New RV park proposed

Special to the Glades County Democrat
Jerry Strickland was honored for 13 years of service to Glades County at Tuesday’s Glades County Commission meeting. He will retire soon. Left to right are Commissioners Weston Pryor, Mr. Strickland, Donna Storter-Long, Tim Stanley, Donald Strenth and Chairman John Ahern.

GLADES COUNTY — New growth, the purchase of a fire truck and opposition to the Senate proposal to buy 60,000 acres in the Everglades Agricultural Area for a reservoir were among the topics discussed at the Glades County Board of County Commissioners meeting held Tuesday, Feb. 14.

A 36-acre parcel In Moore Haven could be rezoned this year to commercial to allow a new RV park Representative for the applicant, Larry Bennett said they plan to have up to 10 units per acre. He said it would not have an adverse impact on traffic. Commissioners approved the transmittal of the small scale comprehensive plan amendment to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for review. The state has two months to review the project and issue a report to the county.

The proposed site is north of the Caloosahatchee River and south of Williams Road. Up to 382 lots could be developed. Much of the property is currently pasture land. Glades County Planning Director Inga Williams said the RV parks are full in Moore Haven and another one will be a welcome addition to the community.

In other business, the commissioners extended collections of all county impact fees for another year. This includes fees for roads, EMS services, parks and schools. The impact fee suspension has been in effect for several years.

A new study would be required before the impact fees are reinstated, County Attorney Richard Pringle said.

Lakeport Fire will have a new fire truck in June. The Pierce Freightliner pumper truck bid was $243,853. Center State Bank offered a loan at 2.875 percent interest. Commissioners discussed the options of a cash deal versus financing.

Special to the Glades County Democrat
At the Feb. 14 meeting of the Glades County Commission, Neal Chapman and John Biggs II received awards for volunteer hours served for Glades County fire departments. Front row left to right are John Ahern, Donna Storter-Long, Neal Chapman and John Biggs II. Back row left to right are Tim Stanley and Donald Strenth.

Attorney Pringle said there is risk involved if the county paid up front as far as the delivery date of the truck. The company offered a $3,100 discount if the county paid up front.

Commissioner Weston Pryor said the county must also purchase 20 new air packs for firefighters next year for approximately $120,000. A new fire truck will be needed in Ortona in about five years.

Attorney Pringle said a strategic plan in Lee County is underway for fire equipment that takes into account calls for service.

Glades County has discussed paid firemen and new property taxes for fire service but has not adopted them.

“We have to scrape and claw for every penny,” Commissioner Donna Storter Long said.

Public Safety Director Bob Jones said the county won’t get a better price than this. “We’ve kind of beat this thing to death.”

Jones recommended a seven year loan with the possibility of paying off the loan early.

Storter moved to purchase the truck with the discount and then figure out financing options.

Mr. Pringle will add a clause in the agreement that requires delivery of the truck by July 15.

Commissioner Pryor voted against the purchase. A budget transfer of $238,900 for the purchase was also approved by the same 4-1 vote.

In other actions, county staff reported the Glades Inn has been demolished. Crews were taking away debris throughout the week. The county intends to sell the vacant property. The county saved about $240,000 on the demolition of the Glades Inn. The county was unable to come to an agreement with the original contractor.

The board honored Neal Chapman, John Biggs II, and Gerald Watson, for the volunteer time they offer to Glades County Fire Rescue. They also honored Jimmy Strickland upon his retirement. He served the County Road Department for 13 years. The board endorsed the reappointment of Rebecca Hamilton as Medical Director for the District 21 Medical Examiner’s office.

Special to the Glades County Democrat
Commissioner Weston Pryor (left) and the BOCC honored Gerald Watson (right) for volunteer service hours to Glades County Fire Departments at Tuesday’s meeting.

The county applied for a $700,000 grant for sewer improvements to Washington Park. A small park would also be developed. The community is currently on septic tanks.

Jail population has increased to 432 inmates due to an increase in federal prisoners.

Commissioners will take part in a parade on February 18 as part of Brighton Field Days.

A huge turnout of over 500 people attended a recent food truck invasion in the city of Moore Haven. Another is planned in early April.

Commissioner Pryor said the county should oppose state efforts to purchase 60,000 acres south of the lake for a reservoir. A resolution of opposition will be presented at a future meeting.

Special to Glades County Democrat

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