Highlights of the BOCC meeting

The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting held on Tuesday, April 11 at Clewiston City Hall.

Awards, Appearances and Presentations
• Presentation – Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council (RPC): Margaret Wuerstle, Executive Director for the RPC gave a presentation with an overview of the previous year’s accomplishments and a look into the Councils future endeavors. Highlights from the presentation included $1.8 million in revenue for FY 2016. These revenues funded 230 public safety officials in hazmat training, and was one of only four areas in the nation to be awarded the ten year promise zone designation for the Hendry, Glades and Immokalee areas. Revenues also provided over 17,000 lifesaving trips to residents of Hendry and Glades counties. The RPC continues to search for grants and funding to assist their partners. To watch the full video visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMcgTdaiR1w

Public Hearings
• Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Ordinance for ATIO USA, LLC: ATIO is an advanced aluminum smelting operation, bringing their manufacturing and headquarters operation to Hendry County. The project includes a projected $25.778 million dollar capital investment, the hiring of 39 employees over a one year period carrying an average annual wage of $46,377 and would commence within six months. The BOCC approved an ordinance of an Ad Valorem Tax Exemption of five years maximum, with a sliding scale tax abetment consisting of 40 percent year 1, 30 percent year 2, 20 percent year 3, and 10 percent the remaining 2 years. A new ordinance with more accurate numbers provided by the Property Appraiser and ATIO is expected to be scheduled for a public hearing at the Tuesday, May 9, Board of County Commissioner’s meeting at 5:00 p.m. at Clewiston City Hall.

Hearing of the Public
• Libby Pigman, Regional Representative with South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), introduced herself to the Board as a new liaison to Hendry County for SFWMD. Pigman drew attention to April being water conservation month. Currently conditions are very dry in our area, and the Governor has declared a state of emergency in Florida due to wildfires. SFWMD urges residents to conserve water during these dry conditions. Lake Okeechobee is currently at 12.21 foot, if the water levels drop below 12 foot the locks on the north end of the lake will be closed.

Business by District
• Commissioner Karson Turner recapped the trip to Tallahassee that all the Commissioners attended last week to lobby for Hendry County’s Legislative Priorities. Currently the House of Representatives has $1.2 million allocated for FDACS grants funds, and the Senate has $1 million allocated for Ft. Denaud Bridge. The Wastewater Infrastructure Forcemain project is not yet funded however the County is hopeful for this project as conversations continue and SB10 continues to evolve. Commissioner Turner requested that the County’s contract lobbying firm provide weekly updates as the session continues.

Please check the countys website www.hendryfla.net for the most up to date meeting information, including approved minutes of meetings, and video recordings of the meetings or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hendrycounty.

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