Clewiston could soon boast a palm tree-lined highway thanks to a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT).
Landscape expert Chad Clouser presented ideas to the Clewiston City Commission at their regular meeting on July 20. With the help of a volunteer group of residents, Clouser determined the best way to beautify highway 27 is to line it with Royal Palm Trees.
The trees require a limited amount of maintenance long-term and are a good choice for city’s small right-of-ways along the highway.
The trees would be planted roughly 45 feet apart, a suitable distance for drivers traveling at 35 miles per hour.
Ideally the trees would be planted from city limit to city limit, but Clouser said he does anticipate the city will be awarded a large enough grant to do so. Clouser said the city would likely be able to do 50 percent of the project, so commissioner decided it would be best to start from the east end of town and plant westward as far as the money would take them.
Commissioner Julio Rodriguez raised concern about palm fronds falling onto passing cars or obstructing the roadway.
Commissioner Mali Gardner said since the project must be cleared by DOT, the department would shut down any project it felt were unsafe.
City Clerk Retires
Longtime city clerk Marilyn McCorvey will soon be retiring after serving roughly 13 years for the city. Commissioners thanked McCorvey for dedicated and loyal service, and honored her with a plaque and resolution.
Finance Manager Shari Howell will now serve as city clerk for the city of Clewiston.
Tentative Millage Rate Set
Commissioners voted 4-1 not to increase the proposed millage rate which is due to the property appraiser by Aug. 4. Commissioner Kristine Petersen voted against the motion. Commissioner Petersen said she is concerned about the state of the government buildings and said the commission should leave the option open to raise the millage rate.
Commissioners Rodriguez and Gardner stated they did not want to raise taxes, period. Commissioner Gardner said the city can trim the budget in other places to find the money necessary to repair and paint its buildings.
Since the commission voted not to send a higher proposed millage rate, it can only keep the millage rate the same or choose to lower it. Had the commission sent a higher proposed millage rate, it could have chose to raise, keep the same, or lower the millage rate.
The millage rate is currently set at 6.1957 mills.
Comprehensive Plan Passes
Commissioners approved the final reading of the comprehensive plan and sent it off to be reviewed by the state.
The public hearing was continued from the commission’s June meeting after the owners of several mobile home parks raised concerns about the plan.
The new plan changed the parks from a mobile home designation to multi-family, which would put the mobile homes out of compliance as soon as the plan was adopted.
The plan approved by commissioners did not change the parks’ designations.