News Cast 7/16

News Cast for July 16th:

MOSQUITO TRUCK-MOUNTED SPRAYING MOVED TO JULY 17 AND JULY 18.The mosquito control spraying scheduled for tonight July 16 and Saturday, July 17 has been moved to July 17 and 18 due to a schedule conflict with the contract spraying provider.Treatment applications will begin between 10:00PM and 5:00AM.Clarke Environmental will be conducting adult mosquito control spraying the county during the overnight hours in the North and South Western area of the county via truck-mounted Ultra Low Volume (ULV) sprayer. “Over 53 road miles will be treated, weather permitting”, said Mitch Smeykal, director of Okeechobee County Emergency Management. Residents are reminded to report high concentrations of mosquitoes to the Clarke Mosquito Hotline at 1-800-203-6485.Should you have any questions or concerns about truck-mounted spraying, please contact Okeechobee County Emergency Management at 863-763-3212.

Truck sedan collide in fatal crash 

A 55 year old Georgetown, Kentucky woman died in a head on collision in Glades County just after 2 a.m. Thursday. 

The Florida highway patrol said a sedan headed southbound collided with a tractor trailer on state road 29 a few miles north of LaBelle early Thursday. 

Troopers said it appeared the sedan crossed over the center line and caused the collision near state road 78 west. 

The driver of the tractor trailer, a 28 year old man from Avon Park, suffered minor injury. 

Elections, Commission spar on budget 

The Okeechobee Board of County Commission and the Supervisor of Elections debated a 23 percent budget hike. 

Melissa Arnold would like to add a full time employee, but also faces new voting laws and state mandates. 

Commissioner David Hazelief raised concerns about the budget hike and asked if things can be cut. 

“We ask all the constitutional officers to come back with cuts.  The taxpayers can only afford so much.  Is there something you can do to compromise?” 

She said the new employee is needed and there isn’t anything left to cut. 

“There is nothing I can do.  Most of the budget increase is due to statutory requirements.  We can’t create another person in our office to do the work we can’t finish.  I can’t force my girls to take 15 minute lunches.  I am buried.” 

Arnold also asked to upgrade the phone system in her office. 

 “We are looking to upgrade the phone system because the update is due and is needed.” 

Glades County considers salary hike for employees 

Glades County saw their tax base increase by over six percent this year. 

They also see a $2 million dollar budget deficit. 

The commission is considering a pay hike of between $1 dollar and $1.50 an hour. 

Property appraiser Lori Ward said she expects the tax base to continue to rise as new homes continue to be built in Port LaBelle and in Muse. 

The commission also discussed the possibility of closing the Glades Development Correctional Center. 

They left open the option of reopening the old jail. 

The county has struggled with the federal government to provide detainees. 

They have gotten word of a group of detainees from El Paso, Texas coming to the center. 

The inmate count, that includes U.S. Marshall inmates and county inmates, was 152 this week. 

Officials said they need about 500 inmates and detainees to make the facility work financially. 

Sheriff David Hardin proposed a $2 an hour increase for sworn deputy sheriffs.  He said he loses good people to other counties all the time. 

He also wants to make sure he has some experienced supervisors for road patrol. 

Commission Chairman Tim Stanley asked the commission to approve a $1 an hour raise this year and for each of the next five years so they meet the minimum wage requirement of $15 an hour by 2026.