Residents of Ocoee’s District 4 received an update of city happenings Thursday, Sept. 12, in a Town Hall meeting hosted by Commissioner George Oliver.
At the meeting, Oliver discussed the need for a citywide risk assessment along with a financial and operational audit; the need for strategic planning in the city in terms of coming up with core values, a mission and a vision for the city of Ocoee; and creating a way to disseminate information among residents via social media and/or informational fliers. All topics have been matters Oliver has introduced in previous City Commission meetings — including during the Sept. 11 budget public hearing.
“One of the things that I’m fighting for is a small budget to be able to get information to you,” Oliver said. “We can’t have Town Hall meetings every quarter. I try to have them once (or) maybe twice a year, but the most important thing for me is to get information to you about infrastructure (projects). … If you don’t come to these meetings, you just don’t know. ... So, I’m fighting for some type of budget (funds) to be able to get fliers, using social media and different things like that to get information out to you so you’ll know in advance what’s happening (in the city).”
Oliver also has been advocating for the possible establishment of a commissioner discretionary budget for the instances in which local organizations come to a city commission meeting and ask the commission for financial assistance.
“Other things I’m looking at (are) discretionary funds for commissioners — discretionary budget funds,” Oliver said. “There’s a lot of organizations and individuals that come to this dais, and they look for help in doing different things … and they need money (for) funding. They come to us and we’re able to fund some of those things, but then some things we just can’t fund.”
Oliver also discussed putting a traffic light at the intersection of Ingram and Clarcona Ocoee roads. However, accomplishing the task has been a challenge, because Clarcona Ocoee Road is an Orange County road.
“We are definitely looking to put a light there, so I’m fighting with the county (for that traffic light),” Oliver said. “The county has agreed to allow us to put a light there, but they don’t want to put any money into it yet. So, the city, right now, we have earmarked some funds for it — about $250,000. It’s going to probably cost about $400,000 to do it, but I will be going down to the county at one of their commission meetings and I will be petitioning them, again, about that light and putting funds out for that.”
Traffic was the main concern brought forth by residents. Much of the concerns raised were about the traffic issues on Clarke Road. City leaders addressed these concerns by discussing improvements underway and planned.
“There (are) plans in place to extend Clarke Road from two lanes to four lanes at A.D. Mims (Road) heading north toward … Clarcona Ocoee,” Oliver said, later adding that Clarke Road also will be extended from Clarcona Ocoee Road to West McCormick Road. “That plan was set up by Arden Park. … They agreed to extend (Clarke Road) all the way through (to West McCormick Road).”
“We have all the land in place to widen (Clarke Road) all the way up to Clarcona Ocoee Road,” City Planner Mike Rumer said. “Now we need a design, an engineer plan and the funds to widen it, and that’s going to be a goal that’s going to be in the capital improvement plan, and we’re going to have to work to try and find a way to pay to do it (either) incrementally or do it all at once.”
Public Works Director Steve Krug added the city has been working toward improving the timing of the traffic signals along Clarke Road.
“We were able to hire a consultant to do a traffic study (of) all of the existing signals on Clarke Road and all the additional traffic,” Krug said. “They have put together a traffic study retiming everything … with the idea of making sure traffic is flowing better at all the traffic signals. It’s not going to help much with volume, but (it’ll help) to get people to not be stacked up as much (in traffic).”