News Cast 2/18

News Cast for February 18th:

DEP Secretary balances water quality and quantity issues

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein said he’d be disappointed if more water isn’t stored in Lake Okeechobee once the Herbert Hoover Dike restoration is complete.

Valenstein testified before the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

He fielded questions about improving water quality but also about water quantity in South Florida.

State Representative Anika Omphroy said cities in her district are buying land and are concerned that drawdowns of Lake Okeechobee will impact the amount of water they can use.

“30% of our Florida’s populations rely on Lake Okeechobee for water supply. It is our single largest source of water.  Continued drawdowns of the lake will impact our supply.  There are those municipalities that fear they will be without water.  They are actually buying land to store water.  The dam is almost fixed but will the levels be allowed to be raised again.”

Rep. Rick Roth said he worried the state won’t meet the required amounts of water for agriculture in South Florida.

He said this would be his priority for the Army Corps of Engineers.

“The corps operation of Lake Okeechobee does not diminish the state’s existing permit holder water supply and the ability to allocate future water supply as we build these projects.”

Field narrows for Okeechobee County Administrator search

Okeechobee County Commissioners plan to interview the four finalists for the job of Okeechobee County Administrator on March 4 and make a decision on March 11.

The public will get a chance to visit with these candidates at a meet and greet event at the court house on March 3.

The interviews of the candidates will not be live streamed on the county website.  Instead it will be recorded and available for the public before a decision is made.

The finalists for the position include Deborah Manzo, the Town Manager of Lantana, Stanley Hawthorne, the former Assistant Administrator for the City of Fort Lauderdale, Wade Sparkman, Business Manager for Broward County, and Louis Johnson, the current Assistant Administrator for Okeechobee County.

The candidates will also take about a two hour tour of county facilities on March 3.

Christopher Rose of Miami withdrew his name from consideration.