From the City Manager & Staff
City of Clewiston
Aug. 21, 2020
Dates to Remember
• Aug. 26 — Tentative City Commission budget workshop (if necessary) at the Beardsley Room, John Boy Auditorium at 5 p.m. Attendance and participation allowed in-person and via telephone conference call at 863-254-4038, Conference ID 994729#.
• Sept. 9 — Tentative Millage & Budget Hearing at the Beardsley Room, John Boy Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. Attendance and participation allowed in-person and via telephone conference call at 863-254-4038, Conference ID 994729#.
• Sept. 15 — Special magistrate hearing at Clewiston City Hall at 10 a.m.
• Sept. 17 — Golf Course Advisory Board meeting at the Clewiston City Hall at 11 a.m. Attendance and participation allowed in-person and via telephone conference call at 863-254-4038, Conference ID 994729#.
• Sept. 21 — City Commission meeting – Location and participation instructions will be included with the meeting agenda announcement.
• Sept. 21 — Final Millage & Budget Hearing – Location and participation instructions will be included with the hearing announcement.
Office of the City Manager:
Citizens, Business Owners & Other Interested Parties:
The heart of hurricane season is certainly upon us as evidenced by the recent uptick in the level of storm activity brewing in the Atlantic. Although we have been spared locally thus far, we need to all remain diligent in our planning and preparations for the possibility of direct impacts to Clewiston and Hendry County. Please refer to recommended preparation steps distributed by state and local authorities and heed all notifications and warnings. Specifically, be sure to keep your properties clear of debris or objects that could become airborne or damaged during tropical events when wind speeds reach tropical storm or hurricane force. Monitor state and local websites and social media platforms for updates and notices.
It is also budget preparation season for the city and county and all citizens and other interested parties are encouraged to stay informed and engaged on discussions concerning the municipal operating budgets for the coming fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1. The budget process is always challenging in terms of balancing limited available resources to fund operations with the service needs of the community, but the city commission and staff have been working on various aspects of this year’s budget for several months to achieve the best possible outcome for the community and its taxpayers and customers. This fiscal year and the upcoming fiscal year have been made even more challenging than is customary due to the adverse impacts on revenue sources created by the economic outcomes related to the coronavirus pandemic. In the case of the city, the reduced state shared revenues estimated have had and are expected to continue to have substantial implications for the city operating budget that must be factored into the proposed budget for FY 2020-21. I encourage everyone to stay informed as the staff completes preparation of the proposed budget for the commission’s consideration at planned public meetings and hearings in September prior to adoption of the final budget before September 30th. Fortunately for the city and its constituencies, the city has had considerable success of late in leveraging additional funding sources for capital and operating needs from state and federal sources to supplement traditional funding sources. The city in cooperation with the county is pursuing substantial additional dollars in the form of grants. A report was prepared detailing these efforts and presented to the City Commission in August. A copy of the report is available upon request and will be kept up to date and made available in connection with the budget process on the city website in September.
Lastly, the county is in the process of distributing federal CARES Act dollars to individuals and businesses impacted adversely by COVID-19. The Hendry County website has information on how to apply for this funding and all Clewiston citizens and businesses are encouraged to contact the county to pursue these funds which are grants and therefore do not have to be repaid.
In closing, thank you for your continued support and interest in the City of Clewiston.
Community Development Director Travis Reese reports:
• The Hampton Inn has received their City of Clewiston Business Tax Receipt and has formally opened for business. They were issued their Official Certificate of Occupancy on July 23.
• Sweet Lake Villas’ first 10 units has poured their tie beams and should begin installing the roof trusses next week. Construction on the second set of units will begin in the next few weeks.
Public Works Director Sean Scheffler reports:
• Levee access is closed until the end of October.
• Mosquito Control Trap Counts:
○ July 15 - Okeechobee Boulevard had 400; Public Works had 300, Saginaw had 300, Golf Course had 600 and the Sports Complex had 150.
○ July 27 — Okeechobee Boulevard had 600, Public Works had 200, Saginaw had 300, Golf Course had 500 and the Sports Complex had 300
○ July 30 — Okeechobee Boulevard had 742, Public Works had 200, Saginaw had 400, Golf Course had 900 and the Sports Complex had 245
○ July 31 — Okeechobee Boulevard had 900, Public Works had 300, Saginaw had 400, Golf Course had 1,000 and the Sport Complex had 300.
Air Missions: July 21, July 25, Aug. 4 and Aug. 8
• Grant & Project Updates:
○ New sidewalk projects from Wendy’s to San Luiz, San Luiz to Alverdez and McDonald’s to Berner Road funded by FDOT are being planned with projected construction start dates of FY 2022/2023. Staff is seeking funding for 3/4 of a mile of other sidewalk improvements through a FDOT Safe Route To Schools grant program for needed sidewalk sections near school sites.
○ The Ventura Avenue Rebuild Project is scheduled for 2020 construction. Sixty percent plans and a permit application have been sent to SFWMD for review and permitting.
• Parks Department Activities:
○ Staff began repairing the east “T” dock in the Boat Basin.
○ Multiple applications of a broadleaf herbicide have started to show favorable results. The fields in the Sports Complex are starting to look much better.
○ Sikes Park received a fresh layer of mulch around the play equipment.
○ Sweetest Town Playground and the Boat Basin were sprayed for weeds/grass.
○ The dugouts at Trinidad Park are in the process of being moved to a location on the south side of the soccer field. They will be used for team benches.
• Street Division Activities:
○ Trimmed all of the palms on Royal Palm Avenue.
○ Repaired a sink hole on Arroyo that resulted from a rusted out metal culvert.
○ Replaced street markers at several locations.
○ The Golf Course sign was removed and is being redesigned and will be placed on Sonora at the main entrance to the Sports Complex.
○ The new Golf Course sign has arrived and will be scheduled for installation.
○ Trimmed trees that were blocking the view of oncoming traffic at intersections.
○ Repaired, painted and reinstalled the park swings in Civic/Memorial Park.
○ Staff sprayed over 50 gallons of herbicide around guardrails, sign posts and trees. The blue color is an indicator of what has been sprayed.
○ Twenty more Canary Island Date Palms were trimmed on Circle and Via Del Aqua. The oaks on Esperanza and in the recreation common area are on the list to be trimmed as part of our ongoing hurricane preparations.
Library Director Natasha Hayes reports:
• Over the past several weeks with the reopening of the library to the public, word is slowly being spread and people are excited to be able to come in and choose their own book, make copies, and fax. Still due to the uncertainty of the pandemic our hours of operation and opening procedures remains as follows:
○ Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. This will allow staff the opportunity to empty the drop box, sanitize returned items, and open branch safely in the morning while allowing an hour in the afternoon to provide an in-depth cleaning of the facility of our high touched surfaces and opportunity to empty the return bin again.
○ Phone assistance for reference questions and help with placing holds for materials is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
○ Patrons will be on a first come, first served basis with a maximum occupancy of 10 patrons at a time.
○ Masks required for entry
○ No in-person or group meetings/programs at this time
○ Visits are limited to one hour
○ Practice social distancing at all times
○ Return of all materials will occur at the book drop box outside
○ All materials will be quarantined for three days prior to being checked in and returned to shelves
○ All library fines that have accrued during the pandemic time period will be waived until further notice
○ Study rooms, newspapers, and magazines are currently unavailable (duplicate newspapers are available for keeping on a first come, first served basis)
• This will be the last week to check out our virtual summer program through the Clewiston and Barron Library Facebook pages. This wonderful program is brought to you and paid for by our partnership with the Southwest Florida Library Network (SWFLN).
• Staff is continuing to do an amazing job with creating the libraries digital arts and crafts programs as well as keeping our Facebook page updated and full of fun things to do and read. This week, the digital craft was “Take & Make!” All materials for the event are provided by the library in the form of a small kit. Patrons pick up the kits on a designated day and time to ensure contactless transactions. Patrons will then create the craft on their own. Staff is doing a wonderful job with bringing stories alive through her virtual storytimes. All events are listed on our Facebook page.
• If you have not done so already, please join our Facebook page (Clewiston Public Library) in order to remain up to date on the library’s events and programs.
• The Library Cooperative Board met at noon at the Barron Library on Thursday, Aug. 20.
Golf Course Director Robbie Rush reports:
• Get all information of what’s going on at Clewiston Golf Course Facebook.
• Get on our E-mail list by going to the City of Clewiston Website. Go to the golf course division and at the bottom of the page you can sign-up on Constant Contact and get all Clewiston Golf Course information.
• There were 23 participants in the Clewiston Golf Course Junior Golf Camp this summer. Pictures are on the Clewiston Golf Course Facebook page.
• The greens have been patched with sod and are looking and putting better.
• Summer Rates last until Sept. 30. If you pay for 18 holes you can play as many as you want in that same day.
• Golf Shop Hours are 7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. The first tee time is 8 a.m.
• Golf Carts have to be in at 7 p.m.
• Walking play is permitted all day at the golf course now.
• Clewiston Golf Course has a driving range. The driving range has lights which means you can hit golf balls after (Night Time) hours. Tokens for the range ball machine can be purchased in the golf shop or at the Clewiston Police Department after hours.
• Golf lessons are available at the club from PGA Professional Robbie Rush. Contact the golf shop at 863-983-1448.
• The Clewiston Golf Course offers very competitive pricing on all golf gear the golfer needs.
• For more information, call the golf shop at 863-983-1448.
Code Enforcement Officer Debbie McNeil reports:
Is your swimming pool in compliance with City Of Clewiston Ordinance?
City of Clewiston Ordinance
Sec. 110-2. - Definitions and construction.
Swimming pool means a portable pool or permanent structure that contains a body of water 18 inches or more in depth of 250 square feet or more of water surface area and intended for recreational purposes, including a wading pool. The term “swimming pool” excludes an ornamental reflecting pool, fish pond, or other type of pool, regardless of size, unless located and designed so as to create a hazard or be used for swimming or wading.
Article VI. - Supplementary District Regulations
Sec. 110-524. - Fences, walls and hedges.
(18) Swimming pool enclosures. All swimming pools must be within a screened cage, or shall be enclosed on all open sides by a fence which is a minimum of 4 feet above the existing ground grade and a maximum of 6 feet above the existing ground grade. All gates which are part of a pool fence or screening cage must have safety locks.
Florida leads the country in drowning deaths of children ages 1-4 years.
“Drowning deaths in Florida are up 70% when compared to this time last year, according to Water Smart Tots.”
Pool safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Utilities Director Danny Williams reports:
• Electric Crew Activities
○ Repaired pole at Virginia Avenue due to lightning damage;
○ Repaired pole top and changed arrester and fuse due to lightning, replaced two broken pole top pins;
○ Removed old three phase transformer bank, replaced with single phase behind old Ford Dealership;
○ Straightened pole on 11th Street;
○ Removed vegetation from power lines;
○ Changed connectors at residence on Louisiana Avenue;
○ Repaired street lights;
○ Removed service to house on Del Monte Avenue for customer to repair damaged meter wires;
○ Transferred two services to new pole on Lopez Street and removed old transformer;
○ Replaced four old underground services with new installations on Lopez Street;
○ Replaced underground service to three apartments in Harlem Garden Apartments;
○ Replaced red light on Ventura Avenue and WC Owen Avenue.
Your Utility partners with customers to bring renewable power to the electric grid. If you’d like to learn more about net metering, please visit the FTC consumer information site at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0532-solar-power-your-home.
• Water Sewer Crew Activities
○ Replaced twelve water meters;
○ Repaired two water breaks;
○ Repaired three lift stations.
A sewer rehabilitation project is currently underway in the city. The $2.3 million dollar project, with $1.784 million funded with grant monies, will identify defects in the gravity sewer and the service lines, and make designated approved repairs. The city has contracted with American Infrastructure Technologies for this project. If they are working in your neighborhood, you may be asked to limit your water usage for a few hours. We apologize for the inconvenience.
If you have any questions, please call our office at 863-983-1454. You may also call American Infrastructure Technologies directly at 256-739-4747 ext. 5.
• Customer Service Department
○ Your utility partners with customers to bring renewable power to the electric grid. If you’d like to learn more about net metering, please visit the FTC consumer information site at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0532-solar-power-your-home.
○ The public utilities building drive-through service will remain open to customers during normal office hours.
○ Please remember to register with CodeRed (Reverse 911). This system allows us to contact you in case of an emergency or with other informational announcements. You may register by clicking on the CodeRed link at the bottom of the city‘s website page www.clewiston-fl.gov. You may update your information at any time through the same link.
○ If you are considering replacing your air conditioner or insulation, remember the city offers a rebate program for those items. Most local contractors participate in the program and can give you information. You can also visit our website at www.clewiston-fl.gov or call our office.
○ It’s lightning season! Don’t forget to sign up for your meter based surge protection! Visit our office today.
○ Online bill pay is available on our web site at www.clewiston-fl.gov or www.municipalonlinepayments.com/clewistonfl.