Economic Development Corp. asks Okeechobee City Council for $40,000 back

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OKEECHOBEE — The $40,000 the city council had budgeted to use for economic growth in the city was back on the agenda again this week.

According to City Administrator Marcos Montes de Oca, back in September when Frank Irby of the Okeechobee County Economic Development Corporation told the city council the EDC was doing well enough on its own this year and would like to see the council use the money for downtown park improvements instead, he was not actually speaking on behalf of the full board but only of the executive committee. When the full board heard of his offer to the city council, members did not agree and requested the funding be reinstated.

“It was kind of a misspeak on his behalf,” said Montes de Oca.

Although the money was never officially moved in the budget, there was enough discussion during several meetings about it going to the parks instead that Montes de Oca felt it was a good idea to bring it back before council. The money is still budgeted to go to the Economic Development Corp., and that is where the money will go now.

In other business, Mayor Dowling Watford Jr. proclaimed the week of Nov. 18-25 as Farm City Week.

Robin Brock was presented with a 20-year longevity service award. “Robin literally does everything and then fills the gaps,” said Montes de Oca.

A maintenance agreement was approved for the installation of a traffic signal at North Ninth Street and U.S. 441.

WiFi hot spots will soon be installed in Flagler and Centennial parks. The purpose is to help area children who do not have a way to connect to do schoolwork.

Finally, the city council will be changing the format for the minutes of their meetings. Rather than the extensive minutes they have been keeping for many years, they will be keeping minimal minutes, called “action minutes,” as required by Roberts Rules of Order. Audio recordings will still be available upon request, but are kept only for three years. Agendas and exhibits are available online. This will give the city clerks more time for other activities, said Councilman Bobby Keefe. Mayor Watford was against the decision. “Maybe I’m old-fashioned,” he said. “It’s just nice to have that backup. I like paper. I don’t like to read things on the computer.”

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