Ocoee OKs budget amendment

The change will add additional appropriations to the general fund, stormwater fund, transportation impact fee and the water/wastewater fund.

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  • | 10:18 a.m. May 12, 2021
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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The Ocoee City Commission approved an ordinance regarding the amending of the Fiscal Year 2020 budget during its meeting Tuesday, May 4.

The annual operation budget for the city was adopted Sept. 23, 2020. But since then, city staff identified the need for additional appropriations for the general fund, stormwater fund, transportation impact fee and the water/wastewater fund.

“They’re moving forward more quickly than we anticipated,” city Finance Director Rebecca Roberts said. “We have the funding available. We just need to get the funding more quickly than we had expected, so we’re here to ask for that funding.”

At the time the budget was adopted, the general fund was set at $52,988,188. But now, city staff is asking for an additional $1,633,296 to cover the planned costs to complete the Oakland Avenue Phase II — Taylor to Bluford downtown project. The other items include an additional $4,975,000 for general government items. That includes an inter-fund loan of $4,250,000 to the stormwater fund to cover a portion of the costs to construct the master stormwater pond, as well as $725,000 for downtown property acquisitions. Finally, staff is requesting $56,000 for police operations to replace a K-9 unit vehicle that was damaged in an accident.

For the transportation impact fee fund, adopted at $2,503,287, city staff is asking for $4,634,480 for the design and construction of the Clarke Road widening project. 

Meanwhile, the stormwater fund — adopted at $4,493,123 — is in need of $2,900,000 to cover the remaining costs of the master stormwater pond not covered by the inter-fund loan.

Finally, the water/wastewater fund, adopted at $14,902,173, requires an additional appropriation of $1,358,000 to cover the costs of planned projects that have moved forward ahead of schedule, and to reimburse the R&R fund for unforeseen expenditures relating to the force main rupture at Clarke Road and the failure of a clarifying rod, according to city documents.

The motion carried unanimously.


During the regular agenda portion of the meeting, commissioners approved allowing city staff to proceed with negotiating a contract with VMG Construction regarding the company’s interest in purchasing and developing land in downtown Ocoee.

The property — located at 2 N. Bluford Ave. — originally was purchased by the city in 2017 for $344,000. The city planned to enter into a public-private partnership with VMG then, but after COVID, that plan changed. VMG stepped back, and GPK emerged as a replacement suitor. However, GPK ultimately decided against the purchase after it was unable to purchase the surrounding parcels, Assistant City Manager Craig Shadrix said.

Now, VMG is asking to buy the property outright and utilize the building design that was originally planned — which includes a two-story development that will feature commercial and restaurant space. The proposal is for VMG to buy the property for $389,000.

“We’ve looked at this, and we believe that this is a fair-market price,” Shadrix said. “And we are requesting that you authorize us to proceed with negotiating a contract, which of course would have to come back to the commission as a public hearing pursuant to the charter, which requires real property sales valued at over $100,000 to be noticed as a public hearing and advertised pursuant to the conditions of the charter. This is another opportunity to generate some quality new construction in the downtown.”

After a few questions from the commissioners, the motion carried with a 4-1 majority, with Commissioner George Oliver dissenting because no appraisal would be done on the property.

Mayor Rusty Johnson approved the development, which is expected to be a $5 million investment for Ocoee’s downtown. 

“It’s a benefit to the city that we have somebody come along and offered us this,” Johnson said. 


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