News Update for 6/7/18

It appears that the financial impact of new construction will continue to fall on the shoulders of Highlands County taxpayers. County commissioners have voted to suspend impact fees at least for the next two years.
The motion by Commissioner Jack Richie did allow for the re-evaluation of the fees. That was put off until next year, when commissioners apparently believe they will be getting more money in tax revenues.

Sebring City council members approved waiving the fees for a Sebring Chamber of Commerce event-but it doidn’t come without some controversy. The Chamber is staging a two day business expo in October at the Jack Stroup Civic Center.
Councilman Scott Stanley questioned Chamber Executive Director Liz Barber about the fact that the city already foots the bill for the chamber’s location – noting that the event is a fund raiser. Stanley was not able to get support for a motion approving the event but requiring fees.
Council OK’d the event – also waiving the fees.

An extensive investigation by the Highlands County Sheriff’s office has paid off with the conviction of Chedrick Lavelle Oliver of Tampa.
The 37-year-old Tampa man pled guilty to 140 felonies in a statewide prosecution after being charged with identity theft. He apparently was taking mail from mailboxes in Sebring, then using the information over 10 central Florida counties – including Highlands.
Oliver originally was arrested by the Tampa Police Department and was returned to the Highlands County Jail. He was charged with of uttering a false instrument, using the identity of others without consent and fraud.
He was sentenced to 7 years in prison followed by 8 years of probation.

A Sebring teen has earned the first Jimmy Whitehouse Scholarship. 18-year-old Rachel Boyd was dual enrolled at Sebring Senior High School and South Florida State College.
The $1,200 stipend may be used for tuition, books or any other college-related expense. The Whitehouse scholarship was one of three handed out last week at the Florida Association of Supervisors of Election at their convention in Fort Lauderdale.
Boyd will use the money when she enrolls this fall as a junior at the University of South Florida in Tampa.