Oakland secures state funding

Florida Gov. Rick Scott approved $1 million for the town’s new sewer system.

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott approved a legislative appropriation for $1 million for the town of Oakland. Those funds will help pay for Phase 1 of the town’s $50 million centralized sewer system.

The amount is half of what Oakland had requested, but town officials are not complaining. Last year the Legislature appropriated $1 million but Gov. Scott vetoed it. The town also received $250,000 from the state in 2014 for this project.

Town Manager Dennis Foltz said the money should be available in July.

“These funds are available on a reimbursable basis, e.g. we must expend funds before we can requisition from the state,” he said in a staff report presented to the town commission at its March 22 meeting. “We will be able to do this in phases so we can control cash flow availability.”

Between now and June 30, the town must decision what portion of the first phase will be constructed with this money. And this depends on any other funds the town can secure.

Phase 1 is estimated to cost $4.9 million and includes the main wastewater trunk line that will run along West Colonial Drive plus a lift station somewhere near the Oakland Nature Preserve.

The town credits local supporters with helping push the measure through, and letters were sent to Tallahassee from individuals and organizations such as the West Orange Chamber of Commerce, the West Orange Healthcare District, Orange County Commissioner S. Scott Boyd, Pastor Bob Hines of Oakland Presbyterian Church and Lake County Commissioner Sean Parks.


In other news:

• Town Clerk Kim Gay swore in Mayor Kathy Stark and commissioners Mike Satterfield and Sal Ramos to new terms on the town commission. Satterfield was reappointed to serve as vice mayor.

• Commissioners passed a resolution to support an Innovative Traffic Signal Technologies Pilot Project. The idea behind the project is to synchronize the traffic lights along major traffic arterial roads in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties to keep large volumes of vehicles moving. The resolution also calls for the town to seek grants to obtain federal funding to evaluate the benefits of such technology. MetroPlan Orlando’s Intelligent Transportation System Master Plan would include a centralized traffic management center that would be managed by multiple users to allow for shared staffing and software, greater interoperability and one call-in number for public use in reporting incidents.

• Town Manager Dennis Foltz discussed grade-level options for when the town expands its charter school offerings to include middle and high schools. The campus of Oakland Avenue Charter School is big enough to hold another school, but the town has to look at what other facilities would be needed. The town’s current charter allows for kindergarten through sixth grade, so Oakland could add sixth grade without changing the charter. Foltz said a decision should be made on grade splitting between two campuses. Options include kindergarten through fifth and sixth through 12th, and kindergarten through eighth and ninth through 12th.

• The town has received complaints from residents of people going door-to-door trying to sell items, including a teenager claiming to be collecting money so his soccer club team could travel to Ireland. When one resident called the club he said he represented, officials said there was no fundraising taking place.

The town code prohibits some solicitation but not all; staff was directed to look at the ordinance addressing solicitors and peddlers and provide a report to the commission.

• The commission proclaimed Feb. 23, 2016, as Joseph Aaron Rosenbaum Day, in honor of the Eagle Scout candidate’s project, installing an outdoor xylophone for the Oakland Presbyterian VPK students; March 22, 2016, in recognition of Healthy West Orange; and April 2016 as Water Conservation Month.


Contact Amy Quesinberry Rhode at [email protected].