Officials at the Sebring International Raceway had said they believed that this year’s “Super Sebring” was a record crowd. It appears they were right. Officials of the Highlands County Tourist Development Council have released records saying March was a record month for tourism.
One reason revenues might be up, is that Highlands County Commissioners voted to double the amount tourists are charged under the tax for short term stays – increasing the levy from 2% to 4% on the dollar.
Totals for March came in at just over $200,000.
Another controlled burn got out of control yesterday. Units from Highlands Lakes, West Sebring, Desoto City, the Bombing Range and Avon Park Fire – were joined by the Florida Forest Service in battling a tough brush fire off of South Hickory Ridge Lane – on the Far East end of the county.
Several homes in the area were evacuated. At least one was saved, with flames coming within yards of the house. Despite some rain in the area, officials say conditions remain dry and caution against burning activity.
Highlands County commissioners again are looking at facilitating the development of workforce housing. This time, instead of single family residential homes, the focus will be on apartments, townhouses and other multi-family style units.
A presentation by consultants from Kimley-Horn indicated the county has grown by about 16,000 people over the past two decades – however, nearly half are 55-years of age and older.
Commissioners ordered staff to look at zoning, housing regulations and possible incentives to get developers to build here.
The city of Avon Park has signed a mutual aid agreement with the Florida State Firefighters Association. The group, located next to the National Guard Armory, has recently changed its name from the Florida State Firemens’ Association.
The pact means that the FRSFA will provide aid to the city in the event of an emergency or natural disaster – such as a hurricane.