City Council addresses councilman’s resignation

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee City Council had its first regular meeting since Councilman Mike O’Connor’s resignation on Tuesday, June 5. Mayor Dowling R. Watford Jr. immediately addressed the resignation, which Mr. O’Connor submitted June 1, for those in attendance at the scheduled meeting.

“He served the city for many years. You always knew where he stood, whether you agreed with him or not, and I appreciate his service to the city,” stated Mayor Watford.

Due to Councilman O’Connor’s resignation, the city council had to fill the voids left on various boards of which O’Connor was a member. The council decided that Mayor Watford would serve on the Okeechobee Main Street Board of Directors and would be an alternate for the Treasure Coast Regional League of Cities (RLC). Councilwoman Monica Clark will serve on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Tourist Development Council. Councilman Gary Ritter, who is already the regular member for the Treasure Coast RLC and an alternate for the Central Florida Regional Planning Council, will step up from his alternate role to a regular member. All the liaison members of the boards will serve until January 2019.

During proclamations and presentations, Mayor Watford proclaimed the week of June 4-8 as “Code Enforcement Officers’ Appreciation Week” and presented the certificate to code enforcement officer Fred Sterling.

Okeechobee Code Enforcement Officer Fred Sterling was presented with a certificate from Mayor Dowling R. Watford Jr. proclaiming the week of June 4 – 8, as “Code Enforcement Officers’ Appreciation Week,” at the Tuesday, June 5, regular city council meeting. Photo by Matteo Tullio.

Mayor Watford also presented a 10-year Longevity Service Award to Okeechobee Police Department (OPD) Officer Ryan Holroyd and a 15-year Longevity Service Award to Okeechobee Fire Department Lieutenant Adam Crum.

Okeechobee Police Department (OPD) Officer Ryan Holroyd (center) was presented a 10-year Longevity Service Award by Mayor Dowling R. Watford Jr. (right) and OPD Chief Bob Peterson (left) at the Tuesday, June 5, regular city council meeting. Photo by Matteo Tullio.

Okeechobee Fire Department (OFD) Lieutenant Adam Crum (center) was presented with a 15-year Longevity Service Award by Mayor Dowling R. Watford Jr. (left) and OFD Chief Herb Smith (left) at the Tuesday, June 5, regular city council meeting. Photo by Matteo Tullio.

After a public hearing, an ordinance was adopted by the council confirming an abandonment of right-of-way petition submitted by Joy Kidwell of JMK of Okeechobee Inc., which vacates the 15-foot wide alley that runs north to south in the 1300 block of U.S. 441 North.

An ordinance was also adopted by the council regarding a rezoning petition submitted by William H. Mason, which reclassifies approximately 1.06 acres west of Taylor Creek between Northeast 13th and 14th Streets from single-family residential to light commercial.

In business actions at the Tuesday meeting:

• The first reading of a proposed ordinance was approved, with a final public hearing set for June 19, to rescind and revise a city code section dealing with business tax exemptions for certain veterans, their unremarried spouses or low-income persons based on state legislative changes to Florida Statutes Chapter 205.

• The council approved a bid in the amount of $977,777, plus 10 percent contingency ($107,554.70), from Southern Coatings Inc. for the police department roof replacement. A memorandum from Public Works Director David Allen to city administrator Marcos Montes De Oca stated: “The Public Works Department recommends awarding the contract for the replacement of the OPD roof to Southern Coatings Inc. in the amount of $977,777. The bid amount for the roof replacement is higher than originally anticipated but given the current conditions of the roofing market, the bid price is consistent with the very high demand for roofing services after Hurricane Irma.” The memo also stated, “Given the current market conditions, it is doubtful that we would be able to obtain a lower bid if we were to re-bid the project at this time. The police department roof has been delayed for several years; there were issues with the roof five years ago. The Public Works Department has made temporary repairs to the roof over the last few years.

Delaying the project would potentially result in continued deterioration of the decking, which would increase the cost of the project later.”

• The council approved the appointment of Josh Saunders as an alternate to the City Grievance Committee, replacing Mike Skipper, with his term being from June 6 until Jan. 31, 2020, or until a successor is appointed.

• The council approved a motion to change the summer meeting dates of July 3 and July 17, to July 10 and July 24 instead (if necessary).



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