Resident pleads for Glades County commissioners to ‘open up’

MOORE HAVEN — A Glades County citizen recently called on the county commissioners to get out a little once in a while — beyond the confines of their Glades County commission chamber.

Steven Hein, who said he’s a 34-year resident of the Muse area, stated during the public comment period: “The county commission (should) open up their community relations a little bit better. A lot of us feel that it’s too closed in, that you’re kind of hemmed up in this room. There should be greater community outreach, perhaps by having a meeting in one of the other county buildings. We have one in Muse. We have one in Ortona. I’m sure Buckhead (Ridge) would do the same, that you could actually schedule county commission meetings outside of this room. Sometimes I think you feel safe, like you’re in your little cocoon.”

He continued, wanting to pursue some other points.

“The second factor was — we talked about it; I know Hendry County’s doing it — you can now livestream your meetings. Why can’t we do that? I’m not convinced — someone said there’s a cost involved; but that’s free, Wi-Fi is free. It could be done very cheaply. You guys would have an expanded base, you might be making your constituents a little bit happier. Or, you might not, OK?”

His final point was about development that is coming to Glades County.

“At the last meeting, you guys just wrote off impact fees. You guys are starving for money; we’re a small county. The economy’s rolling along.

Other counties have impact fees. Why won’t you guys? Oh, I hear we’re going to need another $20,000 or $30,000 for studies. Well, you guys will get that money back.

“New people are coming into the county; they will pay. They move to Muse, they move to these areas because they want to live in the country. Have you noticed out here that we’ve got a lot of Mercedeses and Porsches driving around Muse these days? People moving in, buying big pieces of land, big properties. We’re missing out! That end of the county is really developing.

“You want to fund your fire program? That’s a start,” he finished.

County Board Chairman Tim Stanley remarked, “What happened to our recording system? We did purchase it.”

County Clerk of Courts Sandra Brown replied, “I suppose we purchased it. It also includes where you could livestream. That is part of it, but there’s a cost, though.”

Mr. Stanley said he remembered, “It was quite expensive, just for the recording part, so we will look into that.”

Commissioner Donna Storter Long later commented during the business-by-district portion of the meeting, “Back when we did have impact fees, I think the largest amount went into the road impact fund, and since we’re spending 1-cent money on city (of Moore Haven) roads, then maybe use the impact fee for my side of the county to build the Thatcher Boulevard, Maybe we need to give more thought and address that issue a little more.

“We may not have to adopt all of the impact fees,” she continued, “but I’ve been on this board 12 years and I still have unpaved roads; and you’re repaving, re-fixing and spending 1-cent money for that. I just … this frog is going to croak from her pond. That’s all.”

The other commissioners had no comment, although Commissioner John Ahern did issue a thank-you on another tax-related issue:

“I wanted to thank (Clerk) Brown and Tiffany Patterson. I think we have finally, on our local option fuel tax, I think you’ve finally mastered the program and we’re getting the funding that we deserve. Last week we received checks totaling about $335,000 and City of Moore Haven received $66,815. And I appreciate all the work you’ve done with the Department of Revenue to work through that, so we receive money that we’re entitled to.”

Chris Felker can be reached at

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