Glades Industrial Park funding vetoed by Gov. Scott

Florida Governor Rick Scott vetoed $1 million in funds for improvements to the Glades County Industrial Park when he approved the state budget in June.

Tuesday, Glades County Commissioners made some adjustments to their work plans for the job training center which is currently being constructed.

County Officials agreed that construction of the complex must be curtailed due to the cuts in state funds.
Commissioner Paul Beck said the county has $850,000 in funds designated for the industrial park in their current budgets. Another option was taking funds from 1 cent tax money the county collects annually. County Manager Paul Carlisle said the county could face projects for the county jail and the old health department to also consider.

Mr. Pryor said he preferred using money from reserves rather than 1 cent money.

At this point, $524,000 is needed to complete the project. The county will raise about $300,000 annually from the 1 cent money.

Commissioner Ahern said the county should take $125,000 from the 1 cent money and $399,000 from reserves. His motion was approved in a (5-0) vote.

Glades County chose Crowder Gulf Disaster Recovery and Debris Management to handle debris and hurricane cleanup in the event of a hurricane and or storm damage. County Manager Paul Carlisle said the state requires a contract be in place in the event of an emergency.

John Wilson of Crowder Gulf said the company has 45 years of experience in the field. They began work in Florida with Hurricane Camille in 1969. The company has contracts from California to the Atlantic States. The firm has employed over 50 project managers. Wilson claimed they are one of the most respected debris removal firms in the country. They also work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to help clients receive funding reimbursement.

If the county has an updated debris management plan they could be eligible for a two percent increase in grant funds.

Crowder Gulf scored much better than TAG Grinder and Arbor Tree and Landscape of West Palm Beach after presentations by each group before the Commission.

Mr. Carlisle said it would be wise to have contracts with two of the firms. Commissioners approved staff to negotiate with Crowder Gulf as the primary and TAG Grinder as a secondary hauler.

County Attorney Richard Pringle will negotiate the contracts and return it for commission review at a later date.

Tag Grinding Services of Georgia, has over 150 years of experience in disaster debris removal. TAG stands for Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. They have national contracts and have the resources necessary to handle any disaster. During Hurricane Katrina, the company handled six county projects in Mississippi simultaneously. The company presentation included a history lesson for Moore Haven that included facts about the 1982 tornado that hit the county and claimed one life.

In other actions, the commission gave their endorsement to the proposed $18.5 million budget of the Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board. The proposed spending plan suggests nearly $4 million be spent on education and just over $11 million on job opportunity and innovation. The workforce employs 87 staff members. It covers Charlotte, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Collier Counties.

The board approved encumbrance of an additional $20,000 in State housing improvement dollars for a local housing project.

Commissioners also approved a 25 year lease with the Department of the Army Corps of Engineers for the Alvin Ward Boat Ramp. The lease runs until January 31, 2017. There was some discussion of the addition of an air boat ramp away from the current boat ramp. The commission also approved Aim Engineering to design improvements to Aspen Boulevard from Birchwood Boulevard to Winchester Avenue in Port LaBelle. The project will be paid for with state dollars.

The commission appointed Paul Carlisle and Commissioner Weston Pryor to the Glades County Regional Training Facility Advisory Committee. The committee is not subject to the sunshine law.

The JJ Wiggins Trust land use and zoning case and the Buckhead Ridge cell phone tower dispute remain in litigation in the circuit court system.

Improvements to culverts and pavement on Loop Road in Lakeport remain under construction. The workers were a few weeks behind schedule.

The Muse community building was the recent victim of a burglary and vandalism.

County staff continues to work on new commission district boundaries.

Lakeport will host a barbecue contest and other entertainment on Saturday, July 18. Barbecue chicken , and pork rib dinners will be sold for $8.00. There will also be a corn hole tournament. These events will be held at the Lakeport Community Association Building.

Commissioner Tim Stanley said he has been approached by air boaters wanting to create a launch site somewhere on the northern end of Lake Okeechobee, perhaps in Buckhead Ridge or elsewhere inside Glades County.

Special to Glades County Democrat

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