OKEECHOBEE — During the March 16 meeting of the Okeechobee City Council, a request to recognize the graduating class of 2021 with temporary signs featuring a photograph and name of each senior, displaying approximately one week before graduation on May 28 was approved. The signs will be paid for by donations.
In other business:
* Brandon Tucker, representing the Economic Council of Okeechobee spoke about some of the goals and concerns of the Economic Council. He said their council believes Okeechobee could become the best small town to live in Florida within the next five years. “We’d like to be on the cover of Florida Trend Magazine saying this is the place. This is the best small town in Florida to live.”
Tucker went on to tell the city council how the economic council felt they should go about getting there. One was to work on the management of Lake Okeechobee. It is their opinion that 12.5-15.5 feet is the ideal level for the lake. “We believe we should be looking at the science, always looking at the science, not the politics.” He applauded the city council for bringing in MacVicar Consulting to help with the planning process for the development of a new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The second item his council feels is important to the growth of Okeechobee is code enforcement. He acknowledged the hard work the city and the police department have done with code enforcement and went on to say, “We have taken a laser focus on what I call a box. That box basically extends from 441 North, from let’s say Cemetery Road to Lock 7 over to the overpass at 710 and west over to U.S. 98.” He said Okeechobee has a huge issue with code enforcement. His council feels they should focus on the properties that they already know have issues and make sure they are brought into compliance. If they are not brought into compliance after the magistrate does everything he is legally able to do, the council believes the properties should be foreclosed upon.
In conclusion, Tucker said he would like to come before the council once a month to get and give updates and to offer his help as needed.
* The city council approved a request from the Okeechobee County Commissioners to move the Tourist Development Council into the chamber of the commerce building.
Although several Okeechobee residents applied for the position, a retired school teacher who lives in Fort Pierce was chosen to be an alternate on the Flagler Park Design Review Committee. Bob Burdge is a former Fort Pierce City Council member and currently serves on the Fort Pierce Planning Board. The need for an alternate arose after Frank Irby resigned his position on the committee. Jennifer Tewksbury was moved up from her position as an alternate, leaving an empty alternate position. The other members of the committee are:
Robbie Chartier, Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bert Culbreth, Vice Chair, email@example.com
Susanne Clemons, firstname.lastname@example.org
Regina Hamrick, email@example.com
Kathy Scott, firstname.lastname@example.org
Denise Whitehead, email@example.com
* Code enforcement was discussed — fines, court costs, the magistrate’s duties, the possibility of allowing code enforcement to issue citations, etc.
* City Attorney John Fumero gave an update on the charter review committee. He said things are going well, but they are working on a way to facilitate the discussions, because they are only on article two. “We have lots of opinions and lots of input.” He said things have gotten really bogged down, and it’s literally to the point of, “Where should we move this comma?” while examining the charter.
* Fumero also updated the council about the fire services agreement and said things are going well there too, despite rumors to the contrary.
* The council is looking forward to its town hall meeting, scheduled for Monday, March 22 at 6 p.m. at the Freshman Campus auditorium - 610 S.W. Second Avenue. The candidates for the special election will be given an opportunity to speak after the meeting.