PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - The Glades region is known for good fishing and its expansive sugar cane farms, but when it comes to living conditions, a few Palm Beach County commissioners believe something must be done.
On Tuesday, two commissioners brought up the idea of the county taking over Belle Glade, South Bay, and Pahokee.
Palm Beach County County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor says it's premature to discuss a complete takeover, but says it's an option that should be put to a vote if affected citizens agree. She says as a state lawmaker years ago, she was assigned to that area and it's gone from bad to worse. Taylor even likened Belle Glade to a "third world country."
"To me, it's just unacceptable," she says.
Taylor says during a church service in Belle Glade, she watched a video that showed just how bad the quality of life is in the Glades and was disturbed and moved at the same time.
An example, Taylor says, would be a story WPTV did a few months ago that showed how a mother and her child were living in a jail-cell sized room, with restrooms so deplorable the child had to use the bathroom in a bucket.
"I think there's a problem that should not even be allowed. Where's the health department? Where's code enforcement?" she asked.
With the help of commissioner Shelley Vana, Taylor has called on other commissioners and leaders in the Glades to come together and find a solution.
"Something's wrong. There's a systematic problem," said Taylor.
But J.P Sasser, the mayor of Pahokee, says not so fast. Sasser says Pahokee, in the next year, will have developed new communities in an effort to boost living conditions and the economy by using funds from the state and federal government.
"To lump us all together and paint us with the same brush is unfair," said Sasser.
While talks of a county takeover may be premature, Taylor says it's definitely an option.
"I think somehow we've just got to do something to enhance the quality of life," she said.
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