Okeechobee City Council has busy meeting

City extends moratorium on medical marijuana, amends no smoking policy

OKEECHOBEE — The Oct. 17 Okeechobee City Council meeting began with Mayor Dowling R. Watford Jr. presenting a Five-Year Longevity Service Award to Cody Rodriguez, a Public Works maintenance operator for the City of Okeechobee, and City Administrator Marcos Montes De Oca presenting the Okeechobee City Police Department (OCPD) with two Protech ballistic shields donated from Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO).

The Okeechobee City Police Department (OCPD) was presented with two Protech ballistic shields, courtesy of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO). Left to right are: Lieutenant Justin Bernst, City Administrator Marcos Montes De Oca and Major Donnie Hagan. Photo by Matt Tullio.

In an open public hearing for ordinance adoption, Ordinance No. 1160 was approved – which extended the moratorium on medical marijuana businesses for an additional 180 days.

In business actions at the Tuesday meeting:

• Council was presented a brief overview of Okeechobee Healthy Start Coalition by Jayce Turgeon, the community liaison for the coalition, in which it was explained that Healthy Start is a statewide risk-based program that covers all 67 counties in Florida.

The mission of Healthy Start is to establish a system which guarantees that all women have access to prenatal care and that all infants have access to services that promote normal growth and development. The primary goal of the coalition is threefold: reducing infant deaths, reducing the number of low birth weight babies, and improving health and development outcomes. Some of Healthy Start’s services include: childbirth education, parenting education and support, psychosocial counseling, tobacco education/cessation counseling, breastfeeding education and support, car seat education and safety. Currently Healthy Start is conducting a diaper drive titled “Cover that pumpkin” from Oct. 13 to 31. Dropoff locations for donations are: Okeechobee Healthy Start, 1132 S. Parrott Ave.; Okeechobee City Police Department, 50 S.E. Second Ave.; Tin Fish Okeechobee, 301 N. Parrott Ave.; and Lillies & Lace Boutique, 205 S.W. Park St.

• The council approved a temporary street closing application that was submitted by First Baptist Church. S.W. Fourth Street between S.W. Fifth Avenue and S.W. Sixth Avenue will be closed from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2017, for a Fall Family Festival.

• Bud Neese of Quality A/C of Okeechobee expressed his concerns to the council about air conditioning permits regarding inspections and possible unlicensed activity occurring in the city limits. His desired actions for the council was the enforcement of state and county codes, to include providing notice to property owners regarding possible fines for installing air conditioning improvements without a permit. The council discussed in great length possible future solutions for the issues presented by Mr. Neese.

Cody Rodriguez was presented a Five-Year Longevity Service Award as a Public Works maintenance operator for the City of Okeechobee. Pictured (left to right): Public Works Director, David Allen, Cody Rodriguez and Mayor Dowling R. Watford Jr.

• The motion to adopt Resolution No. 2017-10, recognizing Florida City Government Week during the time frame of Oct. 23 to 29, was approved. During this time the City of Okeechobee encourages all citizens, city government officials, and employees to participate in events that recognize and celebrate Florida City Government Week. Also, the City of Okeechobee encourages educational partnerships between government and schools, civic groups and other organizations. The resolution stated that the City of Okeechobee will also support and encourage all Florida city governments to actively promote and sponsor Florida City Government Week.


• The council approved an amendment to the No Smoking Policy. Effective Nov. 1, 2017, the city will be a smoke-free environment except in approved designated areas. Smoking products were defined for purposes of the amendment, as products such as: cigarettes, pipes, hookahs, cigarillos, cigars, clove cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) such as vapor and electronic cigarettes.

• A motion to rescind an Interlocal Agreement with the Okeechobee Board of County Commissioners regarding Local Option Gas Tax revenues for a revised agreement addressing the revenue proceeds of the two, four, five, and nine cent Local Option Gas Taxes from Jan. 1, 2018 – Dec. 31, 2027, was approved by the city council.

• The Public Works Director, David Allen, presented the council with the motion to approve the purchase of a Hustler Super Z Hyperdrive Zero Turn Mower for the amount of $12,500, from Gilbert Outdoors, located here in Okeechobee.

• Due to holidays, a motion was approved to change the November regular meeting dates to now be held on Nov. 14 and Nov. 28, along with changing the time of the Nov. 28 meeting, due to it being the same evening as the annual tree lighting. The council also canceled the Dec. 5, and Jan. 2, 2018 meetings during the approved motion.

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