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On Monday at 4:00 PM the Mayor and Commissioners will hold a workshop on the request to form the Ravaudage Community Development District. A vote on this request must take place by April 8th, as there will be no opportunity for public input at Monday’s meeting. As the Mayor and Commission consider the Ravaudage Community Development District, they need to consider the impact, long term and potential challenges in its approval.

Many developments in Winter Park and Central Florida have been successful without CDD’s, so a question: Would the development be successful or be able to obtain the financing to complete without this? A commitment to this developer now will set a precedent others may expect.

There are 600 CDD’s in Florida which have issued $6.5 billion in Municipal Bonds to finance their infrastructure. Of the 600, 168 or 28% have defaulted on $5.1 billion or 78% of the bonds. Consider the track record of the developer requesting the CDD in Winter Park – a record which includes foreclosure, unfinished or partially completed projects. (Source: Florida Community Development District Report)

No one can convince me that the development of 48 acres will not require additional city services and infrastructure. You as commissioners have already taken on that obligation though annexation. The developer, investors, present and future owners should not benefit or be underwritten by the rest of the property owners and taxpayers of Winter Park.

Just reading Governor Scott’s Executive Order Number 12-10 (Review of Special Districts) http://www.floridacddreport.com/Scott.pdf is enough of a red flag for me.

Many folk in the City of Winter Park wonder and some believe that the developers of projects in Winter Park get what they want from the City and Commissioners; there is a history of Winter Park approving projects which we were later on sorry we approved, and in some cases paid millions to undo.

Development should be able to stand on its own and if planned and done well benefits all. The City of Winter Park has no business being a “partner” in development when the potential for benefit is to the developer and not the City. I can only hope that the Mayor and City Commissioners have the courage to do the right thing: Deny the application for the Ravaudage Community Development District. Developers and development, especially in the City of Winter Park should not be funded or underwritten by its citizens and taxpayers.

Jack Miles

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