WINDERMERE The Windermere Town Council wants to give town facilities a facelift and is allowing Windermere residents to vote on the plan.
At its Oct. 13 meeting, the council approved a referendum on improvements to town facilities.
The plan for improvements includes new town administrative offices, a new police building, a new public works facility on Sixth Avenue, paving some roads, adding basketball courts to the 1887 Schoolhouse site, saving the Cal Palmer building and adding parking for events.
After completing a study of town needs, as well as stakeholder meetings with town residents, the town determined that improvements to several town facilities are needed.
A bank loan and “other legally available town revenues as the Town Council may identify from time to time” will fund the project, according to the resolution.
The town will repay the loan through funds from the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund for Municipalities, not property taxes.
The town expects that the improvements will require it to borrow up to $4.2 million over a 30-year period. The town’s charter currently does not allow the town to incur debt above 12.5% unless approved by a majority vote of Windermere residents. This loan exceeds the 12.5%.
The referendum will held on March 15, 2016, at the same time as the Presidential Preference Primary election.
The majority of the council members approved the referendum, with Bob McKinley dissenting.
Charter Review Committee receives an extension
The council voted to allow the Charter Review Committee an additional 180 days to complete its review of the charter and submit its report and suggestions for revisions to the Town Council.
The addition of 180 days brings the completion of the review past March 2016, pushing the charter vote into the following year’s election. For the charter to be included in the March election, the review would have to be completed by November 2015, and “there’s no way” the committee could complete it by then, according to Town Manager Robert Smith, because of the amount of work required to finish it and the effort the committee has already put into it.
“It’s pretty much an entire rewrite,” he said. “We meet twice a month, and those meetings go from 6:30 p.m. till 9, 9:30 p.m.”
The council acknowledged the hard work of the committee and granted the extension.
In other news
The council had a first reading of an ordinance addressing boat docks. The adoption of the ordinance will allow Windermere and Orange County to have concurrent jurisdiction to enforce dock regulations.
A first reading also addressed an ordinance seeking to clarify minimum lot width. The ordinance would also allow the town manager to approve the split of a lot, as long as the end result meets the minimum width. The ordinance would also require lots that do not meet the minimum width but are bordering lots under the same ownership to merge.
Both ordinances will be discussed at the next council meeting.