News Cast 8/1

News Cast for August 1st:

Okeechobee County government impacted by inflation 

The Board of County Commissioners set the tentative millage at 8 mills identical to this year. 

There will be an increase in property taxes collected of 8.5 percent. 

The tax base also rose by 12.7 percent. 

The county also will be increasing garbage assessment by 26 percent. 

County Administrator Deborah Manzo explained the original proposal from Waste Management was a 94 percent increase.  They were able to reduce that after negotiations. 

The cost will go from $238 dollars to $300 per residence. 

Fire and EMS assessments rose by 3 percent. 

The fire assessment goes from $116.97 to $120.48. 

The ems assessment changes from $109.84 to $113.14. 

The commission also reappointed Mike Krause and Dwayne Rexroad to the Tourist Development council 

The two candidates for Okeechobee County school board sat down for interviews to talk about their plans if elected. 

Leslie Maynor said she her priority would be to have more students reading at grade level in the third grade. 

“If we kick it back to the basics and focus on that foundation and focus on intensive reading for those students that are falling behind, I think that is one way that we will be able to close those instructional gaps.” 

Christine Brennan Bishop expressed confidence the district can improve on its C grade this year. 

“We have the parts to be the best district in the state of Florida.  I want to see the grade come up.  In the Heartland area we did better than compared to the Treasure Coast.  I believe we have all the pieces.  We just need to work on getting everyone working together.” 

She said the elimination of the Florida Standard Assessment and more of a real time gauge on student growth during the school year should help. 

Maynor is an advocate for more parental say in a child’s education. 

Both support more training for teachers and reducing the number of out of field teachers in the classroom. 

Both candidates also support more Pre-K programs. 

Moore Haven City Council asked to make major improvements to the baseball and softball fields. 

The request came from the growing Glades County Youth Athletics. 

They sent softball and baseball teams to districts this year. 

An acre of sod would cost about $900.   

They also would like to relocate the concession stands and add batting cages. 

The council also discussed ways to beef up code enforcement. 

Mayor Brett Whidden admits they didn’t set a good example this year when it comes to keeping up with mowing in the city 

“IF we wrote any citations for grass during that time you can just throw them in the garbage.   The first time somebody walks into city hall with a violation and says lets go down and look at some city property, it is not going to be good.” 

The city has seven positions they have been unable to fill. 

They discussed hiring people without drivers licenses who can handle less important tasks and eliminate the need to use CDL drivers for these jobs. 

Councilmembers Marcus Decker and Clay Browning were re-elected without opponents this year. 

Alisha Beck was elected as she was the only other candidate to file. 

The public service commission also approved a rate hike for Moore Haven Electric. 

Officials note it is the first increase in 20 years. 

The monthly customer charge went from $8.50 to $9.14. 

The kilowatt per hour charge increased from 7.5 cents to eight cents.