City of LaBelle seeks grant for revitalization

At the April 14 LaBelle City Commission meeting commissioners passed a resolution seeking Community Development Block Grant funding (from 2015). It was the second public hearing for the Neighborhood Revitalization grant application which, if approved, will benefit low and medium income residents sewer/water main replacements.

The resolution could get the city $50,000 to waive hook up fees. Water, sewer hook ups will be provided on Citrus and Pomona Circle, along with East Lincoln water mains Several fire hydrants will be added to the system. If the request is approved, look for construction in 2017 for the projects, funded by a Florida Department of Economic Opportunity grant.

The city continues to work out run problems at certain locations caused by old water lines and new “aggressive” water reacting with old lines.

The city’s lease on the Nature Park on Fraser Avenue expires 2017 and the lease is due for continuation. The board voted to send the letter to South Florida Water Management District (SRWMD), along with a request that the park be given to the city.

Nuisance violations
City Attorney Angela Hill worked through proposed changes to alleviate nuisance complaints in the city, with Commissioner Hilda Zimmerly and Animal Control Supervisor Doug Morgan.

HCSO Lt. Josh Woods agreed that they receive a lot of noise complaints, mostly in city. Proposals could be added to the city code in the next couple months.

The city is trying to find a workable scientific method through technology to quantify noise for legal challenges. Issues of calibration and training need to be addressed.

Reports
Fire Chief Josh Rimes reported that there were 82 calls for service in March including wrecks, structure fires and crashes. He said the fire department received a grant for three new pagers and is also able to get new brush gear. Currently LFD has 24 of 30 slots on filled on its roster and is getting new applicants.

HCSO Lt. Josh Woods reported that crime was down in March. He said personal crimes declined by 50 percent; property crimes down 35 percent. Officers answered a total of 6, 242 calls, made 75 arrests and also made residential checks, business and security checks throughout the month.

Applied Technology Management’s Tim Taylor said a new security system will soon be installed at the water plant. He also said that the Helms Road extension, a county project, is due to open in summer of 2017.

The board was asked to prioritize road projects for state funding. The breakdown went this way: first, local streets paving and resurfacing; second, unpaved MLK streets; and third downtown streetscape. Their list passed 4-1 with Commissioner Daniel Akin dissenting.

Wharf update Ron Zimmerly gave a quick update on the wharf project, saying the agreement with Honc Construction has been signed and construction should start soon.

The board will continue its agreement with lobbyists Spratt and Associates for another three years for approximately $50,000.

The board agreed to a request by Commissioner Julie Wilkins to add a code enforcement report to each regular commission meeting.

Commissioner Wilkins also brought forth consideration of zoning that she felt could become a problem for residents at some time. She noted that city-initiated annexation in several locations could cause problems for several residents if they lost over 50 percent of their home due to a disaster. Because they now live in an area designated for business, they would not be allowed to rebuild their home on that property. About 12-15 lots could be affected. However, the board opted to handle it to a case-by-case basis if the issue ever arises.

Patty Brant, can be reached at cbnews@newszap.com

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