News Cast 4/19

News Cast for April 19th:

County gets trash deal

Okeechobee County and Waste Management will continue their relationship for at least seven years.

The commission approved a contract that raises the cost of trash pickup this year by 16 percent.

The household rate goes from $300 to $361.

Business rates go up by the consumer price index.

Debbie Perez with Waste Management said having a national firm serving Okeechobee gives the community more assets.

She noted they can pull other assets during emergencies. 

The company did not stop picking up trash during the pandemic.

The company is moving toward fully automated trucks.  They also will have regular weekly pickup of bulk items up to four cubic yards.  They will also provide 96 gallon containers to residential customers.

Each residence can get up to two containers.

The costs of the new career and technical education building is higher than expected. 

The schools budgeted $6.5 million and the actual costs was $9 million.

The board to hold a special meeting tonight at 6 pm to discuss how to handle the issue

Superintendent Ken Kenworthy said they may have to make some cuts.

He said he was not surprised by the higher costs.  He said they still have trouble getting construction materials and contractors have also been busy with Ian damage.  He noted the costs of everything have gone up due to inflation.

The schools set a May 11th ground breaking for the new Okeechobee High School with the ceremony beginning at 9 am.

A moratorium placed on comprehensive plan amendments in Indian Hills as Glades County continues to discuss the farm animal issue there.

Residents have objected to horses and miniature horses in the residential neighborhood.  They argue the two acre parcels are not large enough and it goes against their subdivision regulations.

Commissioner Tony Whidden remained opposed to farm animals in residential areas.

He noted the residents invested in these homes thinking there would be no agriculture uses and no farm animals in the neighborhood.

The owners of the farm animals say the horses are well taken care of and not bothering anyone.

Commissioner Jerry Sapp said part of the neighborhood allows for industrial uses and residents probably would not be happy if an industry does ask to operate there.