Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hendry Residents Face Rising Taxes And Costs

The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting held on Tuesday, June 13 at Clewiston City Hall.
BIDS
·         RFQ #2017-13 – Construction Management Services for Historic and Non-Historic Projects in Hendry County – The Board approved to move forward with Construction Management Services contract. This contract is mainly for the Old Hendry County Courthouse repairs. Work on the non-historic surroundings of courthouse are currently under construction. Once the current project is completed, the needed historic renovations will be assessed for cost.
PUBLIC HEARINGS
·         Adoption of Ordinance Requiring Connection to the Port LaBelle Utility System – The Board approved an ordinance requiring all landowners in Port LaBelle to connect to the water system. The ordinance also requires landowners whose property abuts a wastewater collection line to connect to the wastewater system.
STAFF REPORTS
·         Possible Closure of Offices on Monday, July 3, 2017 – The Board voted to close County offices on Monday, July 3, 2017 in honor of Fourth of July holiday.  This vote for closure applies only to July 3 of this year. Offices will be closed 7/3 and 7/4.

·         Resolution Authorizing the Submission of a Grant Application to FL Department of State - The Board adopted a resolution approving the submission of a grant application to the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources (DHR) for $500,000 for Fa├žade Preservation activities at the Old Hendry County Courthouse.  The Board also made the commitment for the required 10% local match (cash and in-kind services).  The DHR offers assistance to county governments through competitive grants to construct, repair and maintain historic properties, contingent upon an annual appropriation by the Florida Legislature.  The Old Courthouse was completed in 1927 and is considered the most significant and prominent historic structure in Hendry County.

·         ALTAIR Training Solutions, Inc. – Notice of Significant Default under Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption – The Board motioned to schedule a public hearing to revoke ALTAIR’s tax exempt status.  The company failed to meet job creation criteria required to qualify for the exemption along with their failure to pay regular taxes since 2014.

·         Update of Solid Waste Franchise Agreement. – Update of Solid Waste Franchise Agreement - The Board directed the Truth in Millage rate set at $240 with two day a week waste pick-up. The Board and staff are to negotiate with the Solid Waste hauler and seek out solutions which would help reduce costs to residents.

·         Fire MSBU TRIM Rates – The Board approved a recommendation to increase East Fire MSBU rates by 35% for TRIM notices.  The increase is due to the implementation of a bill passed by the State Legislature in 2016 exempting properties with an agricultural designation from fire assessments.  Additional funding requirements over the last few years are also needed to operate the fire MSBU. 

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