News Cast 1/19

News Cast for January 19th:

Treasure Coast working together

The four county commissions on the Treasure Coast met to discuss common issues of concern.

On their radar is affordable workforce housing, more water quality projects, workforce training, and handling biosolids.

Okeechobee County Administrator Deborah Manzo said it is good that Okeechobee is involved in this annual meeting.

“For the four counties to get together and just discuss the important issues and legislative changes is very important,” she added.

Senator Gayle Harrell said she would support Okeechobee in efforts to four lane state road 70 across the state.

The Glades County Sheriffs Department offices will remain where they are for at least a year.

The commission worked out a lease where they pay for two employees and a portion of the utility bills.

The estimated cost for the employees, a maintenance person and finance person would be $74,000 for the county.

The estimated costs of utilities was estimated to be $143,000.

A maintenance man will keep the building up and a book keeper will help manage the finances of the corporation.

The county is still considering future options that include building a new facility at the road department or buying new real estate.

Commissioner Tony Whidden said they need to build for needs and not wants.

He said he has lived in Glades County for year and the county is smaller today than it was when he was a kid. 

“I know times will change but we used to have fast food restaurants, grocery store and department store to buy clothes.”

He was recently appointed to represent the county on the Glades Correctional Development Corporation Board to replace the retired John ahern.

“I don’t want to see that facility go dark.  We know what happens when people move out.  It turns into an eyesore.”

The commission wants the managers office and human resources to go back to five day work weeks.

County manager Marcos Montes De Oca said there is a lot of interest from developers, and that he has met with several people looking to bring residential, commercial and even manufacturing uses to the county.

The Florida Senate Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government set priorities for 2023 that include more water quality projects, and expanding the Florida Forever Act to buy more land for conservation and the Florida Wildlife Corridor.

Our Senator Erin Grall said her priority for agriculture is keeping farmers in the field.

Our former congressman Greg Steube was hospitalized after a fall from his home on Wednesday.

The Sarasota Republican was reportedly doing routine home maintenance and apparently fell from a ladder about 25 feet to the ground.

He suffered several injuries.

Two bus routes in Okeechobee had to be cancelled Wednesday morning due to a lack of bus drivers.  

The district plans to make some changes to policies to have more bus drivers trained and ready to go.  Even the superintendent is taking training to be able to drive a school bus.

They will also pay trainees for taking the CDL license and could reduce the number of bus routes.