News Cast 7/12

News Cast for July 12th:

Commissioners start budget talks 

The Okeechobee county proposed budget for the year is $122.7 million. 

It would represent a spending decrease this year of about $2.5 million from this year. 

Taxes collected at 8 mills would go up about nine percent. 

The county is considering reducing the millage to 7 point 5 mills. 

Assessments for EMS, fire and trash are tentatively set at 3 percent. 

Trash would be $245, EMS $113 dollars and fire at just over $120 dollars. 

The budget includes $1.3 million in improvements at the Ag Civic Center. 

The airport could see new t-hangars and a master drainage plan. 

$310,000 in grants are being used at the Clif Betts Junior Lakeside Recreation Area or Lock 7. 

The county is also considering a four percent pay hike for employees. 

Taxable values in the county rose by 11.7 percent. 

The budget also includes $24.5 million for the Sheriff, $2.13 million for the Clerk of the Courts, $1.46 million for the Property Appraiser, $697,000 for the Supervisor of Elections, and $750,000 for the Tax Collector. 

Pahokee would like to open a marina store and staff new employees. 

They are trying to fill 13 vacant positions in the city. 

City Manager Rodney Lucas has this goal for the marina store. 

“One of the goals of the marina is to make money.  We’d like to open the store to sell bait, have a harbor master and other things.” 

The city denied that they are being sued and fined by the state for taking money to improve and repair the marina and not using it properly. 

A 38 unit apartment complex has also been proposed to city officials. 

The city was scheduled to hold a town hall on Wednesday, July 13 at 6 pm at the Pahokee High School gymnasium to discuss city priorities. 

The Glades County school board wants to hear from contractors or developers who might want to build workforce housing in the Moore Haven area. 

They want to create more housing opportunities for teachers to live locally. 

Superintendent Dr. Beth Barfield said this is a way to get new ideas on the issue. 

“This is not a contract for anything and this isn’t tell us what you will do this for.  This is just to get the ball rolling, giving us some ideas, and opening up the line of communication.  If we sit back and do nothing we are going to get nothing.” 

Glades was a C district this year. 

The only B school was Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School on the Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation. 

Board member Jean Prowant said the FSA showed the value of in person learning at the school. 

“They were totally online last year and you see the effect of coming back to face to face instruction. They have huge gains.  I credit that to the face to face instruction.” 

A DUI checkpoint held Friday night in the 500 block of state road 70 east, led to three DUI arrests. 

There were seven arrests overall along with 43 warnings and five citations. 

19 city police and sheriff deputies took part in the seven hour operation.