Newly appointed Chairman, Commissioner Mitchel Wills, led the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners meeting and heard from speakers from Goodwheels, Abuse Counseling and Treatment Inc, and the Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board and reflected on the past year before talking about plans for Hendry County’s future development in 2018 at the Board of County Commissioners Meeting on December 12.
Commissioner Karson Turner made a motion for Commissioner Mitchell Wills to be acting Chairman for 2018. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Harris. Karson Turner thanked Chairman Michael Swindle for the time he served as Chairman and said he was, “glad representation is rolling over to LaBelle.” Commissioner Turner stated he didn’t want Commissioner Harris or Commissioner Swindle to have to run in the upcoming election and serve as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board.
After Commissioner Michael Swindle switched seats with the new Chairman of the Board, Commissioner Mitchell Wills, a motion for Commissioner Emma Bryd to be Vice Chairman of the board passed.
The county commissioners voted on appointments for the 2017-2018 committees. Commissioner Karson Turner became the alternate on the Elections Canvassing Committee and stepped down from the Regional Planning Council. Commissioner Emma Byrd replaced Commissioner Turner on the Regional Planning Council. Commissioner Turner recommended the rest of the committees stay the same. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Darrell Harris and passed.
Dates for the June and July Board of County Commissioners meetings were set for the first Tuesday in June and the second Tuesday in July to allow boards members to spend time with their families over the summer.
Human Trafficking Specialist Gina Malone, from Abuse Counseling and Treatment Inc., appeared before the board to give a presentation on Human Trafficking and its prevalence in LaBelle and surrounding areas.
Mary Anne Zurn from the Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board, doing business as Career Source Southwest Florida, requested to have documentation signed to bring all five counties in under their supervision: Lee, Collier, Glades, Charlotte, and Hendry, to the same understanding under one Memorandum of Understanding required by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act passed 5-0. There was some confusion to who should sign the documentation since the paper work was prepared prior to the meeting under Chairman Commissioner Michael Swindles name, but he was replaced by New Chairman Commissioner Mitchel Wills. The board voted to just strikethrough the document rather than rewrite it.
A request to amend Hendry County Code of Ordinance: Chapter 1-10 Health and Sanitation, Article III, Lot Clearing, Specifically Section 1-10-41 enforcement procedures regarding lawn mowing violations and changing the days to respond to a notice from 30 days to 15 days for the property owner to respond to a letter of investigation passed 5-0.
A request to elect a uniform method of collecting non-ad valorem Special Assessments within Mosquito Control MSBU passed 5-0. The vote allows the board to be able to vote on expanding the properties up to and including the full unincorporated county at the budget meeting in September 2018.
The board accepted the US Department of Justice COPS Hiring Grants award in the amount of $771,724 and authorized the grants coordinator to sign the award document.
A request by Margaret Emblidge, Planning and Community Development Director for the American Institute of Certified Planners, to ratify the application fee for Rising Starz Child Care, LLC from $1,000 to $500 passed 5-0.
A request to move forward on the repairs to the Hendry County Courthouse due to damage caused by Hurricane Irma passed 5-0.
A request for Port LaBelle Utility System (PLUS) to purchase radio read water meters to replace “aged out” meters passed 5-0.
A request to ratify of Local and State of Emergency due to Hurricane Irma passed 5-0.
Declaration as Surplus Property and Approval of Listing Agreement with Sugar Realty for eight lots in Montura and do land swaps to get land the county wants passed 5-0.
Commissioner Karson Turner discussion about Davis Pratt Park be put on the meeting agenda in the future, “so it is not an add on.”
License agreement to have FEMA’s long-term recovery staff to occupy the EOC Building passed 5-0.
Commissioner Karson Turner from District Five wished everyone a, “Merry Christmas.”
Former Chairman Commissioner Michael Swindle from District Four challenged his fellow commissioners and the staff of Hendry County, “to press harder and to be bolder to move us to a spot where in the year 2018 we are poised for phenomenal growth.”
Commissioner Darrell Harris from District Two said he’s seen growth over the past 18 years in Hendry County and said, “we’re not topped out yet.” He wished everyone a, “Merry Christmas,” and said to keep the homeless in your thoughts over the holiday season.
Commissioner Emma Byrd from District One thanked her fellow commissioners for being helpful to her in the past year and said, “You are a great group to work with.” She said she would like to see some things corrected in dealing with a hurricane that came to light in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Newly appointed Commissioner Mitchell Wills from District Three said he would, “love to see the conversation between the City of Clewiston and the City of LaBelle and ourselves to improve the corridor that goes through the both of our towns.” He said there are improvements that need to be made.