County involved in regional planning

An explanation of the regional planning council, and various housekeeping items were handled by Glades County Commissioners at their regular meeting Monday night, March 27.

Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council Executive Director Margaret Wuerstle played a three minute video to give their annual report to the commissioners. They work on public safety, law enforcement, natural resources, economic development, seek grants, and were awarded a promise zone declaration in the past year.

Elected officials from six counties and 17 municipalities take part in monthly meetings to discuss these issues that are of common concern. They also work on the transportation disadvantaged program of Glades and Hendry County.

Every year the Council updates a comprehensive economic development strategy. They do a major update of the plan this year.

The Florida Chamber estimates that the region will need over 188,000 new jobs in the region before 2030.

They are also working in 2017 on a regional transportation plan, water quality and resources, quality of life and a regional development opportunity map. This map would show places and land available for development immediately.

The Promise Zone designation from the Federal government provides tax incentives, $2 million in grants received and $3 million in grants are pending. It was put in place by the O’Bama administration for Glades and Hendry Counties, and Immokalee.

Wuerstle expressed a concern that the group needs to pounce while the iron is hot with this program because she doesn’t know how long it’ll be around.

“We need to hit it hard now before they cut those programs,” she added.

In other actions Monday:

• Commissioners approved a conservation management plan for Harney Pond Canal to keep the lease with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

• The commission approved a lease to allow Deputy Sheriff James Clendenin to live in a mobile home at the county road department.

• Commissioners approved a maintenance and general cleaning contract with Lenice Hubbard. Several parks like Indian Mound and Buckhead Ridge and the regional training center are included in the contract. The annual price is $14,375.

• The County wants to designate the Ortona and Muse community to be a Red Cross shelter. The Florida Division of Emergency Management will provide a $29,000 grant for a study to determine what is needed to upgrade the buildings to qualify.

• The County also approved $10,200 for a wheel chair ramp and $15,000 for down payment assistance from SHIP funds.

• The final inspection of the Moore Haven canal was held March 28. The grand opening of the Love’s Travel Center celebration is March 30 at 10 a.m.

• The County is looking for a building official. The county had considered privatization of the department. County Manager Paul Carlisle said the county does get complaints about timely inspections from contractors. The inspector works three days per week and conducts inspections for electrical permits one day per week.

• Commissioners Donna Storter Long requested a recycling bin at the Ortona Community Center. She said Glades has one of the lowest recycling rates in the state.

• Staff reported that the Muse community center had a good turnout for the Honey Festival March 25.

• The sheriff reported the Glades County jail population increased to 448 inmates this week.

• Staff reported Moore Haven also hosted a circus at the rodeo ground on March 24-25.

• The demolition of the Lundy Building downtown began March 27. The building use to house Lundy Hardware.

• A food truck invasion in downtown Moore Haven is scheduled for Monday, April 3.

• The City of Moore Haven became the owner of the old Anne-tique building on Monday, Chairman John Ahern said.

Special to Glades County Democrat

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