County sets fire/rescue, EMS assessments

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee County Board of Commissioners established the rates for garbage pickup, fire/rescue and EMS services at its Aug. 22 meeting in the Historic Okeechobee County Courthouse.

Those who live in the city limits do not pay the county’s fire/rescue assessment because the city has its own fire department. The city has a separate contract with Waste Management for garbage pickup for those within the city limits, so city residents do not pay the county solid waste assessment. City residents do pay the EMS assessment.

The county’s solid waste assessment was set at $220 per dwelling unit for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

The commissioners set the fire/rescue services assessment at $108.15 per dwelling unit; 109.17 per vacant parcel; $3.80 per room/space for hotels, motels and RV parks; industrial/warehouse rates based on square footage ranging from $29 for less than 2,000 square feet to $4,085 for up to 140,000 square feet; and, commercial building rates based on square feet ranging from $161 for buildings less than 2,000 square feet and $19,345 for buildings up to 140,000 square feet.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) assessment was set at $103.53 per dwelling unit and $7.10 per room/space for hotels, motels and RV parks. EMS assessment for industrial buildings range from $1 for buildings less than 2,000 square feet to $124 for buildings up to 140,000 square feet. EMS assessments for commercial buildings range from $96 for buildings less than 2,000 square feet to $13,475 for buildings up to 140,000 square feet.

In other business at the Aug. 22 meeting:
• Commissioners approved the annual special assessment for Oak Lake Estates street lights.
• Jack Schwartz, of the Eagle Point Home Owners Association, asked the county for a stop light at the entrance to the subdivision. He said there has been a problem with drivers overshooting the stop sign. He also asked the county to clean out the canal that provides drainage for the subdivision.
• At the suggestion of Commissioner Kelly Owens, the commissioners requested staff to prepare an ordinance pertaining to public awareness signs about human trafficking. Commissioner Owens said county code could require certain businesses to put up the signs. Failure to do so would be a code violation.
• The county commissioners endorsed Okeechobee County Fire/Rescue Chief Ralph Franklin’s plan to request a state appropriation of $500,000 for a public safety training tower. The tower could be constructed at the Agri-Civic Center, said the chief.

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