City seeks grants

MOORE HAVEN — Moore Haven City Council approved a grant application that could improve sewer service in Washington Park in the near future.

The Washington Park sewer from Avenue H and Seventh Street, north bound across Railroad Avenue to Avenue F, and some sewer lines on Railroad Avenue and Avenue F, would hook up 16 homes to the sewer system.

The estimated cost is $564,000 for the main lines and $40,000 for the 16 hookups. All of the homes are considered low to moderate income. Septic tanks would be removed.

Another $40,000 would be spent on new bleachers at the baseball field.

The local match would be $50,000. The money will help with construction and engineering costs. The grant is through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. It is called a small city community development block grant.

The county is also considering a lift station on Canal Street to improve sewer in Washington Park. They applied for a grant on Feb. 14.

In other actions at the Feb. 7 meeting the Council voted to approve satisfaction of Napoli liens that means the city gets the full amount owed on properties located in the city.

The council requested city workers to write down mileage on log sheets when the city vehicle leaves the city limits. The staff suggested putting GPS software in each vehicle to cut down on paperwork. Mayor Brett Whidden said there is one city vehicle that leaves the city that he has an issue with. There was some push back from city employees about the plan. Another idea was to only require supervisors to fill out these mileage logs.

City Attorney Steve Ramunni said this might take time away from more important tasks and projects for valuable city hall employees.

“You need to file these reports. If a councilman comes to you and has a question about a vehicle, you have the information,” Mayor Whidden said.

Mr. Ramunni said the city should work out a deal with the county to take over ownership of the Anne-tique building. He noted the taxes owed on the property are $9,800. The property is worth $19,500.

The property could be used to add onto the downtown parks. The city would like to have the building torn down.

Councilman Jake Eighner said the city would gain a piece of property. He noted the county is not really interested in ownership of the property.

“The end result is to get rid of the eyesore,” Vice Mayor David McGee said.

Eighner said he would talk to County officials about the building to try and resolve issues.

Another downtown building that has the attention of the city is the Lundy Building. The city approved an order of demolition recently. One cost estimate is $114,000. Mayor Whidden said he is concerned about the costs. The property is worth about $20,000.

“Something has to be done with it but how much of a loss should we take,” he added, “I can’t justify spending $114,000 for something that is worth $20,000.”

He said hurricanes come through and damage brand new homes and leave old dilapidated buildings still standing. “Maybe it’ll fall down before the next meeting. If it falls down then we can move on it.”

The city had requested interest from contractors to demolish the building but didn’t receive any bids, Ramunni said.

The city had expressed interest in the firm that demolished the Glades Inn to see if they were interested in taking on this project. The majority of the demolition cost, is likely the costs to dispose of the debris.

If the firm was already doing work in the community the city could save money on mobilization of equipment and staff costs incurred by the company.

“I’d love to get rid of it because it’s an eye sore,” Whidden added.

Ramunni asked for more time to research the project. “Right now there are too many hypotheticals.”

In other business, the council approved an ordinance that imposes a six month moratorium on medical marijuana. This impacts growing, sale and other medical marijuana uses. A final public hearing was scheduled for Feb. 21.

Councilman Eighner asked for more maintenance of the cypress tree downtown. He also requested a general cleanup of the parade route for the Chalo Nitka Festival in March.

• Councilman Marcus Decker asked for attention given to closure of dumpster lids which attract buzzards into the city. He suggested city staff visit businesses and request they close the lids each night.

A Christian motorcycle group will use the park on May 6.

The Mayor requested a report from animal control each month on their activity in the city.

Special to Glades County Democrat

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