News Cast 10/5

News Cast for October 5th:

*****Upcoming Dates*****

Thursday, October 7 – End of the First Nine Weeks

Friday, October 8 – Teacher Workday – No students

Friday, November 19 – Early Release Day

Monday, November 22- Friday, November 26 – Fall Break/Thanksgiving

Friday, December 17 – End of the Second Nine Weeks and Early Release Day

Monday, December 20 – Friday, December 31 – Winter Break

Monday, January 3 – Teacher Workday – No students

Tuesday, January 4 – Students return from Winter Break

A larger tax bill 

The Okeechobee City Council approved a 3.68 % property tax hike this year. 

Not all residents will see that increase but the city will see that amount in new revenue. 

The budget included $1.16 million for fire service and $3.14 million for police. 

The clerk’s budget was set at $298,000 and the city administrator budget at $266,000. 

The city will collect $10.6 million in revenue. 

Mayor Dowling Watford said it was a tough decision to raise taxes. 

“We have been using reserves for several years.  This is a way for us to recoup some of that.  Residents told us we can’t lower the millage.  We haven’t had any support for lowering the millage.  We didn’t’ raise the millage but we get new money from higher property values and new construction.” 

City employees will also get a three percent raise this year. 

The county also approved a three percent property tax hike this year.   

The school board lowered taxes. 

Okeechobee man wanted in Colorado found stealing valuable items in Martin County 

Surveillance cameras helped solve multiple cases where an Okeechobee man allegedly cut off catalytic converters from parked vehicles in Martin County. 

Edward Perkins, 25 faces counts of vehicle burglary and grand theft. 

There were several businesses in industrial areas targeted in Palm City and also in the town of Jupiter. 

Martin County Deputies said they got a license tag from the suspect’s vehicle. 

Perkins was wanted in Thornton, Colorado for a similar incident. 

The catalytic converters stolen were worth over 50 thousand dollars. 

Perkins said he sold them to an unidentified man in Tampa. 

Manager gets contract 

Glades County Commissioners approved the employment contract for new County Manager Marcos Montes De Oca. 

His salary is $113,000 for the first year. 

He said being around for the county budget process has really helped him get started. 

He said he understands the issues facing the county and the financial constraints they have. 

One of his first projects is addressing the alleged undercount for the county on the 2020 census. 

“That is something we have got to get involved with.  It seemed like that people didn’t come out and didn’t want to get counted.  They don’t realize how much of a financial impact that has on the county.” 

Attorney still on hot seat 

The debate over the job of city attorney in Pahokee is not over. 

A Palm Beach judge recently ruled the city commission this summer was lawful when they fired Burnadette Norris Weeks. 

Mayor Keith Babb tried to fire her successor at a recent meeting. 

He said Gary Brandenburg alleged he was a drug dealer and a drug user during a court deposition over a recent lawsuit filed against the city. 

Bradenburg issued this challenge to the mayor 

“I got an idea.  Lets go right now to the hospital and get a blood test.  I’ll do it. Do you want to do it right now?” 

Babb vehemently denied of ever being a drug user or a drug dealer.