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Tribal Council decides on more than 50 items

HOLLYWOOD — The Sept. 13 Tribal Council meeting in Hollywood resulted in decisions on more than 50 Tribal concerns including a unanimous vote to “bank” 881 acres of popular Brighton hunting land for wetland mitigation.

Per the federal Clean Water Act, wildlife habitat, natural streams or wetlands that are disrupted for community development must be replaced.  The Council’s decision concerning the recreation area known as the FBI Tract stands to save the Tribe $11 million in wetland replacement costs for future Brighton construction and infrastructure projects.

The issue came before the Council previously but was tabled to give Brighton Councilman Andrew J. Bowers Jr. a chance to discuss resident concerns at a community meeting.

Councilman Bowers said people questioned if the land would be fenced in or if vehicles would be restricted. In fact, the area will remain open and four-wheelers are welcome. No swamp buggies.

“As the meeting went on more people understood why we have to do it,” Councilman Bowers said. “We don’t need to worry about facilities messing up our wetlands.”

Big Cypress Councilman Mondo Tiger called the Council’s unanimous vote of approval “a no brainer.”

Council also voted to purchase two late model helicopters to replace two older, now discontinued models that have been out of commission for extended periods because replacement parts are hard to find. The helicopters are used for medical emergency transport, mosquito control and business transportation for Tribal officials.

One of the used helicopters will be purchased for $2.7 million and the other will cost $2.5 million. Because the spare parts market for 134 of the older now obsolete models still flying throughout the world is active, the Tribe stands to recoup nearly $1.3 million from parts off the first helicopter alone.

“It’s a Model T,” said the Tribe’s Aviation director Clinton El-Ramey referring to the need for parts as an income source.

Also passed during the meeting: a $600,000 student tutoring contract to Bright Minds Tutorials; construction of a golf practice field, emergency shelter, Housing/Public Works maintenance facility and ball field renovations on Big Cypress; construction of a Buildings and Grounds maintenance facility in Immokalee; and expansions and improvements to casinos in Hollywood, Tampa and Coconut Creek.

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