Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Glades Commission Meeting This Week

Fertilizer Plant Causes Emergency - Fires Out Now

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- With about 60 citizens in attendance the Glades Commission meeting Tuesday was amended to allow a Board motion to declare a local state of emergency due to toxic fumes from ongoing fire at fertilizer plant south of Moore Haven. But before the meeting was adjourned, Public Safety Director Bob Jones called and reported that the fire was out and an evacuation shelter that had been set up was closed.

Under the reorganization of the board,  Commissioner Paul Beck was elected Chairman  and Commissioner Russel Echols was elected Vice-Chairman.

The board decided that twice monthly commission meetings will be held on the second Tuesday of each month at 9 am, and the fourth Monday of each month at 6 pm, with the exception of Monday May 26, 2008 which will change to Tuesday May 27 at 6 pm, and Tuesday November 11 will change to Monday November 10 at 9 am.

In Other Actions

Buckhead Ridge Fire Chief Tom Vallee addressed the Board questioning why was the county building work was delayed so long because now there is water damage and mold in the building due to leakage from the damaged roof.  County Manager Wendell Taylor and County Attorney Richard Pringle noted that the County is defendant in litigation with the original contractor who had received partial payment but the work did not pass inspection and the contractor was not licensed, and they wanted to preserve the conditions for documentation of their defense in the lawsuit.

The Board adopted a resolution requesting South Florida Water Management District and US Army Corps of Engineers to delay procurement of lands in Glades County until alternate studies had determined if other locations could be used stating �First look at your own property before moving to property of others.� 

The two entities already have removed almost $100 million of Glades County property from the tax rolls with very limited or no PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) with the resulting devastation of property tax revenue to the county.  Highlands County and Okeechobee County have expressed interest in adopting similar resolutions in effort to protect their interests. 

Chairman Beck stated if we did not put a stop to it, Water Management and the Corps would take all of Glades County and make it one giant STA (Stormwater Treatment Area).

The Board authorized Taylor to advertise for bids to re-roof the Buckhead Ridge Fire Department building, work which had previously been contracted but halted when inspection revealed improper work and lack of licensure by the contractor.  Because the County is now defendant in litigation initiated by the contractor seeking final payment, Taylor and Pringle had not proceeded with final repairs in order to preserve evidence of non-performance.  The Board directed the attorney to seek all costs associated with completing the work including repairs of damage from leakage and mold.

Waste Issues Weighed In

Commissioner Donna Storter moved that 4 recycling dumpster trailers be purchased so one could also be added for Muse as well as Moore Haven, Lakeport and Buckhead Ridge.  Motion passed, with Taylor requesting direction for placement site location in the communities.

The Board formally directed Taylor to develop a possible plan for the Board�s  consideration at the  March 11, 2008 meeting for discussion of county-wide mandatory solid waste collection.  Public input will be sought at that meeting to determine the preferred parameters, if any, for all facets involved. 

Direction had already been given at the January 22, 2007 workshop for development of a plan.  Muse residents had requested in July that the issue be placed on the January ballot as a referendum but the majority of the Board objected. 

Commissioner Storter says,  "input is needed greatly as the City of Moore Haven, which already has mandatory pickup, is promoting county wide collection.  The level of service will determine the cost.  I personally believe that mandatory collection of waste will be beneficial overall. However, my position has been that the residents of all areas, rural or suburban subdivisions, should expect the exact same level of service if they are mandated to pay the same rate, and if the service cannot be equally provided, it should not be mandated. "

Evicting The Chamber Of Commerce?

The Board declined Taylor�s proposal to work to dissolve the Chamber and evict the Chamber from the County-owned building.  Taylor, in an effort to protect county-owned property, had all the locks to the building changed and was holding all keys because the lease had expired in 2003.  Citing the need for input from newly elected Chamber officials, the Board directed Taylor to invite them to the January BoCC meeting. 

The consensus of the Board was to support the formation of a new Chamber of Commerce, or the reformation of the old one which faces multiple State tax liens of over $25,000.  Commissioner Echols, as member of the board of directors of the Economic Development Council, volunteered to work with the new Chamber officials to determine how the county could assist.

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