County waives permit fees for flood victims

OSCEOLA COUNTY — To assist the victims of April flooding, the Osceola County Board of Commissioners approved motions to waive initial building, electrical and plumbing permit fees through June 30 as well as reimburse those victims who have already paid.

Commission Chair Larry Emig discussed the devastation some families in the county have had to deal with following storm and flood damage from the weekend of April 12. Many have been displaced from the destruction and more homes will have to be inspected for safety, he said. Emig said waiving the fees would not only help the individuals, but might speed up the process for getting them back on their feet. In addition, the county would reimburse victims who have already paid the fees following April 13.

In more business, plans to construct an addition to the front of the Osceola County Sheriff's Office are underway.

Commissioners approved a motion to use Landmark Design Group, of Grand Rapids, for project details, write-ups and pricing for the cost of $5,800. Out of the seven bids for the project, Landmark is the least expensive and has extensive experience with similar buildings, according to Undersheriff Justin Halladay.

At a February commission meeting, Halladay addressed the commissioners and discussed the idea. The changes, he said, would allow for additional space inside the front office.

His ideas included extending the front wall out 300 feet, increasing the size of the lobby, adding a public bathroom and creating a way for the building to be handicap accessible. With the extra space, the offices could be realigned, creating a spot for a conference room.

Besides accessibility for staff and officers, Halladay also wants the building to be secure and protected in case danger occurs.

“The way it looks now is also a security issue,” Halladay said in February. “We need to make it so when an individual comes in they feel safe and our staff feels safe, because it is safe.”

To increase safety, adding a glass barrier between staff and visitors and having the lobby door enclosed would be ideal, he said.

In more business, Halladay spoke with the commissioners regarding the sale of two patrol vehicles due to high mileage and wear. The department has a 2006 Dodge Charger that has 121,000 miles and needs a new radiator. The other, a 2009 Dodge Charger, has 109,000 miles. Halladay said he would like to sell the 2006 vehicle for about $4,000 and the 2009 vehicle for about $5,000.

Commissioners unanimously approved a motion to allow the sale.