City departments outline yearly accomplishments

The city of Clewiston has accomplished a lot over the last few years, and City Manager Al Perry outlined some of those accomplishments at a recent commission meeting.

As submitted by city directors, Perry went through a list of budget saving accomplishments by departments over the few years.

Some accomplishments of the utilities department include combining two positions and hiring a full-time A/C and lift station technician to maintain the city’s 88 A/C units and 51 lift stations. This reportedly reduced overtime expenses and contractor costs by about $16,000 t0 $20,000 annually. The department also created a full-time electric substation supervisor to maintain the city’s substations and enrolled two employees in substation training programs.

The department worked to remove 90 pole-mounted transformers that were energized but not in service and will remove or re-size 40 pad mount transformers in the upcoming year.

The department also installed programmable thermostats in city facilities to reduce electric consumption; changed the procedure for fueling its vehicles, resulting in a stopped loss of about $150 per month; and increased the sale of scrap metal from about $1,300 per year in 2013 to $7,000 in 2015.

The removal of grit and sand from oxidation ditches at the Waste Water Treatment Plant by the department increased the plant’s capacity by about 20 percent and decreased plant power consumption by about $1,000 per month.

Utilities also converted some streetlights to LED and plans to replace all streetlights over the next two years, which will reportedly reduce electric consumption by about $20,000 annually.

Two employees in the electric crew have also received red light certifications to do in-house maintenance on red lights.

The Community Development Department Director has been working to prepare for the new flood maps, which went into effect on July 6, and attended over 200 hours of training to become the first Certified Floodplain Manager in the city of Clewiston.

The department has also helped to update the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted by the city commission this summer. The new plan features changes to its Future Land Use Map which has two new districts: a downtown district and a U.S. 27 corridor. The downtown district is intended to promote redevelopment and enhance the opportunity for a more vibrant community center. The U.S. 27 corridor is intended to promote redevelopment and create a more vibrant commercial corridor.

All of the Community Development Department’s accomplishments have been completed with 40 percent less staff than in previous years.

The Public Works Department has paved seven miles of local streets in the past 28 months, started renovations on Civic Park using mostly donated materials and labor, and added new signs on Francisco Street directing visitors to the lake.

The department also installed new sidewalks on North Lopez and Basilan Crescent, helped remodel the Senior Citizen Center and built new golf course and boat basin signs.

The Clewiston Golf Course has hosted 48 golf tournaments throughout the year, eliminated the full-time superintendent position and contracted a consultant, which reportedly resulted in about $62,000 in savings.
The Recreation Department has completed its 12th annual Adults Men’s co-ed softball league, its 4th annual adults men’s basketball league and held a three-day softball boot camp at Sugarland Sports Complex for about 75 ladies from across South Florida.

The department also held an invitation only college baseball workout at Sugarland Sports Complex where two attendees were offered college baseball scholarships.

Hendry County Library System provied 1262 sessions of homework help to students in grades one through six; provided 523 sessions of tutoring in reading and 739 tutoring sessions in mathematics for students in grades one through six; and provided 390 sessions for teaching non-English speaking adults.

The library also provided 210 sessions of classes for summer school including sessions in Montura.
The library system has received over $70,000 worth of grants since 2013.

Finally, the Clewiston Police Department reported it has absorbed all of the code enforcement responsibilities with no increases in budget, and helped uncover or prosecute a statewide vehicle theft ring, statewide identity theft ring, and a statewide fraudulent ID ring.

The department also reports that its crimes solved rate is vastly higher than that of the state and surrounding departments. The Clewiston department has a crimes solved rate of 49.8 percent, while the state’s average is 25.9 percent, the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office is 23.2 percent and Glades County Sheriff’s Office is 23 percent.

The murder rate in Clewiston is also lower than that of surrounding areas. In the past eight years, there have been 22 murders in Hendry County, 39 in Belle Glade, two in Glades County and 14 in Okeechobee County, compared to zero in the city of Clewiston.

Animal Control is also working to become No Kill shelter and has reduced its rates of euthanasia over 70 percent in the past year. That is due in part to the partnerships it has created with coastal shelters, which increased the adoption and rescue rate to almost 80 percent.

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