News Cast 8/25

News Cast for August 25th:

Committee makes progress on park project 

A budget target of $400,000 recommended for Cattlemen’s Square in Flagler Park. 

A cattle drive sculpture could be placed in the park early next year. 

Vice Chair of the Flagler Design Review Committee Bert Culbreath said the budget target was important for work to proceed. 

“We need some direction on the city on what they will contribute monetarily if anything.” 

The council had a negative reaction to an architects estimated price of improving the park at $1.2 million. 

Culbreath said he felt the city should not abandon the project. 

“I sure hope not.  This is the largest asset the city has.  It is almost like having a leaky roof and not fixing it.  I don’t understand that.” 

Bridget Waldau told the committee that they have great support from cattlemen on the project and want it to be life like. 

The committee suggests asking for some financial help from corporate donors like Waste Management. 

The city also wants to hire a grant writer that might help provide funding. 

County could charge property owners on litter 

Okeechobee County wants to crack down on illegal dumping. 

The nearest property owner or the property owner where debris is found could be responsible for the cleanup. 

Commission Chairman Terry Burroughs said he supports making land owners pay for the cleanup. 

“Our job is to not have all this stuff on the side of the law just because somebody doesn’t want to follow the law.  Somebody has got to pay.” 

Commissioner David Hazellief raised some concern about charging absentee owners who might not know somebody illegally dumped on their property. 

Residents oppose fire assessment 

Glades County residents speak against a proposed fire tax. 

The bad economy amid the pandemic, low incomes, and no help to outlying areas from the additional fire service, were the themes of most opponents. 

The charge would be up to $121 per residence. 

P.J. McGloffern of Port LaBelle supported the tax. 

“This almost peanuts to having no service and what we will pay with new homes and residents on the ad valorem tax.  Some pay little or no taxes.  Let everybody pay between $90 or $121.  We think the ad valorem tax is way too high.” 

County officials said it would get first responder treatment to residents quicker. 

“The further away you are from treatment, and your condition is bad, the less change you have of making it,” County Manager Bob Jones added. 

The plan is to have new ambulance units and crews in Muse and in Buckhead Ridge. 

Resident Robert Murray said when he had a fire near his residence it was Hendry County that responded. 

“If you are going to make us pay for this provide us the service.  It is not fair for us to pay the services for Moore Haven when we live south of the Caloosahatchee River and get no service.” 

Another public hearing on the tax is set for September 7th at 5 pm. 

Highlands resolves trash issues 

Highlands County scrapped curbside recycling as they resolve a dispute with Waste Connections. 

They’ll create three new drop off sites for recycling instead. 

Fines can be tripled if the company doesn’t pick up people’s trash on time. 

The fine would increase to $1,500 per occurrence. 

If the company does not pick up at least 25 customers on one route on the day scheduled, they face this fine. 

It also requires the company to hire enough staff to meet the demand for trash pickup. 

Commissioner Kevin Roberts said he wanted the issue resolved quickly. 

“I don’t think we need to attach six months’ probation because they might do well for six months and in the seventh month they might do so well.  Let us move forward and not delay this thing.” 

The county removed the habitual offender status for the company.