Officials lining up 2013 priorities
Marc Valero | Highlands TodaySEBRING - From budgets, recycling and fire assessments to a wall, historic hotel and the replacement of a retiring town official, city and county government officials are focusing on numerous issues for 2013.
Published: January 5, 2013
Published: January 5, 2013
Highlands County Commissioner Jack Richie said the county will try to work out a two-year budget instead of a one-year budget so they can plan farther ahead.
"It's going to be kind of an experiment on our part; it hasn't been done here in the county, but some other areas are using it and some banks here locally are using a two-year budget," he said. "I talked to one banker who has a three-year budget."
Highlands County Commissioner Don Elwell said the top priority would be coming up with a good budget for 2013-14.
It will be a two-year budget, but the second year can be tweaked, he said.
Elwell listed other priorities, including: recycling; animal control guidelines, policies and improvements; creating an administrative and department head succession plan; updating job description and pay ranges for all positions; and continuing the positive operations of the Tourist Development Council.
Sebring Councilman John Griffin said council needs to do what it has been doing the past 10 years — keeping costs down, being conservative, doing a good job and keeping everybody in Sebring happy.
Specifically, with two parties interested in Harder Hall and bids being opened on Feb. 1, it would be nice if a sale could be completed on the property, he said.
Griffin would also like to see the wall torn down on East Center Avenue across from Sebring Middle School.
Also, the city is seeking bids for garbage collection services, he said, but the city's sanitation department is not losing money since it changed to the new trucks, which are now operated with one employee.
Griffin said he is hoping the city can have curbside recycling, which can be done at no cost with the new trucks.
Lake Placid Councilman Ray Royce said with longtime City Clerk Arlene Tuck retiring in early spring, council will be looking to fill her position or possibly hiring a town administrator or manager to assist the mayor in the operation of the town.
"We are also going to be talking to the folks in the planning office of the Central Florida Regional Planning Council in regards to our long-term comprehensive plan and any adjustments we need to make there in the land development regulations that go along with it," he said.
Avon Park Deputy Mayor Brenda Gray said she would like to see the city's fire assessment lowered or eliminated completely.
"I know what it does and everything, but still we can only get so much from our citizens," she said. "Lowering it would be a very good thing, doing away with it would be better."
How can the city's budget be adjusted to cover the fire department's costs that are now being funded through the assessment?
"I don't know, that's what we need to work on," Gray responded.
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