News Cast for October 10th:

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

Friday, October 13 – End of the First Nine Weeks

Monday, October 16 – Teacher Workday – No Students

Friday, November 17 – Early Release Day

Monday, November 20-Friday, November 24 – Fall Break/Thanksgiving

Friday, December 22- Early Release Day/Last day of the Second Nine Weeks

Monday, December 25- Friday, January 5 – Winter Break

Monday, January 8 – Teacher Workday – No Students

Tuesday, January 9 – Students return from break

On October 4, 2023, Board Chairman David Hazellief presented Okeechobee County’s appropriation requests to the Okeechobee County Legislative Delegation.

Those appropriation requests included:
1. County Jail Renovation/Improvements
2. Water Quality Projects
3. Support local government infrastructure Surtax Referendum
4. Support the re-implementation of the Enterprise Zone program
5. Support Florida Rural Development Package

Legislative Requests:
1. Preemption of Home Rule
2. Local Occupational Licensing
3. Unfunded Mandates
4. Enterprise Zones for Fiscally Constrained Counties
5. Florida Rural Development Pkg
6. Support the 5yr Florida Water Work Plan and Water Policy Commission

Okeechobee County Legislative Delegation members are Sen. Erin Grall, Senate District 29, and Delegation Chair Representative Kaylee Tuck, House District 55.

Thank you Senator Erin Grall and Rep. Tuck for receiving our legislative requests and working to advance Okeechobee County’s priorities on behalf of our citizens.

Seeking larger planes

National airlines are being wooed to come to Okeechobee’s airport by the developer of Lakefront Estates.

Yoma Longer said the airport is vital to the new community in Buckhead Ridge.

“We are in communication to expand this airport.  It’s a few years ahead.  We are talking to certain national airlines to fly to the east and west coasts.”

1,300 hundred homes are planned in this project.

Longer is also an investor in the Dovani project north of Okeechobee with 45 hundred housing units.

“I am personally investing between the two projects close to $5 billion in signatures of loans.  That’s a lot of money.  Between Glades and Okeechobee County we will bring in $100 million in property taxes in eight years.”

Commissioners are against a proposed consolidation of judicial circuits in the state.

The legislature is considering reducing from 20 to 8 or 9 the number of circuits as a cost cutting measure.

Opponents said it is meant to put more republican prosecutors and public defenders in office.

The four county commissions of the Treasure Coast hold their annual meeting October 27th at the Pruitt campus of IRSC in Port St. Lucie.

Topics to be discussed include biosolids, septic to sewer, the medical examiner complex, term limits for commissioners, affordable housing, and legislative priorities.

The Okeechobee Utility Authority Board approved 4.5 percent rate hikes for water and sewer this year.  They also approved a 75 percent reduction in hook up fees for meter installation and capital connections.

Lake Okeechobee rose sharply in the past week due to some heavy rain bands.  The Corps says the lake is now at 16 point 1 feet and will continue to rise.

Inflows are 9,600 cubic feet per second.

They continue to send water west but none to the east coast.  They revealed the C-44 reservoir is leaking and they’ve only filled it 20 percent this year.

Savannah Lacy with the Corps said there is still 7 weeks left in the hurricane season.

“Right now 16 feet for this time of year is not a very high place to be, we are in a fairly normal range for this time of year, of course any significant rain event can change that equation.”

The National Marine Fisheries Service provided their comments on the proposed Lake Okeechobee Systems Operating Manual of LOSOM.  These comments will not change the proposal which can now moved forward toward final approval.

The Indiantown Village Council will consider a deal with Martin County on mobility fees this week.  The county would collect 30 percent and the village 70 percent of revenues for streets and sidewalk improvements.

The village will also purchase new Christmas lights and get bids from electricians to upgrade power so they can light up Post Family Park and streets for the holidays.

The annual budget kept the tax rate the same.  Due to rising property values the amount of property taxes collected will increase by 12.9 percent.

Mayor Susan Gibbs Thomas supported keeping the tax rate the same at just over 1.6 mills, the same it has been since the village was incorporated.

Indiantown high school student Vera Howe is the first Florida 4-H officer elected from Martin County in 40 years.