Pick for Top Cop Pulls Out

While Police Cars Get a New Look

Pick for Top Cop Pulls Out

Winter Park’s pick for Top Cop, Dallas Police Department Narcotics Division Deputy Chief Vernon Hale, announced over the weekend that he has withdrawn his name from consideration. This leaves the post open as Brett Railey begins his final week as Chief of Police of the city he has served for nearly 35 years.

The news leaked out during the August 22 Commission meeting. No reason was given for Hale’s change of heart – simply that he “had changed his mind.” In a subsequent interview, Chief Railey told the Voice that the City has a sizeable pool of well-qualified applicants from which to draw, and that he expected a new Chief will be announced soon.

Whoever Railey’s successor turns out to be, he’ll have a big pair of shoes to fill – and some decorating to do.


Older vs Bolder

Are These the Cars of Arts & Culture?

Previously, during Commissioner reports at the end of the August 8 Commission meeting, Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel reported that she had seen a strange looking police car in a Publix parking lot. While the paint job identified the vehicle, a small SUV, as a Winter Park police car, Sprinkel was taken aback by the new paint job.

It turned out that some of the younger officers had approached Railey with the notion that the old paint job on the police sedans looked a little, well, stodgy. “Too Nineties.” Here is Chief Railey describing what happened when he challenged the officers to come up with a new look.

Once the design was approved by City Manager Randy Knight and senior staff at the police department, all new vehicles were slated to have the new look. Winter Park now boasts eight small SUVs with the new design.

“Not My Favorite,” says Leary

“The police cars are some of our most visible branding devices,” said Mayor Steve Leary. “And I don’t think that paint scheme, that detail, matches anything else we’re doing in the city of Winter Park.” Leary went on to explain that there should be a “more consolidated view” of branding, and directed the City Communications Department to become more involved in the design of the new cars.

Railey responded, “That’s an understandable concern that you may have,” and suggested the Commission direct the City Manager to direct the new Police Chief to change the paint job moving forward.

How Shall We Grow?

Comp Plan Review Begins — Should You Care?

How Shall We Grow?

homepage-button-comp-planThe Comprehensive Plan review has begun in earnest.

The Comprehensive Plan – a.k.a the Comp Plan – is described by the City Communications Department as “the document that governs the City’s plans for growth through policies that guide development.”

Comp Plan = City Blueprint

The policies set forth in the Comp Plan protect and improve our city assets and provide for city infrastructure. In terms of importance to the city, the Comp Plan is second only to the City Charter. The Comp Plan is required by Florida Statute, Chapter 163.3161, and is given legal status mandating that public and private development must comply with the Comp Plan.

Deadline for Completion – 2/1/2017

The Comp Plan is updated every seven years to ensure it is in compliance with Florida statutes. Last reviewed in 2009, an update it is now due. The Commission has until February 1, 2017, to approve the Comp Plan and send a final version to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity in Tallahassee.

The City Planning Department will spearhead the review, with the assistance of the Comprehensive Plan Task Force — Nancy Miles, Laura Turner and Marc Reicher — and the City advisory boards that oversee the various elements of the Plan.

Don’t Give Up – Keep Reading (or skip this section and come back to it)

The Comp Plan consists of two major documents. The one entitled “Goals, Objectives and Policies” (GOP) is adopted by the Commission and carries the weight of law. The information from which the GOP derives is in a support document entitled “Data, Information and Analysis” (DIA). In our current Comp Plan, the GOPs and DIAs are organized into nine chapters, or ‘elements.’

Future Land Use – Includes map of land use allowed on every property in Winter Park.
Transportation – Addresses roadways, sidewalks, buses, rail and biking and walking trails.
Housing – Includes projection of future population.
Public Facilities – Infrastructure services such as sanitary sewer, solid waste disposal, potable (drinkable) water and storm water drainage.
Conservation – Defines conservation lands, air and water quality and water conservation.
Recreation and Open Space – Plans and policies to meet projects need for parkland and open space. Current level of service requires 10 acres of publicly owned park and conservation land per 1,000 residents.
Capital Improvements – This element is updated annually as part of the City budget process and includes all infrastructure required to support the population.
Intergovernmental Coordination – Outlines the City’s agreement with other government entities such as the FL Department of Transportation, Orange County School Board, St. John’s Water Management District and surrounding municipalities and counties.
Public Schools – Reflects agreement with Orange County Public Schools to provide facilities to serve resident school-aged children.

You Still Awake?

As always, the devil is in the details. Here is one example. If you go to the City website and click the “Comprehensive Plan” icon on the main page, it will take you to the Comp Plan. Under “Data, Analysis and Inventories” is a chart listing all parks and the precise acreage of each. The total acreage listed there is 296.45 acres.

A document distributed by City Planning Director Dori Stone at the August 1, 2016 meeting of the Comp Plan Task Force, entitled “Park Level of Service Standards,” states Winter Park’s park and conservation land at a total of 346.16 acres.

Where Did That 50 Acres Come From?

On August 5, the City Communications Department wrote to the Voice, “Staff will need to research the differential in total acres. GIS is a factor, some new parcels were added, i.e., the West Meadow, and we need to research what others resulted in the difference.”

GIS, by the way, stands for Geographic Information System, which is a more accurate way of measuring land area. Even with GIS, however, as of this writing we are still not sure about those 50 acres. Part of the Comp Plan review process will be to manage discrepancies of this sort.

Why Does 50 Acres Matter?

At a level of service of 10 acres of park and conservation land per 1,000 residents, 346.16 acres would support a population of 34,616. (Winter Park population estimate as of 2015 stands at 28,967.) Since Winter Park is landlocked, how would we fit another 5,000 to 6,000 people? By increasing density. Where would we increase density? In those single-family residential neighborhoods the Comp Plan is meant to protect?

Is the Comp Plan Review Important to You?

If you care how this city will look in two or five or seven years, it is important. The Voice will post updates as the review process moves from Advisory Board to Advisory Board under the guidance of City staff and the Comp Plan Task Force. A “2016 Comprehensive Plan Timeline” is posted on the city website. 2016-comprehensive-plan-timeline.pdf
The City will update the schedule as necessary, and all meetings are open to the public.

As technical and wonky as it may seem, the Comp Plan review affects how we live. It is worthy of our attention. In the words of Commissioner Carolyn Cooper, our Comp Plan is “a contract between the residents of Winter Park and our government that defines how and where we will grow and what level of public services we will enjoy for the taxes we pay.”

WP 5-Year-Old in World Championship Golf Tourney

Michael Ott Goes for the Gold

WP 5-Year-Old in World Championship Golf Tourney

2014 PNC Rich Ott & son MichaelMeet Michael Ott. He appears to be a healthy, normal 5-year-old – that is, until you put a golf club in his hand. Then, he’s all business.

Michael lives here in Winter Park with his Mom and Dad and his sister. He will begin Kindergarten in the fall at St. Margaret Mary.

Years of Experience

Michael has been playing golf since he was two. His father, Rich Ott, says Michael has only had two formal lessons, from Justin, the former head Golf Pro at the Winter Park County Club. One golfing enthusiast, upon hearing about this 5-year-old phenom, quipped, “I’ve got candy bars in my golf bag that are older than that!”

Making Long Drives

Michael plays golf every chance he gets. He regularly hits the ball 100+ yards. He told me that one time he hit it 121 yards. Since Michael is still fairly small in stature, that would be approximately 121 times his height. Eat your hearts out.


Better than Chocolate??

Michael told me he likes golf better than he likes chocolate ice cream. Go figure.

When I asked Michael what his secret is, he said, “I just putt it and it goes in.”

Next World Champ?

Michael has become something of a celebrity in Central Florida golfing circles. This picture appeared on the cover of the Winter Park Parks & Recreation 2014 Annual Report. 2014GolfBoy

On Memorial Day weekend, Michael won the Regional Qualifier, ages 8 and under, for the 2016 World Putting Championship. On July 9, Michael will be one of 30 competitors in his age group at the World Putting Championship in San Diego. His dad Rich will caddy for him. http://futurechampionsgolf.com/contests/putting/

When I asked Michael if he thought he might win the tournament, he said quietly, “Yes.”

Rich Ott has promised to keep the Voice updated on Michael’s progress in San Diego. Watch for updates over the weekend.

Mayor Announces Comp Plan Task Force

Comp Plan Review in 2016

Mayor Announces Comp Plan Task Force

Leary%20HeadshotIn the closing minutes of the May 23 Commission Meeting, Mayor Steve Leary announced the formation of a three-member Comprehensive Plan Task Force. Leary explained the purpose of the task force is to “help [staff] synthesize all the information from the advisory boards and to keep [the review process] on schedule.”

Comp Plan Task Force

Named to the task force are Nancy Miles, Marc Reicher and Laura Turner.

Reicher served as chair of the Economic Development Advisory Board. Laura Turner is a certified city planner who has also served on Winter Park advisory boards. Nancy Miles served on the Tennis Advisory Board and the Library Task Force.

Comp Plan: How We Grow

The Comprehensive Plan is the blueprint for how the City develops and grows over the years. The City reviews the plan every seven years and makes a formal report to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). The plan was last updated in 2009, so is due for review in 2016.

City May Choose to Update Comp Plan – or Not

According to the DEO, the state agency that oversees Comp Plan reviews, the City may “determine whether the need exists to amend the comprehensive plan to reflect changes in state requirements since the last time the comprehensive plan was updated.” The DEO website notes that Florida has relaxed its regulations to afford local governments “more discretion” in determining whether they need to update their comp plans.

WP Review to be Public Process

City Communications Director Clarissa Howard told the Voice that the Winter Park Comp Plan review, “. . . will be a thorough public process to review each element [and] will involve the input and analysis of city staff, advisory boards and residents. The city will offer a variety of opportunities for public participation at advisory board meetings, special public workshops and City Commission meetings.”

City to Publish Comp Plan News

“All dates, locations and times will be posted on the Comp Plan page of the city website at www.cityofwinterpark.org/comp-plan,” Howard wrote.

Howard also noted that information will be emailed regularly to those who sign up for the Comp Plan email subscription at www.cityofwinterpark.org/citEnews.

City Hall to Move Next?

City Hall to Move Next?

Now that Winter Park voters are on board to pay for a brand new library, the city is cautiously considering moving city hall into the current library building.

After city staff recommended exploring the idea Monday, city commissioners called for more information about the site’s strengths and weaknesses. A staff report said the building was in “good” condition with a “fairly new” heat and air-conditioning system and energy-efficient lighting. City Manager Randy Knight also said some current city-hall functions could be moved to another site if they didn’t need to be in a prime location.

Not everyone was enthusiastic about the idea, however. Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel noted the city already knows about the existing library from the research done by the Library Facility Task Force. The task force nixed renovating the building after concluding it has too many challenges, including poor wi-fi connections and limited space and parking.

Commissioners Pete Weldon and Carolyn Cooper both stressed the importance of hearing from the public before making any decision about city hall or any other high-profile city properties valuable to residents. Cooper said it was “fiscally responsible to explore reuse of that [library] building,” but she would not support selling the property.

One staff option for city hall never made it into the discussion. Staff raised the possibility of another bond-issue to build a new city hall on the Park Avenue site, but Mayor Steve Leary said any discussion of that idea was “premature.”

Meanwhile, Winter Park’s new library seems destined to be built in Martin Luther King Jr. Park. The issue was never raised Monday except for a plea from former mayor Joe Terranova during the public-comment portion of the meeting. “You’re going to have to reconsider this,” he said, noting the close vote on the library bond issue. “You have a split community now.”

Progress Point Bid Withdrawn

Cites City Failure to Clarify Terms of Sale

Progress Point Bid Withdrawn

On February 23, ROC Seniors Housing Fund Manager, LLC, formally withdrew their offer to buy the Progress Point property to build a mixed use development consisting of an assisted living facility, a memory care unit and a restaurant.

To view notice, click here.

The Short End of the Land Swap

Progress Point – that infamous piece of land the City acquired when they traded away the State Office Building property up the road at Morse and Denning. At the junction of Orange and Denning, right beside the railroad tracks, split down the middle by a road, contaminated by heavy metal, it has sat unwanted and unloved since 2011.

For Sale Sign Goes Up April 2015

In April 2015, the City put it up for sale. They advertised in the Sentinel and on Loop Net. Thirty packets containing the Notice of Disposal (NOD) were sent to potential buyers. After 90 days, there was one response.

One Potential Buyer

A proposal was submitted by ROC Seniors for an 82 unit assisted living center with a 32-bed memory care facility and a 6,000-square-foot restaurant. The developer, represented by former Winter Park City Commissioner Phil Anderson, offered $4.5 million which, according to City records, was in keeping with a 2011 appraisal of $4.4 million.

Staff and EDAB Recommend the Project

Both City staff and the Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) recommended approval, pointing out that the development would “activate the taxable value,” adding between $71,000 – $86,000 annually to the General Fund. “Staff feels that the project meets the character of Orange Avenue,” read the Agenda Item, “promotes new jobs and creates active redevelopment along Orange Avenue.”

ROC Seniors cited several important benefits their project would bring to the City. There would be no impact on schools. The facility would provide an under-served need for seniors. The project would create greater employment opportunities than other uses and would be an attractive presence consistent with existing Orange Avenue businesses.

Price Just Went Up

On the Friday before the September 14, 2015, Commission meeting, the City received a new appraisal, which had been ordered after the NODs went out. It came in at $5.69 million. As a result, ROC Seniors came before the Commission with an offer that was nearly $1.3 million below what was now the most recent appraisal.

Leary Opposed

A lengthy discussion among the commissioners about whether the proposed use was appropriate for the Orange Avenue corridor began with Mayor Steven Leary’s unequivocal opposition to ROC Seniors’ proposed use.


The NOD had contained no guidelines regarding what kind of project the City would like to see there. Public comment, mostly from business owners along Orange Avenue, was heavily in opposition to the project.

ROC Meets the Price

After an acknowledgement from Mr. Anderson that ROC Seniors would meet with City staff to discuss raising their offer to meet the new price, the Commission decided to table the issue and send the question to Planning and Zoning for their opinion on an appropriate use for the  site.

How Did We Reach This Point?

How did such an unlovely site gain $1.3 million in value, you might ask. In a November 5, 2015, letter from ROC Seniors to the City, Anderson points out certain ‘assumptions’ the appraiser used in assigning the $5.69 million value.

  • The City would realign Palmetto Avenue so that it would no longer run through the middle of the property, creating one contiguous piece of land.
  • The City would deliver a “clean, clear site” by removing residual contamination.
  • The City would accommodate storm water offsite.
  • The City would approve a mixed use.

In his letter, Anderson requested the City definitively clarify the appraiser’s assumptions. He also highlighted the need of surrounding businesses, including the Jewett Clinic, for additional parking and suggested the City retain a portion of the Progress Point land for that purpose.

To view the entire letter, click here.

Bottom Line: No Progress on Progress Point

After six months of discussion between the City and ROC Seniors, the City failed to come to a clear decision. The City has not confirmed that it would complete the items on which the appraiser based his valuation, and it has not clarified what kind of use they believe would be appropriate for that site.

“No one has said they want an assisted living facility or a mixed use project on that site,” Anderson told the Voice. “And no one has said they don’t want that kind of project. It’s time for us to move on.”

Commission Lobbying Trip Cancelled

Did Commissioners Violate State Law When They Went in Past Years?

Commission Lobbying Trip Cancelled

Why was the City Commission’s annual lobbying trip to Tallahassee cancelled?

Last year’s trip resulted in a contribution of state funds to the restoration of Mead Gardens, and the year before that, funds to assist with electric utility undergrounding. Priorities for this year’s foray included projects such as the acquisition of Howell Branch Creek, green energy generation and the new library. Legislative matters to be discussed included pension reform and dedicated funding for Commuter Rail. For full list, click Here

City Attorney: “Don’t Go”

The decision to cancel, announced in an email to Commissioners from City Manager Randy Knight, was based on advice from City Attorney A. Kurt Ardaman. Ardaman advised that such a trip violates statutes governing the city’s jurisdiction and carries the potential for violations of the Sunshine Law.

In addition to representing Winter Park, Ardaman and his firm, Fishback Dominick, serve the cities of Longwood, Winter Garden and DeBary. Spokesmen for all three cities stated that their Commissioners do not travel to Tallahassee together.

Through a spokesperson, Ardaman stated that the question of lobbying trips for commissioners from these cities had not come up, but that if it did, he would advise against it.

Governing Bodies Can’t Meet Outside Political Boundaries

At the January 11 Commission meeting, Ardaman stated, “Clearly, there are cities that go to Tallahassee, and they have meetings with their legislators and their lobbyists . . . . But the law is what it is, and just because cities do that does not mean that cities do not violate the law. There is actually a statute that spells out when it is . . . allowed for governing bodies of cities to meet outside their political boundaries.”

Ardaman explained that this statute limits such meetings to two specific situations. One is when a city has fewer than 500 residents; the other is when two governing bodies – such as a city and a county – meet to discuss matters of common interest, and those meetings should occur within the county at issue. There is no other exception for a city governing body to meet outside its political boundaries.

Potential for Sunshine Violation

Ardaman said, in addition to the jurisdictional issue, there is the possibility of a Sunshine Law violation.

The Sunshine Law requires that all commission meetings be publicly noticed 48 hours in advance, and that meetings of two or more commissioners may be attended by the public. So, if two or more commissioners travel to Tallahassee, any member of the public is free to ride along and attend the meetings in the state capital.

Ardaman said that he and other City Attorneys agree that these restrictions, however well intentioned, pose an issue the Florida Legislature should address.

Resolution Proposed at Next Commission Meeting

At the following Commission meeting January 25, a draft resolution was brought forth asking Florida legislators to revise the law so that Commissioners can conduct business outside of the city’s political boundaries.

The Commissioners were united in their opposition to the resolution, though each had his or her own widely differing reasons.

Seidel: Let’s Talk to the Experts

Commissioner Greg Seidel suggested an information meeting with representatives from the Sunshine Coalition or the First Amendment Foundation to get clarification on the law.

Cooper: Let’s Build Coalition

Commissioner Carolyn Cooper observed that sending such aresolution to Tallahassee without first building a coalition of interested parties would be premature.

Sprinkel: Bad Idea

Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel was unequivocal in her opposition to the resolution. She noted that the legislators in Tallahassee were dealing with far more important issues.

McMacken: Throwing a Piece of Paper at It Is No Solution

Commissioner Tom McMacken deplored the situation that prevents Commissioners from going to Tallahassee to lobby on behalf of the City, but could not support the resolution as it stood.

Leary: One Person Can Do It

Mayor Steve Leary agreed with Commissioner Sprinkel, that the Florida legislators had “bigger fish to fry.” He stated that the City’s priorities are set, he is willing to take them to Tallahassee, and that one person can handle the task.

Resolution Tabled

The Commission voted 4 to 1 to table the resolution indefinitely. Mayor Leary cast the dissenting vote.

Cooper to Represent Winter Park at FL League of Cities

Will Receive ‘2015’ Home Rule Hero’ Award

Cooper to Represent Winter Park at FL League of Cities


Mayor Steve Leary appointed Commissioner Carolyn Cooper Voting Delegate from the City of Winter Park to the Florida League of Cities Annual Conference, to be held August 13 – 15 in Orlando. Leary announced the appointment at the June 22 meeting of the City Commission.

2015 Home Rule Hero

At the conference, Cooper will be among those to receive the Florida League of Cities “2015 Home Rule Hero” award.


Advocate for Municipal Issues

The work for which Cooper is being honored includes membership on the Growth Management Legislative Committee, the Finance Legislative Committee, Board of Directors for the Tri-County League of Cities, and as a member of the advocacy team that addressed municipal issues in Tallahassee.

Local Voice on What Matters to Cities

“These local government officials earned this prestigious award for their tireless efforts to advance the League’s legislative agenda,” wrote Florida League of Cities Legislative Director Scott Dudley. “These men and women are some of the Florida League of Cities’ biggest advocates for municipal issues, always willing and ready to contact legislators and travel to Tallahassee to be sure a local voice is heard on issues that are important to cities. It is clear that these public servants have devoted themselves to Florida’s citizens and will remain loyal to their cities and state far into the future.”


Winter Parkers Respond to Mayor's "Thank You" Survey

Read Results Here

Winter Parkers Respond to Mayor’s “Thank You” Survey

Leary Mailer-2

Remember about two weeks after the March 10 election? Newly elected Mayor Steven Leary sent a questionnaire out to some Winter Park residents asking for their opinions about the City.

At that time, the Voice published an open letter to Mayor Leary, asking questions that many of you had posed to us. Mayor Leary has, so far, not responded to our questions, but 1,107 of you responded to Mayor Leary’s questions. The Voice obtained your responses to the Mayor’s questionnaire through a public records request.

We know you’ve been wondering . . . so here it is. This is what you told the mayor.

More Than 1,000 Survey Responses

While not all of you responded to every question, many of you gave more than one response to a single question. Note that Question #1 had more than 1,300 responses – although we received only 1,107 survey forms. Some commented that the questions were confusing or called for a response that did not reflect the true feelings of the respondent.

Not All WP Residents Received Survey

When asked, the Leary campaign said that one survey was mailed to each household in Winter Park – either electronically or by U.S. Postal Service. The campaign did not confirm or deny that all survey recipients lived in Winter Park. The Voice heard from a number of readers who live in Winter Park who did not receive surveys. The Voice does not know the total number of surveys mailed or how criteria for the mailing were established. We could not, therefore, determine the sample size or the demographic used.

City Doing a Good Job

Most of you who did respond think the tax structure is about right and that the City is doing a good job – especially the Police and Fire Departments. More than half of you expressed concern about over-development, traffic and congestion.

Comments Not Included

More than half of you responded “other” and added comments on the survey forms. Because of the individual nature of the comments, we were not able to tabulate them and have not included the comments in the results.

“Protect Winter Park”

The type of comment we saw most often is summed in this respondent’s plea to the new mayor: “Please – keep your campaign promises. Protect Winter Park’s uniqueness. Once it is gone – too late!”

But the devil is in the details, and the details are all here in the charts.



DPAC Donation Rankles

It’s Coming Around Again

DPAC Donation Rankles


As Budget Season approaches, the specter of nine more annual $100,000 contributions to Orlando’s Dr. Philips Performing Arts Center (DPAC) remains a bone of contention among Winter Parkers. At the June 9 Utilities Advisory Board (UAB) meeting, a group of citizens voiced their opposition to using the Utilities Fund for any portion of the City’s charitable contributions in the coming 2015-16 fiscal year. In Fiscal 2014-15, two-thirds of the City’s contributions to charitable organizations came from the Utilities Fund, and the Utilities Advisory Board members did not find out about it until April 2015 when they read it in the paper.

UAB member John Reker, who was rotating off the board after the June 9 meeting, spoke as a concerned citizen. He stated that utility rates are determined by the Cost of Service and said he does not believe it is appropriate to charge customers for anything other than the cost of delivering water and electricity.

Reker was replaced by former Commissioner Barbara DeVane, who was on the Commission when the City purchased the utilities company. At this meeting, DeVane said, “When we bought the utility, we promised the utility money would stay in the utility.”

According to the City website, the board’s mandate is to advise “the Mayor and City Commission on matters regarding the capital needs, rate structures and policies related to the operation of the city’s utilities system.” In other words, the UAB determines how much we pay for water and electricity, and they are responsible for all capital improvements to the system, like undergrounding.

How much we pay for our utilities determines how much is in the Utilities Fund to make repairs in the event of equipment failure or power outage, and how long it will take to complete the undergrounding process. The only money the utility company has comes from the rate-payers. Diversion of funds from the Utilities Fund necessarily hinders the performance of their charge.

The Winter Park City Charter states: “Transfer or use of collected sewer fee funds for other than sewer purposes must be approved by a voter referendum.” The City Charter was written in 1983, predating the City’s purchase of the utility company. At the time, the only utility Winter Park had was sewer. Since the Charter has not been updated to reflect the current situation, there is no current proscription on diverting electric or water revenues to the General Fund.

City Manager Randy Knight pointed out that the UAB operates solely as advisors and that only the City can spend money.  He went on to say, just because the City dipped into the Utilities Fund for the FY 2014-15 charitable contributions, that did not mean the City would utilize this fund in future years. Knight acknowledged that he was responsible for using the Utilities Fund for a portion of the charitable donations in last year’s budget, clearly subscribing to the “ask-forgiveness-not-permission” school of thought.

UAB Chair Katherine Johnson had prepared a draft memo titled “Proposed Guidance Regarding the Use of City of Winter Park’s Electric Utility and Water/Wastewater Revenues.” She stated that the board was “agnostic” on the subject of the individual donation recipients, but was concerned about the precedent it set. She told the Observer, “This raiding of the utility funds for other purposes is a problem that is systemic in other jurisdictions that I’m familiar with.”

She told the Voice that she wanted to ensure that the priority for the utility funds remains focused on long-term capital projects that will improve the safety and reliability of utility operations and that will benefit the utility’s customers.

“We already give 6 percent of the utility revenues to the City for the general fund,” said Johnson. “This past year they appropriated another quarter percent,” (amounting to approximately $175,000) “and the funds were redirected without the opportunity for a discussion among UAB members and City staff about the long-term impacts of this decision.”