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West Orange Times & Observer Friday, Jul. 27, 2018 3 months ago

Commissioners set tentative millage rate, approve rate studies

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Winter Garden commissioners set the tentative millage rate at 4.50 and approved rate studies for water, sewer and stormwater.
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

WINTER GARDEN — City commissioners voted unanimously to set a tentative millage rate at 4.50 mills during the July 26 commission meeting.

The proposed millage rate is 0.25 mills above the current rate of 4.25. Included in the approval of setting the tentative millage rate was setting budget public hearing dates for September 13 and September 27. 

Finance Director Laura Zielonka said commissioners can reduce the millage rate during budget hearings, but they cannot increase it.

“It’s been at 4.25 for the last eight years,” Zielonka said. “The extra 0.25 would generate approximately $800,000 for the city and would cost approximately $25 a year for every $100,000 of taxable value for the homeowners.”

She added that staff will have a better idea of what the proposed millage rate should be at the later budget hearings.

City Manager Mike Bolhoeffer said the proposed increase could help cover costs related to school safety.

“With the new laws, we now have to put officers in all of the schools, which is going to drive up the costs,” he said. 

Commissioners then unanimously approved PRMG to perform rate studies for water, sewer and stormwater to determine if the city’s current rates are enough to sufficiently fund future utility and stormwater infrastructure projects. PRMG is proposing to do the water/sewer rate study for $39,000 and the stormwater rate study for $15,000. 

“While analyzing everything, we’ve noticed the water rates haven’t increased in 15 years,” Zielonka said. “We’d like to have a rate study done to ensure that our future infrastructure costs are going to be covered by the future rates, and we’d also like to look at the stormwater rate study too.”

Lastly, city leaders unanimously approved a special event request for Crooked Can Brewery’s Oktoberfest celebration from October 19 to 21. 

An agenda item pertaining to a change order with L7 Construction was pulled because city staff found an alternative solution to the issue related to the change order, according to Bolhoeffer.

Commissioners Lisa Bennett and Mark Maciel were absent from the meeting.

Eric Gutierrez is a staff writer with the West Orange Times & Observer and Windermere Observer. He graduatedĀ from the University of Central Florida in 2015 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science. Got a story idea? Contact Eric at...

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