News Cast for March 20th:

The Okeechobee City Council discussed the recent pay schedule plan done by a consulting firm.

There was no action taken but the topic is sure to come up again at budget time.

Vice Mayor Monica Clark said many of the suggestions were unaffordable.

“We need to work on this during budget. I don’t know where we are going to get this money from. I don’t think it is fair to the existing employees if we don’t bring them up to the mid and upper ranges (of the salary schedules). How are we going to afford another $225,000?”

Others were concerned that new employees would be paid the same as some with years of service.

Other concerns were too high of a starting hourly pay of $18.38 considering the benefits city employees enjoy.

Okeechobee and Indian River County Firemen put out a brush fire at the Florida Power and Light Power plant in Okeechobee Saturday.

The blaze grew to 10 acres near the solar panels but there was no report of any damage or injuries. The Florida Forest Service also was at the scene for several hours.

About $12,000 in damage done after a fire in a driveway under a canopy on SW 8th Street on Sunday afternoon.

Fire rescue said a scooter, table, cooking equipment and a vehicle were damaged by the flames. There was no report of injury. It appeared a pot was left unattended on the grill causing the fire.

Pahokee voters will have runoff elections April 2. Everett McPherson and Monique Gordon will compete in Group 1 and Sarah Perez and Sanquetta Cowan-Williams in Group 2.

Congressman Scott Franklin said despite some slowness in negotiations, he thinks a farm bill will be adopted this year.

Congress last year extended the 2018 farm bill until September 30th after being unable to come to a deal.

Most of the haggling is about spending on SNAP and nutrition programs.

US Senator Rick Scott saluted farmers this week for national agriculture day on Monday.

He said agriculture continues to be the backbone of Florida’s economy and farmers are to be saluted and supported not criticized.

Glades County officials were concerned about trucks damaging roads in the western portion of the county as they go to and from mining operations.

They put a moratorium on mines until the summer months to adopt new regulations and find a way to come up with revenue to repair roads.

Commissioner Tony Whidden while noting he supports the mines and businesses said they must address these road issues.

“A business has to produce more than it costs the county. There has to be more input than output. We know the damage these trucks cause on county roads in a county we can’t afford to repair. We are kind of enriching a company that is not putting that volume of money back into the county.”