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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Sep. 1, 2021 3 weeks ago

Winter Garden holds 2021-22 budget workshop

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The City Commission will host two public budget hearings later this month.
by: Jim Carchidi Associate Editor

Winter Garden city leaders focused on Fiscal Year 2021-22 with a budget workshop, held during the Aug. 26 City Commission meeting.

The proposed budget is based on a 4.5 millage rate, which was approved during the July 8 meeting. Projected revenues include a General Fund of $45,788,272 with taxes accounting for 56% of the total. Of that amount, 75% comes from an ad valorem tax revenue of $19,055,430.

The budget presentation showed the ad valorem taxable value increased 7.5%, with an increase of about $1.3 million in ad valorem revenue.

The largest contributors to the proposed Enterprise Funds revenue of $22,830,186 are utilities, which account for $14,712,879, and solid waste, which account for $5,647,481.

Proposed capital projects in the amount of $4,496,263 include $1,386,789 for culture and recreation, $871,569 for the police department, $618,360 for the fire department and $680,860 for streets.

Assistant City Manager Frank Gilbert discussed citywide personnel requests, outlined in the budget, that call for the addition of two new parks supervisor positions — one for the Tucker Ranch project and one for Greenhouse Operations; a human resources manager position for Risk Management; and a mechanic position in Fleet Services.

Gilbert also proposed a 3% wage increase for city employees, as well as a “home growing” approach to filling open positions.

“We want to bring people in who meet our service philosophy and ask them to attend classes or attend training to get their certifications,” Gilbert said. “We can’t find people (who) have the full skills we need, and instead, we’re trying to bring people in (who) we can train and put into positions as they achieve their certifications and their licenses and even their college education.”

Assistant City Manager of Public Services Jon Williams noted several major projects for the next fiscal year, including the Dillard Street Improvement Project, Marsh Road traffic-calming improvements, citywide street resurfacing and Lakeview Reserve drainage improvements.

The first public budget hearing is set for the Sept. 15 City Commission meeting, with the second hearing scheduled for the Sept. 29 meeting.

Tucker Ranch

Commissioners moved to give City Manager Mike Bollhoefer approval for a $1,010,530 proposal from HDLA for design and construction services for the Tucker Ranch Wellness Park.

“This will be a state-of-the-art park; there’s not a park like this anywhere else in the country,” Bollhoefer said. 

Tucker Ranch aims to create a culture of health and wellness through a mind-body-soul concept. The plan will be developed in two phases, with each taking about 18 months to complete. Construction is slated to begin this summer with a completion date of summer 2023.

Project partners are Healthy West Orange, Advent Health, Orlando Health, Shepherd’s Hope, American Heart Association, Community Health Centers, American Diabetes Association, UCP of Central Florida, Mental Health Association of Central Florida and others.

 

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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