Tallahassee listens to Hendry County legislative requests

One by one local representatives presented their needs to Florida State Senator Dwight Bullard and Representative Matt Hudson Tuesday afternoon, seeking their support at the upcoming Legislative session.

Commission Chairman Karson Turner submitted Hendry County’s wish list, topped by help with ongoing Medicaid payment issues that have dogged county budgets throughout the state for the past several years. Wastewater infrastructure, water quality and jail expansion are other top concerns, along with Courthouse renovations, funding for the Regional Sports Complex and LaBelle Civic Park, County Fair and ag facilities.

The City of LaBelle followed. After thanking both legislators for their previous assistance, Mayor Dave Lyons and Financial Director Ron Zimmerly asked for continuing support for the wharf project, centerpiece of the city’s downtown area. Renovations to the Captain Hendry House, SCOP money for city streets and recreation concerns topped their list.

Superintendent of Schools Paul Puletti asked the legislators to help ensure fair obtainable accountability standards for schools and funding to renovate the Old Courthouse.

Elections Supervisor Brenda Hoots is looking at how redistricting will affect Hendry County. She expects to be in Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart’s House district, but does not expect our Senate district to change.

On behalf of the Central County Water Control District, Angela Hill asked for funding of lift stations, pumps and the summer kid’s program.

Barron Water Control District’s main concern is getting a bill to stop the scheduled sunsetting of the district in 2020. Both legtislators will support the bill during the upcoming session.

Representing the Gulf Coast Citrus Association, Ron Hamil delivered the good news that Hendry County is again the Number 1 orange producing county in the state. He spoke of the importance of continuing legislative support for research against plant diseases and pests that threaten Florida agriculture and for the IFAS Center.

Florida SouthWestern College requested funding to renovate its Collier campus facility.

Lee Memorial Health System asked for a change in the state’s new Medicaid funding model that inadvertently left out over a million in funding last year.

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

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