News Update for 7/14/20

New Coronavirus numbers released by the Florida Department of Health show that there have been 33 new positive results and 121 negative tests. Of the 11,300 tests administered locally over the past four months – 10,691 have been negative with 590 positives. There have been 90 people hospitalized at some point during their illness and 13 deaths have been tied to the corona virus since numbers started being kept back in February.

Highlands County Commissioners will hold a budget workshop this evening. Despite taking hits in the gas, sales and tourist taxes due to the Coronavirus lockdown, it appears they will be looking at a $161.2 million dollar spending plan – that’s up some $6.6 million dollars from the current outlay.
There is speculation that in addition to increased property valuation this year, commissioners could raise the millage from the current 8.55 to 9.25.
Commissioners will hold their workshop this evening at 5:30 at the boardroom on Commerce Street.

Saying she personally was not in favor of such an action, Avon Park City Councilwoman Maria Sutherland last night brought up the notion of imposing a mask mandate on the City of Charm. The idea got a cool reception with City Attorney Gerald Buhr cautioning council members there currently are numerous lawsuits against cities that have enacted such ordinances.
Mayor Garrett Anderson said in his opinion, mask mandates should be left up to individual businesses and to leave mask wearing up to individuals.
No action was taken on the idea.

It looks like it’s out with the old and in with the new in Avon Park. Chamber of Commerce officials there say they have pulled the plug on the annual Christmas Parade due to the coronavirus. They say they have not received any funding to stage the event and there are permits to be pulled that would have allowed it to happen.
Meanwhile, it appears the City of Charm may have inherited the annual Veterans Day Parade. Organizers there say they are unable to stage it in Sebring, due to the 12 Hours of Sebring being re-scheduled for November. City officials say they will bring the issue to the city council at their next session.