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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021 1 week ago

Budget breakdown: Winter Garden Fiscal Year ’21-’22

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A brief overview of Winter Garden's new fiscal plan.
by: Jim Carchidi Associate Editor

The Winter Garden City Commission approved the final Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget during its Sept. 29 meeting. Total revenues of $87,381,191 include $45,788,272 from the General Fund, which marked a $4.8 million increase from the previous fiscal year.

The budgeted property tax revenue of about $19.06 million represents an increase of $1.3 million from last year. Tax revenue stands at $25,469,386 and accounts for 56% of the total General Fund revenue. The set millage rate for Fiscal Year 2021-22 is 4.5, which has now remained static for four years. The budget is currently balanced at a 4.5 millage rate. This year’s budget includes a 3% cost-of-living increase for all employee

POLICE AND FIRE

Total expenditures and disbursements for Fiscal Year 2021-22 total $87,533,803. The combined police and fire budget for FY 2021-22 totals $22.8 million, an 8.2% increase of $1.7 million from the FY 2021 budget. The increase is attributed to the addition of three new sworn police officers and two new community service officers. The increase will fully fund the five new positions. The FY2022 capital budget includes replacing 12 marked police vehicles, police building improvements and replacing 10 tasers and 12 laptops for patrol cars. 

The Fire Rescue Department budget includes fire station improvements and the purchase of a new Fire Rescue vehicle for Station 23.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Capital improvement projects include $249,000 for the West Plant Street road repair project and $263,000 for Marsh Road Improvements. A total of $707,000 is set aside for police vehicle replacements and $59,000 for A/C unit replacement in the police dispatch server room. 

And $402,000 is budgeted for a new Fire Rescue unit along with $60,000 for backup power generators for stations 23 and 24. Parks and Recreation major maintenance projects include $120,000 to resurface Bouler Pool, $300K to resurface the pickleball courts, and $480k for the Tanner Hall building repairs and improvements.

During the budget hearing, City Manager Mike Bollhoefer mentioned plans for the Parks and Recreation Committee to conduct a survey for community input on future projects and needs. 

“We base our city on quality of life, and parks and recreations are what differentiate communities,” he said. “We have a lot of people with a lot of ideas chasing limited dollars, so this would be the best way to move forward.”

IN OTHER NEWS

City commissioners also voted to amend future land use designation on the property at 35 and 41 W. Morgan St. from low density residential to commercial for a planned, single-story office and retail building measuring about 9,000 square feet. The building will be designed with a residential feel to fit in with the surrounding neighborhood.

The collective bargaining agreement between the city of Winter Garden and the Winter Garden Professional Firefighters, International Association of Firefighters, Local 4947, for Oct. 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2024, was approved.

 

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Jim Carchidi is an associate editor for the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. He has more than two decades of journalism experience in Central Florida, including positions at the Orlando Sentinel and the Orlando Business Journal. He holds a...

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