Winter Garden commissioners on Thursday, Jan. 26, discussed the first reading of an ordinance that would revise a section to remove the term limits and stagger the terms for the Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board upon reappointment.
The item, presented by Economic Development Director Tanja Gerhartz, would remove the term limits for the CRAAB moving forward, and allows for reappointment with staggered terms.
Gerhartz explained there are currently nine members on the board, and all but one are serving an expired term.
If the ordinance was approved, three members would be staggered and their terms would end in July 2023, three members’ terms would expire July 2024 and three would expire July 2025.
“To lose all the knowledge and the experience and the history with starting over with a new board during such a critical time with the CRA advisory board and everything we’re trying to do in east Winter Garden, we did not feel like that was the right direction,” Gerhartz said. “Recommending that we remove the term limits, because redevelopment work takes years to see projects through and staggering the terms so that we don’t ever have a situation like this where we would be losing the entire board.”
Resident Sarah Wolfe spoke during public comment and questioned the need for the revision.
“My concern is unlimited terms on any position,” she said. “If we don’t have term limits, then … the committee could be tied up for 10 years, 12 years, with the same people on it. Is that what we want to happen?”
City Manager Jon C. Williams said he thinks part of the problem is the way the board is currently structured.
“All the terms expired at one time, so all the knowledge that has been there on that board for that period of time goes away,” Williams said. “We want to stagger the terms where we can keep some of the knowledge and then as terms expire they can be reappointed or somebody else new is coming on board but you still always have somebody that has some history of what’s transpired on that board.”
The City Commission approved the first reading of the ordinance unanimously.