Leaders OK $16,300 to replace tower clock

The clock has stood there for six years, but one resident believes that is no reason to spend $16,000 to replace it.


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  • | 5:46 p.m. November 20, 2017
  • Southwest Orange
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WINDERMERE –– Given the ubiquity of wristwatches, iPhones and Fitbits, some residents might have failed to notice, but the town’s self-described iconic tower clock is broken.

Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn was the first to take notice of the nonfunctioning clock, which has not worked for the past nine months. Some Town Council members believe it is a charming town monument, as it is depicted in many photos of the town.

But Windermere resident David Sharpe, who spoke during the public comment forum at the Nov. 14 council meeting, believes spending anywhere near $16,300 to replace the tower clock is a waste of the town’s financial resources.

“Why are we spending almost $16,000 on a clock when everyone is walking around with one in their pocket?” Sharpe asked. “I just don’t think it’s a good use of town resources to spend money on things like this when we have more important things to do, like the new police station and the new town offices.”

Councilman Bob McKinley also expressed reservations about spending that much money on the clock and voted against approving the funding for the town clock replacement.

“I don’t think anybody actually looks at it,” McKinley said. “It’s just sitting out there as a decoration.”

Bruhn responded to Sharpe by noting that the town is not using tax dollars but is instead using revenue generated by the Downtown Business Committee, which raises money via different events – including the town’s weekly farmers markets and monthly food truck events – specifically to improve the downtown.

“That’s money that we allow them to use (at) their discretion for the benefit of the town,” Bruhn said. “But his complaint was, ‘Well, why don’t we take that money away from them and use it for something else?’ But as (John) Armstrong pointed out, if they host all these events to raise money and they want to use it to improve the downtown, replace the clock, add more Christmas lighting or what have you, what’s their incentive to keep making the money if we’re just going to take it away from them to spend it on something else?”

When asked why it cost so much to replace the clock, Bruhn noted that only a few companies make that kind of clock.

AL PICHON RESIGNS

After serving one year and nine months in office, Windermere Councilman Al Pichon has resigned.

Bruhn said the former councilman resigned because he is moving out of the state to be with his family in Texas.

Under the town charter, the council has 45 days to appoint someone to fit the vacancy, and if it does not agree on a successor, the governor has the ability to appoint someone.

However, the council approved appointing former Councilwoman Molly Rose. Chris Sapp, who ran against Councilman Richard Montgomery in the last election and lost by four votes, also was nominated by Councilman Jim O’Brien.

Rose now will be serving as an interim council member for three months until the next election. Because of Pichon’s resignation and Councilman John Armstrong’s decision to not run for re-election, there will be two vacant seats in the election.

 

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