MOORE HAVEN – Do Buckhead Ridge residents want the county to impose mandatory garbage collection? At their May 9 meeting, Glades County Commissioners considered asking the property owners.
According to the staff report, since 2017, Buckhead Ridge citizens have frequently asked that the county impose mandatory solid waste collection service for the area south of SR 78 from Access Road on the west end, to Kissimmee River on the east end. Currently, more than one waste collection hauler serves the area, and they bill directly to customers/property owners, the staff report explains.
For that to change, state law requires a petition from the majority of the property owners requesting the county to take over the service. If the service is requested, the county would go out for bids for solid waste collection for Buckhead Ridge. Fees for mandatory collection service imposed by the county would be billed on property owners' annual tax billing.
According to the Glades County Property Appraiser, there are 1,435 parcels in the Buckhead Ridge area. The estimated cost of preparing the mailing is approximately $2 per parcel or less than $3,000 to provide property owners a mailing notice which will include a “mail back “petition form.
Commissioner Donna Storter Long said every time she visits Buckhead Ridge, the question of mandatory solid waste collection comes up. “Right now, each one is being billed. The prices keep going up. It’s possible we could save them some money,” she said.
Commission Chairman Tim Stanley said people will want to know how much it will cost, but the county can’t go out to bid unless 51% of the property owners sign the petition to ask the county to take over the service.
He said if Buckhead Ridge has mandatory solid waste collection, other areas such as Lakeport or Indian Hills might also request it.
The county attorney will research the law and draft the wording of the mailing.
In other business at the May 9 meeting, commissioners discussed appointing members to the Tourism Development Council (TDC). Currently the board has nine members, but often they do not have a quorum at meetings. The statute requires at least three members “shall be owners or operators of motels, hotels, recreational vehicle parks or other tourism accommodations in Glades County which are subject to a tax levied under the authority of F.S. 125.104.” Only one of the current applicants for the board meets that requirement.
The TDC is funded by the Tourist Development Tax, a levy falling primarily on tourists, travelers and short term transient rentals of hotels, motels, room rentals and certain other short term accommodation rentals. This is commonly called a “bed tax.”
Other questions came up during the meeting. “There is currently state legislation relative to the bed tax. It’s in committee. I don’t know the status today. It might result in a reduction of the tax,” said Kate Adams, of the Florida Trail Association. “We’re not ready to form a new TDC in my opinion.” The board agreed to table the matter until the next meeting.
Commissioners agreed to move forward with the sale of surplus properties, as allowed by state law. The county will set a minimum bid price. Adjacent property owners will be notified that the properties will be up for sale. The highest bids will come back to the board for approval. The surplus properties range from 0.125 acres to 4.32 acres and are in North LaBelle, Palmdale and Moore Haven.
Glades County Commission meetings are livestreamed on the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Glades County page on Facebook.