Live feed video camera planned for main intersection

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee City Council Tuesday approved a plan to put a live feed video camera at the main intersection of State Road 70 and U.S. 441.

The council approved an agreement to piggyback a contract for services with Security 101 for door security equipment and badging printer in the amount of $16,220.59. Included with the security equipment purchase was an Axis 1080P camera to be installed on the northwest exterior corner for live viewing of the intersection at State Road 70 and U.S. 441.

According to Okeechobee City Police Department (OCPD) Chief Bob Peterson, “The camera is going to provide a live feed video of the intersection, available to anyone with Internet connection and will allow people to observe traffic and weather conditions in town. It will be beneficial during hurricanes or any other emergencies, allowing the public to see the conditions as they are. This feed will not be recorded and is provided as a service to the public. We expect this feed to be operational in the next 30-60 days and we will notify the public with the proper instructions to access it.

At the Jan. 16 Okeechobee City Council meeting, Mayor Dowling R. Watford Jr. (left) was presented with a 35-Year Longevity Service Award on behalf of the City Council by Councilman Noel Chandler (right). Photo by Matteo Tullio.

Okeechobee City Administrator, Marcos Montes De Oca said, “We’re happy to have the first continual live feed within Okeechobee, which would allow us a sneak peak into our city to our citizens as well as those on the coast.

Being open and keeping the community involved and informed is key.”

In other business, Mayor Dowling Watford was honored was honored for his many years of service to the city.

The mayor was presented with a 35-Year Longevity Service Award by Council Member Noel Chandler on behalf of the City Council for the City of Okeechobee, for his service, hard work and dedication to the citizens of the City of Okeechobee from Jan. 1, 1981 to Dec. 31, 1984, and from Jan. 6, 1987 to Jan. 6, 2018.

“I sincerely appreciate this and I am very humbled to get this,” said Mayor Watford. “I was honored at the Treasure Coast Regional League of Cities, Inc. December meeting for being their longest, not the oldest, but being the longest serving elected official on the Treasure Coast and I take that as quite an honor. I just will say it’s been quite an honor to serve this city and the citizens. It’s been a lot of responsibility and I appreciate that. I would especially like to thank the staff of the city. The city staff is second to none. We all have our differences. I know Noel and I don’t aways agree on everything and still don’t, but we shake hands and walk out of here as friends. I think that is the way the whole city staff operates, along with the elected officials I have served with and the mayors that I have served under. I have just learned a tremendous amount from them and again I just really appreciate this honor. Thank you.”

In other business, the city council approved an ordinance to create an additional permitted use for medical marijuana dispensaries within the light commercial, heavy commercial, central business district and industrial zoning districts of the city. The ordinance was adopted by a vote of 3-2.

In other business:

• The council approved a request by Okeechobee County Firefighters, represented by Jared Akins, for a Boot Drive at the main intersection of State Road 70 and U.S. 441 on Feb. 3-4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

• The council approved a temporary street closing application submitted by Okeechobee Christian Academy to temporarily close Southeast Second Avenue from Southeast Sixth Street to Southeast Seventh Street for a field day, where students will be crossing the street during the course of Friday, Feb. 9.

• The council also approved a temporary street closing application submitted by Okeechobee Main Street to temporarily close Southwest Third Avenue and Southwest Fourth Avenue between North and South Park Streets and to close the 300 block of Southwest Park Street between Southwest Third Avenue and Southwest Fourth Avenue for the Top of the Lake Art Festival on Feb. 10-11.

• The council considered and approved appointing a Grievance Committee, for two years, from the police: member – Jack Boon, alternate – Cesar Romero; fire: member – Les McGee, alternate – Mike Skipper; finance: member – Melissa Henry, alternate – Kim Barnes; administration (including general services and clerk’s office): member – Robin Brock, alternate – Jackie Dunham; and public works: member – Willie Hall, alternate – Cody Rodriguez; departments with terms starting Jan. 17, 2018 – Jan. 31, 2020, or until a successor is appointed.

• The council discussed legislative items in regards to Home Rule, also known as “local control,” with the primary focus on the emphasis of county and local officials being able to make decisions best for the communities in which they live, as opposed to the 160 people at the state capital in Tallahassee.

• A request by Bridgette Waldau, Arts and Culture Director of Okeechobee Main Street, for permission to install a butterfly sculpture to be installed in The Hamrick Butterfly Garden was approved by the council.

• Ms. Waldau also presented a request to the council on behalf of Okeechobee Main Street to approve a mural project for the Osceola Building located at 114 S.W. Fifth Avenue, depicting Chief Osceola, Chief Osceola’s Indignation at Treaty Signing and The Battle of Okeechobee. The council was in agreement that the decision to move forward with the project pended on the approval from the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

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