Dates to Remember
July 12 — Firefighter Pension Board Meeting
July 18 — City Commission Meeting
July 21 — Golf Course Advisory Board Meeting
July 25 — Tentative City Commission Workshop
July 26 — Special Magistrate Hearing
Below is the July 1 newsletter from the office of the Clewiston city manager and staff.
Office of the City Manager
Citizens, business owners & other interested parties:
In this space in several updates over the past couple of years, I have documented the unprecedented success the City of Clewiston has enjoyed of late in the receipt of millions of dollars of federal, state and local financial support in the form of grants and contributions to undertake a significant number of priority capital projects within and around the community. It is important to remember that these efforts are supported by a relatively small but active and capable group of dedicated public servants who comprise the various city departments. With each of these funding successes comes the inherent responsibility to ensure that all sources of “public funds” once received by the city are spent in compliance with each applicable regulatory requirement stipulated by federal, state and local laws and regulations. This is a most important responsibility which I can assure that your elected and appointed officials take very seriously.
To encourage public trust in the system and ensure regulatory compliance, the city commission has instituted fiscal requirements for the management of all municipal funds. As a further safeguard, state law mandates that a financial audit be conducted annually by an independent qualified accounting firm. This process is undertaken after the close of each fiscal year and culminates with submittal of the audit results to the state in June and a subsequent report to the city commission. This process has been recently completed for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2021 and the results will be presented to the city commission at the upcoming regular meeting on July 18, 2022. The final report will be available for distribution and public inspection prior to that meeting. The report along with previous fiscal year audits will then remain a permanent record displayed upon the City website www.clewiston-fl.gov going forward.
Having reviewed essential elements of the latest report’s findings, management can advise without preempting the results of the auditor’s detailed report that the pending release will once again validate very positive outcomes for Clewiston. The continued progress is a testament to all city staff who play a role in the financial management system in particular Finance Director Shari Howell and the team she supervises for their dedication, professionalism and internal fiscal oversight efforts. This outcome is especially gratifying in consideration of all the city’s referenced additional funding success that has and will continue to substantially increase the oversight responsibilities for the finance department while improving the overall quality of life of our community.
Thank you for your continued support and interest in the City of Clewiston.
Golf Course Director Robbie Rush reports:
• Get all information of what’s going on at Clewiston Golf Course Facebook.
• Get on our E-mail list by going to the City of Clewiston website. Go to the golf course division and at the bottom of the page you can sign-up on Constant Contact and get all Clewiston Golf Course information.
• Rates have changed for the summer for non-members (reduced) — $32.00 plus tax 18 holes and $15.50 plus tax for 9 holes. If you pay for 18 holes, you can play as many as you want in the same day.
• Golf shop hours are 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. The first tee time is 7:45 a.m. Carts are due in at 7 p.m. daily. The golf course is open 6 days a week, closed on Mondays for the summer months.
• Clewiston Golf Course has a driving range. The driving range has lights which means you can hit golf balls after (night time) hours. Tokens for the range ball machine can be purchased in the golf shop or at the Clewiston Police Department after hours. The driving range is closed on Mondays in the summer months.
• Golf lessons and club repair are available at the club from PGA Professional Robbie Rush. Contact the golf shop at 863-983-1448.
• Walking is permitted all day.
• Clewiston Elks Lodge had their annual Golf Scramble Saturday, June 18, 2022. They raised money for scholarships for kids. They had 92 players.
• Junior Golf Camp #2 is July 18-22, 2022. Sign-up is in the golf shop or call 863-983-1448.
• Junior Golf Camp #1 had 45 kids attend.
For more information call the golf shop at 863-983-1448.
Community Development Director/Fire Chief Travis Reese reports:
• The Clewiston Fire Department would like to thank the National Volunteer Fire Council and Anheuser-Busch for their generous donation of drinking water to our department. Dehydration can cause decreased physical and mental performance, as well as serious health consequences – a major concern when lives are on the line. Florida Firefighters lose 50-70 oz. of water in 30-40 minutes, compared to 8-16 oz. of water in 60 minutes during average athletic activity. This means that firefighters can lose roughly 5 times the amount of water as athletes in a much shorter time span. This donation will allow the department to have clean drinking water on the scene and readily available to the firefighters.
Library Director Natasha Hayes reports:
• Library staff provided ready reference/computer assistance, circulation activities, and patron programming to 2,109 patrons this month.
• This month’s programming activities have included:
○ Monday Movie Madness was held on June 6, 13, 20, and 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. There was a total of 182 participants.
o We had a fantastic first day of the “Ocean of Possibilities” summer library program on Thursday, June 2. We had a total of 89 participants.
○ Maritime Archaeology & Underwater Archaeology Storytime — On June 7 and 14, we had an awesome interactive presentation by Natalie De La Torre Salas from the Southwest - Florida Public Archaeology Network. Total for those involved was 60 for Tuesday, June 7, and 49 on Thursday, June 16.
○ Dive in & Explore Event was a huge success on Thursday, June 9 as we had a total of 69 participants. Sergeant James Hester presented an introduction to basic scuba equipment and dive safety procedure.
○ Dive Into Reading Magic Show with Joey Evans was held on Friday, June 17 with a total 41 participants.
○ Oceans of Fun Craft — On June 14, children and families enjoyed making sea critters diamond paintings. There were a total of 59 participants.
○ Animal Island Hopping — Last week, Cold Blood Inc. visited the Clewiston Library. Children learned about local wild animal rescue. The 71 participants enjoyed the presentation and got to pet the animals (alligator, turtle, tortoise, and snake).
○ On Thursday, June 23, 38 children participated in and enjoyed the coloring contest.
○ On Tuesday, June 28, it was the battle of the fishes! Thank you to everyone that came out to the library for the Goldfish Taste Test Challenge. Participants guessed the flavors and ranked their favorites. We had 66 children in attendance.
Highlighted programs and events:
• Summer Movie Madness: Every Monday at 1 p.m. You may bring your own pillows and/or blankets to cozy up. Popcorn provided. Free and open to everyone. For more information on weekly themes and movie titles, please call the library at 863-983-1493.
• Museum on Wheels — Sea Adventure: Join us on Thursday, July 7 at 10 a.m. to explore more “Oceans of Possibilities” with the animal ambassadors from Museum of Discovery and Science.
• Sea Art Painting with our local artist Ms. Thomas: Join us on Tuesday, July 12 at 10 a.m.
• Boat and Water Safety: Join us on Thursday, July 14 at 10 a.m. for a fun and educational presentation with Captain Doran.
• Ocean Magic Show: Stop in and enjoy a magic show on Tuesday, July 26 at 11:30 a.m. Magician Jim Chartier, the owner of the ShowTimeForKids will have you rolling in the isles with fast paced laugh-a-minute comedy and magic.
• The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum — Seashells by the Seashore: Join us on Thursday, July 28 at 10 a.m. to learn all about mollusks during this special hands-on educational experience for families and children.
• New Opportunity: Beginning last month, a new career certification track became available through Career Online High School: Introduction to Manufacturing! This is one of the many career certifications available to those who enroll. The Career Online High School program allows individuals to earn an accredited high school diploma for free and at your own pace within the comfort of your own home or anywhere internet access is available. Participants finish not only with their high school diploma but also with a career certification and the tools needed to succeed in their chosen field. Applicants who successfully complete the following will be considered for enrollment: an “Are You Ready Survey,” a prerequisite course, and an in-person interview at the Clewiston Library. Learn more about the program, including how to enroll and available scholarship opportunities, visit http://www.hendrylibraries.org or call the Clewiston Public Library at 863-983-1493. Your future is free and only one call away!
• Needing a computer at home or a laptop to travel with? The Clewiston and Barron Libraries have partnered with Komputers for Kids which is able to provide you an entire desktop computer for as low as $40 (tower, flat screen monitor, mouse, and keyboard included)-wifi card is available for only $15 and laptops as low as $75.00. Stop in at either branch to check the inventory that is available.
• Need a place to hold a meeting? What about a computer lab to host your organization’s/company’s training? The Clewiston Library offers a classroom and computer lab with a total of 16 computers for use. For more information or to secure the room, please stop in or call the library at any time.
• If you have not done so already, please join our Facebook page (Clewiston Public Library) in order to remain up to date on the library’s events and programs.
Recap of Upcoming Events:
• Museum on Wheels - Sea Adventure - Thursday, July 7 at 10 a.m.
• Summertime Movie Madness - Monday, July 11 at 1 p.m.
• Sea Art Painting with our local artist Ms. Thomas - Tuesday, July 12 at 10 a.m.
• Medicare 101 Via Zoom - Wednesday, July 13 at noon
• Boat & Water Safety with Captain Doran - Thursday, July 14 at 10 a.m.
• Summertime Movie Madness – Monday, July 18th at 1:00 p.m.
• Ocean Craft - Tuesday, July 19 at 10 a.m.
• Medicare Part C Via Zoom - Wednesday, July 20 at noon
• Ocean Craft - Thursday, July 21 at 10 a.m.
• Summertime Movie Madness – Monday, July 25 at 1 p.m.
• Ocean Magic Show with James Chartier – Tuesday, July 26 at 11:30 a.m.
• The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum - Seashells by the Seashore – Thursday, July 28 at 10 a.m.
• Medicare Part D – Thursday, July 28 at noon
Code Enforcement Officer Debbie Clay reports:
Article VI. – Solid Waste
Division 2. – Residential Collection Services
Sec. 74-187. Collection scheduling and placement
(a) Garbage. The city will collect garbage under the following conditions:
(1) Residential garbage will be collected on regular schedules. Pickups shall not be reduced by holidays, but pickups normally scheduled to be made on a holiday may be rescheduled by the city.
(2) Garbage, as defined herein, shall not be deposited directly into the carts but shall be placed in plastic or paper bags, a box, etc. Garbage placed in unapproved containers or placed outside of the approved city-issued cart will not be picked up. Cardboard boxes must be broken down and placed directly into the carts. Residential solid waste consisting of construction and demolition debris resulting from minor home repair from the dwelling unit may be placed directly into the cart.
(3) Garbage not placed within the approved city containers shall not be picked by the city. Exceptions to this standard will be made during the Christmas holiday period.
Special pickups will be coordinated by the resident and the public works department as to time, place, date and items to be picked up. A minimum fee, found in appendix A to this Code, will be charged. The director of public works or his designee shall charge an additional amount above the minimum based on excessive volume, difficulty of collection, and other relevant factors. This fee shall be charged with the customer’s next regular utility bill.
Both our Public Works and Code Enforcement personnel will continue focused enforcement on this ordinance as well as continued enforcement of all City of Clewiston Ordinance.
The complete City of Clewiston Ordinances is available online and may be accessed utilizing the City of Clewiston website: https://www.clewiston-fl.gov/ or Municode Library website: https://library.municode.com/fl/clewiston/codes/code_of_ordinances
If you have any questions about how to achieve/maintain compliance with this or any other City of Clewiston Ordinance you may contact our office at 863-983-1454 extension 309.
Police Chief Tom Lewis reports:
The police department entered into an extended multi-jurisdictional traffic task force agreement with agencies across the 20th judicial circuit. The agreement allows for a large number of resources to be shared between agencies for saturation patrols and selective traffic enforcement programs for aggressive driving, DUI enforcement, etc.
With urging from the Florida Police Chiefs Association and with city commission approval, the police department entered into a cooperative agreement with the Florida Department of Health in their efforts to compile state-wide statistics on diseases and injuries of public health importance by reporting circumstance information associated with violent deaths in Florida to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Violent Death Reporting System.
In the month of May 2022, Animal Services reported the intake of 136 cats and 50 dogs.
We encourage members of the public to visit the shelter and find your fur-ever pet and to visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ClewistonAnimalServices/ where you can see the latest news and pictures of our four-legged friends.
The Florida heat is always a huge concern for our animals. As we approach the hottest time of the year, we are making more improvements at your Clewiston Animal Shelter. We’ve replaced the shade sails with a more robust shade structure. We’d like to give a big thank you to all of the police officers that helped with the project and the city manager, the city commission, and the county commission for always supporting us.
During the week of June 6, 2022, Officer Curtis Mixon attended Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Investigations Training in Fort Myers. This grant-funded training was hosted at the Southwest Florida Public Safety Academy.
During the week of June 20, 2022, Officer Ethan Rodriguez attended a First Aid Instructor course hosted at the Southwest Florida Public Safety Academy. This grant-funded training will bring the department up-to-speed on the latest first aid techniques and allow us to train regularly with an in-house instructor.
General Services Director Williams reports:
Florida’s electric utilities use natural gas to generate the majority of the state’s electricity because it is reliable, efficient and a relatively clean fuel source. Unfortunately, we have seen natural gas prices more than doubled in the last year. Because natural gas prices are up, we have had to increase our Bulk Power Cost Adjustment, which is a separate line item on electric bills that reflects the variable cost of generating power, primarily power plant fuel costs. For Floridians, the increase in gas and other energy costs means that the average family will pay $3,000 to $4,000 more for energy this year.
Please know that we are doing everything we can to manage our costs. But there are things you can do to conserve energy. The driving factor for energy use is the air conditioner. The best way to manage your energy use is to maintain your thermostat temperature at 78°F during the warm months and 68°F in mild weather. Additionally, setting the thermostat to a higher temperature while the house is empty – especially during the hot summer months – can help you save up to 17% each month on your bill.
• Electric Crew Activities:
○ Installed new service at Mississippi Avenue address,
○ restored power to Obispo Avenue customer,
○ disconnected services to Trinidad Avenue and DeSoto Avenue for contractor work,
○ repaired underground service on Lopez Street,
○ repaired connectors on pole on Alabama Avenue to correct blinking lights,
○ repaired street lights,
○ removed vegetation from electric lines,
○ converted overhead service to underground service on Royal Palm Avenue,
○ installed three new services to new residences on Mississippi and Virginia Avenues,
○ repaired three faulty underground services,
○ installed banner on Seventh Street for Juneteenth celebration,
○ changed transformer at 10th Street address,
○ repaired open secondary wire,
○ changed bad connector on pole at lift station.
• Water Sewer Crew Activities:
○ Repaired five water line breaks, including an 8” pipe break on Ventura Avenue caused by construction work in the area as we make roadway and drainage improvements;
○ performed equipment repairs at four lift stations;
○ returned a Master Lift Station to service, removed non-biodegradable wipes clogging the pumps
• Customer Service Department
○ Your Utility partners with customers to bring renewable power to the electric grid. If you’d like to learn more about net metering, please visit the FTC consumer information site at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0532-solar-power-your-home.
○ Please remember to register with CodeRed (Reverse 911). This system allows us to contact you in case of an emergency or with other informational announcements. You may register by clicking on the CodeRed link at the bottom of the city‘s website page www.clewiston-fl.gov. You may update your information at any time through the same link.
○ If you are considering replacing your air conditioner or attic insulation, remember the city offers a rebate program for those items. Most local contractors participate in the program and can give you more information. You can also visit our website at www.clewiston-fl.gov or call our office.
○ it’s lightning season! Don’t forget to sign up for your meter based surge protection! Visit our office today.
○ online bill pay is available on our web site at www.clewiston-fl.gov or www.municipalonlinepayments.com/clewistonfl.
• Facility Maintenance:
○ Staff maintains our facilities in top condition. This month we:
○ Repaired a window leak in one of the back windows in the youth center as well as made roof repairs at the library and police department.
○ Serviced eight air conditioners.
○ Repaired the doors at the youth center.
• Street Division:
○ We’re working hard to keep our city looking great. Our staff:
○ Continues to help the Solid Waste Division pick up debris piles from our streets and remove palm fronds from the roadways.
○ Mows the distribution substation and some of the mosquito control stations.
○ Stays on top of pothole repairs, especially during the rainy season.
○ Performs landscaping, particularly trimming bushes and trees.
○ Delivered the stage to Harlem for the Juneteenth celebration.
• Solid Waste: With the help of the utilities office and the Code Enforcement office all city residents have been given notice of Solid Waste Rules and Regulations to ensure awareness of applicable city ordinances.
○ Staff continues to run all the trash routes and pick up recycled materials from city buildings.
○ For the third month in a row special pick up fees have been assessed as stipulated by city code.
○ Drivers are cross training on equipment to ensure that all vehicles can be readily staffed
• Ball Fields:
○ The 2022 baseball season is finished. During down season, staff will be making necessary repairs to all structures and fields.
○ Extra clay and additives are being added to our fields.
• Recreation: We are pleased to announce the hiring of our new Recreation Director Lauren Collins McGinnis. Lauren will assume her new position the first week of July, so stop in and introduce yourself and help to make her welcome.
○ Upkeep of our parks and recreation areas is a nonstop job! Here are just some of the maintenance activities performed this month:
○ Safety inspections and maintenance in all of our playgrounds and parks.
○ Landscape trimming to meet our city standards at all times.
○ Mulch was ordered for the Sweet Town Playground and is be added to the park this week.
○ Please note: the John Boy Auditorium is scheduled for a complete floor cleaning and waxing at the end of this month.
• Central Garage: Staff continues to maintain our fleet and emergency backup generators to ensure that they are operational at all times.