad Valorem rates for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 are $33.07 per $100,000 of taxable land value in 15 of the District’s 16 counties (the Okeechobee Basin). In Collier County and mainland Monroe County (the Big Cypress Basin), the ad valorem taxes are $26.95 per $100,000 of taxable value.

 

For More Information:


Big Cypress Basin Budget Accomplishes Mission Without Raising Taxes

Big Cypress Basin Budget Accomplishes Mission Without Raising Taxes 

Key operations and maintenance initiatives are supported with approved funding

West Palm Beach, FL – At a public hearing tonight, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board adopted a $12.9 million Big Cypress Basin budget for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 (Oct. 1, 2016 – Sept. 30, 2017). The annual budget, previously approved by the Basin Board, supports critical missions of flood control, water supply and restoring natural areas without raising taxes for Southwest Coast families.

 

For the sixth consecutive year, the Governing Board has not raised property taxes. Approximately 73 percent of the 2016-2017 Basin budget supports operations and maintenance initiatives to improve flood control including:

  • $2.0 million for flood control operations that include tree management and canal, levee and structure maintenance.
  • $1.3 million for the continued treatment and removal of exotic plants to improve functioning of the flood control system.
  • $4.6 million for continued maintenance, refurbishment and repair of the Big Cypress Basin’s flood control system.

The Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget also dedicated 25 percent to water supply and water quality initiatives including: $800,000 for Collier County’s Haldeman Creek Weir Replacement project to replace an existing water control structure upstream to improve secondary conveyance systems and prevent backflows. It also includes $739,000 for City of Naples’ Reclaimed Water Expansion project to increase reclaimed water by approximately 1.35 million gallons per day for this phase, reducing potable water demands for approximately 330 homes.

The budget is funded by a combination of ad valorem (property) taxes and other revenues such as state appropriations, federal and local sources, balances, fees, investment earnings and agricultural privilege taxes. In Collier County and mainland Monroe County (the Big Cypress Basin), the ad valorem taxes for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 are $26.95 per $100,000 of taxable land value.

For More Information:


Next Page »