City to hold forum for candidates


OKEECHOBEE — During its Feb. 16 meeting, the council discussed the next town hall meeting. “I would like to see a big crowd,” said Councilman Bob Jarriel. ”We have so many new and exciting things coming in. There are so many things going on. I’d like to tell people about it.”

The town hall meeting will take place on Monday, March 22 at 6 p.m. A candidate forum will be held at the end of the meeting. Four people are running for the vacant seat on the council — Noel Chandler, Beth Lehman, David McAuley and Lisa Feltenberger.

In other business, Kaylee King from the Economic Development Corporation extended an invitation to the council members to attend a training focused on economic development. The 3-hour training will take place on April 1 and will take place at Indian River State College and precautions for COVID-19 will be taken.

Mayor Dowling Watford proclaimed the week of Feb. 21-27, 2021 as Engineers Week.

Tommy Clay was appointed a regular member of the Okeechobee Utility Authority Board of Directors, and Jeff Fadley was appointed an alternate.

The well in the center of Veterans’ Park will be relocated over near the existing electrical over on the side of the park. It will make the park more open for future development said City Administrator Marcos Montes de Oca. The well is faulty anyway, and Frank DeCarlo from American Drilling will be donating his services to drill a new one.

Heather Dobbs, Director of Grants and Special Programs, introduced a new program called the BUDDY Mentoring Program. The word buddy stands for building up diverse and dynamic youth.

“Our Okeechobee students need mentors, and hopefully me speaking to you today will influence you to become one,” said Dobbs. “Mentoring impacts lives. Students who meet with mentors are less likely to start drinking, to use drugs, to skip school or to have declining mental health. They are more likely to participate in extracurricular activities, and they are more likely to attend college.” The group is committed to finding a mentor for every child in the district, beginning with Central Elementary’s fifth grade. Apply online at You can also call Katharine Williams, Director of Mental Health and Behavioral Supports at 863-462-5000 extension 1040 or Dobbs at extension 1059.

A settlement was reached in the case of City of Okeechobee, Fla. versus Gloria Rodriguez, et. al. The property was in foreclosure due to code enforcement liens, and the owner requested a settlement. She will pay the city $11,355.74. The property is located at 914 N.W. Second Street.