OKEECHOBEE — WOKC will be broadcasting the town hall meeting and candidate forum live on Monday, March 22 at 6 p.m. The meeting will take place at the auditorium of the Okeechobee Freshman Campus located behind Golden Corral at 610 S.W. Second Avenue. This will be the city’s fifth town hall meeting in the last two years. They were begun at the behest of Councilman Bob Jarriel, who said during his campaign that he wanted to “ask the people what they wanted to see done and then work on those things one by one.”
Originally, the council talked about having one formal town hall meeting during the evening hours and a second less formal, coffee with a councilman type meeting, during daylight hours each year. The less formal meetings never came to pass, but the council has held two town hall meetings each year since 2019.
The Okeechobee Economic Council will moderate the forum.
In other business at the March 2 city council meeting:
• Bobbie Jenkins was presented with a five-year longevity service award.
• Detective James Pickering was presented with a 15-year longevity service award.
• Mayor Dowling Watford proclaimed the month of April, 2021 as Water Conservation Month and the week of May 16-22, 2021 as Water Reuse Week.
• Jolien Caraballo, 2nd vice-president of the Florida League of Cities and Treasure Coast League of Cities president, spoke on the topic of Home Rule. Home Rule refers to the ability of counties or municipalities to govern themselves as they see fit. In the state of Florida this is specifically granted in the Florida Constitution. According to Caraballo a simple explanation is, “This is your home, so it should be your rules.”
• The council discussed code enforcement. Major Donald Hagan of the Okeechobee City Police Department said he thought the new code enforcement officers were both great choices and would do a good job. He explained the way code enforcement is handled at this time, and new code enforcement officer Anthony Smith explained the steps they plan to take when he or his assistant, Christina Curl, find a code violation. He said punishment for violations is not their goal. Their goal is compliance with city ordinances.