News Cast 2/16

News Cast for February 16th:

Agencies working on connection fees

The Okeechobee Utility Authority, Okeechobee City Council and the Board of County Commissioners held a workshop meeting to discuss the community’s sewer issues.

Mandatory collection to sewer is being implemented.  About 40 customers in Whispering Pines have yet to hook up and the county code enforcement is working with them.

They like to find new state revenue to help those on fixed incomes that can’t afford the fees.

The OUA said it is willing to finance these costs over a period of time.

County Code Enforcement Officer Beth Albert said they don’t want to fight residents.

“We just want them to get into compliance.  We want voluntary compliance.  We don’t want to take them to the special magistrate and possibly impose a fine because they can’t afford to connect to water or sewer.”

The governor announced a series of grants this month for various sewer improvements in Okeechobee County.

This list included $1.5 million for Pine Ridge Park.  $3.5 million for the SW Wastewater Service Area Septic to Sewer Project, $2.5 million for SW 5th Avenue septic to sewer, and $2.5 million for other projects.

A pitch made to Glades County about a regional landfill.

Tommy Clay said he represents a company looking for land in either South Florida or Southwest Florida.

He points out truck drivers from Miami would likely prefer a facility in Glades County opposed to the current facility in Okeechobee.

“When you look at the location here, how close you are to Fort Myers and the west coast, it just fits.  It is just as easy to go from Miami to Ortona than it is to go from Miami to Okeechobee, the miles are the same.”

He said landfill are better constructed today.

“The way they do these landfills is better.  We have not had odor in Okeechobee in eight or nine years.  If you do decided to do this, don’t ever cut the host fees in half because somebody tried to scare you.  The commission did that and it was a bad mistake.”

104 professional anglers hit Lake Okeechobee this morning for the 2023 SiteOne Bassmaster’s Elite series.

Rookie angler Cooper Gallant of Toronto, Ontario, grew up on a salmon boat on Lake Ontario and is familiar with large lakes like Okeechobee.

“It is tough, bites are few and far between.  I found one or two areas where I have confidence.  I will probably hunker down for day one and see where it goes from there.”

Anglers predict the bass will be on the move and the fishable waters will likely change from day to day.

The boats have bunched up in certain areas and the key is getting to the right spot in the morning.

The tournament weighins are held each day around 3:30 pm at Scott Driver Boat Ramp.

The county will also host a family friendly event at the tournament on Saturday and Sunday.

The Indiantown Village Planning Board recommended approval for the site plan to the Grind Hard Ammunition manufacturing facility planned for 19 acres on SW Farm Road.

90 jobs could be created by the facility.

The village council will have final say at a future public hearing.

There was some concern about dangers from the ammunition but company officials downplayed any safety concerns.

The board also recommended approval of the site plan for River Oak, a 176 unit housing project on SW Famel Road.