WP Goes Virtual

Dry Run for Special Commission Meeting Monday, March 30

WP Goes Virtual

by Anne Mooney / March 27, 2020

Yesterday, March 26, from 5:00 to 6:30 pm, the Winter Park City Commission held its first Virtual Meeting – and probably the first meeting ever attended by all 7 past and present commissioners. And even with 7 Commissioners present, the meeting began and ended right on schedule.

Work Session on City Response to Coronavirus Lockdown

The meeting was a live-streamed Work Session on the City’s response to the coronavirus situation. Participating from home but visible and audible on computer screens across the City were Mayor Steve Leary, Commissioners Carolyn Cooper and Todd Weaver, soon-to-be-former-Commissioners Sarah Sprinkel and Greg Seidel, Commissioners-elect Sheila DeCiccio and Marty Sullivan and City Manager Randy Knight with key city staff.

Exec Order from Governor

The meeting was made possible by an Executive Order from Governor Ron DeSantis suspending the Florida statute that required a quorum to be present in person at a specific place. The Executive Order allows local governments to utilize media technology to hold meetings.

As with any Commission Work Session, there were no Commission votes or public comment.

Dry Run for Monday’s Commission Meeting

Yesterday’s Work Session was a dry run for a Special Commission Meeting Monday, March 30 at 5:00 pm. At that meeting, the Commission will vote and take public comment. If you missed last night’s meeting, you can tune in Monday at <cityofwinterpark.org/cclive>

Register in Advance to Participate

In order to participate, you must register in advance. Space is limited, so do not delay. Go to <cityofwinterpark.org> and click on Access Virtual Commission Meeting Live Video Broadcast & Instructions. You will find all the information you need to register and participate.

Public Comment Will Be Taken Monday

Public comment will be taken at the 5:00 pm hour, as usual. You can comment in advance of the meeting by emailing mayorandcommissioners@cityofwinterpark.org  Emailed comments will become part of the record, but will not be read aloud. You can also comment by phone, and your comment will be recorded and will be audible on the live stream. The public comment line, which will be activated Monday at 5:00 pm, is 407-599-3410. Live comments will be monitored in accordance with City standards of decorum.

Meanwhile, although City Hall is closed to the public, the City itself is Open for Business.

Police and Fire-Rescue Departments are at full staffing. The Police Department reports a decline in criminal activity and calls for service, due to fewer people being on the streets.

Fire Chief Dan Hagedorn reported that, as of yesterday, there were 2,235 reported COVID19 cases in Florida, with one fatality. Two cases have been reported in Winter Park – one is a resident and one a non-resident. Emergency crews who transported these patients to the hospital are on 14-day quarantine as a precaution, but are showing no symptoms.

Parks & Recreation Director Jason Seeley reported that the March 13 order of a 10-person-group limit marked the drawdown of City recreational programs. Playgrounds are now closed, but open spaces such as Central Park and Mead Botanical Garden are open, with social distancing required. Monday’s Commission meeting will likely see decisions to close the Dinky Dock boat ramp and the Winter Park Golf Course. Citizens may enjoy continued lake access from their private docks.

Infrastructure departments such as the Electric Utility, Water & Waste Water, Code Enforcement and the Building Department are open and active.

City Budget

In his discussion of the budget, City Manager Randy Knight acknowledged that the City anticipates a drop in revenue, but said it is difficult to tell at this early stage how great or small that will be or how long it will last. Knight said he does not anticipate cutting essential services for residents. He plans to present the Commission with a revised budget for this Fiscal Year.

City Assistance to Residents & Businesses

Utility cutoffs for non-payment have been suspended, and staff is working on programs to assist residents and businesses with utility payment plans. City Staff will work with the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce to help local businesses apply for loans and other financial assistance. Restaurants are allowed to offer takeout and delivery services.

City staff is working to develop virtual programs for youth and seniors. The City is considering creating a micro-loan program for businesses in the CRA. And the City Manager is looking into acquiring Federal assistance available to state and local governments.

 

DeCiccio & Sullivan Win Commission Seats

10 Charter Amendments Approved

DeCiccio & Sullivan Win Commission Seats

by Anne Mooney / March 18, 2020

 

Sheila DeCiccio & Marty Sullivan

Well, it’s over for another year, but newly elected Commissioners Marty Sullivan (Seat #1) and Sheila DeCiccio (Seat #2) will not take their seats on the dais March 23, as that Commission meeting has been cancelled because of the current health crisis. Here’s hoping April will see us return to normal.

Thanks to Blydenburgh and Creasman

Our City owes a debt of gratitude to the four candidates and their supporters who worked so hard in this race. To Carl Creasman and Jeffrey Blydenburgh, we appreciate your engagement in our community and your willingness to serve, and we look forward to your ongoing contributions as our City continues to go about its work.

Poll Results – Commission Races

As of February 20, Winter Park has 22,366 registered voters. Of those, 8,610 – or 38.5 percent – cast their votes. Not every voter voted for every ballot item, however. Apparently, there were around 600 voters who voted only in the Presidential Primary and declined to participate in the local races. In the races for the two Commission seats, for instance, fewer than 8,000 cast votes.

For Commission Seat #1, Marty Sullivan received 4,360 votes and Jeffrey Blydenburgh received 3,519, for a total of 7,986 votes cast. Votes not cast, called “under votes,” totaled 624.

For Commission Seat #2, Sheila DeCiccio garnered 5,415 votes to Carl Creasman’s 2,366, for a total of 7,989, with 627 under votes.

Ballot Amendment Results

All Charter Amendments passed except one. Question #9, on whether the City Auditor Contract Term should go from three to five years, failed by a decisive margin – 4,442 to 2,712.

The Charter Amendment questions fared even worse than Commission races in number of votes cast. Although this is only conjecture, it looks like voters may have simply gotten bored with the exercise as they began going down the list of Charter Amendment questions. Question #1, which established the use of gender-neutral language throughout the Charter, drew 7,785 votes. That number declined steadily, so that by Question #11, only 6,977 people cast votes.

For a detailed breakdown of votes on the Commission races and the City Charter Amendments, go to https://cityofwinterpark.org/government/city-info/election-info/

Winter Park – Coronoavirus Update

Winter Park – Coronoavirus Update

by Anne Mooney / March 17, 2020

The City has issued a list of closings and cancellations effective immediately, as it continues to monitor the status of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease.

City Hall and Facilities Closed to the Public

Effective immediately, City Hall and City facilities are closed until further notice. City services and assistance will remain available by phone or email.

The Public Safety Building at 500 N. Virginia Ave., Fire Station #62 on Lakemont and Fire Station #64 on Howell Branch Rd. are closed to visitors, except for emergencies.

The Saturday Winter Park Farmers Market is suspended until further notice.

Recreational facility closures include the Community Center, Cady Way Pool, Showalter Stadium, the Winter Park Golf Course and the Azalea Lane Tennis Center. Public parks and playgrounds and greenspaces will remain open. Please practice social distancing protocol by keeping a space of at least six feet between you and others not in your household.

Events and Gatherings Cancelled

The March 23 City Commission meeting is cancelled. Future Commission meetings will be announced as they are scheduled.

City Advisory Board Meetings are cancelled until further notice.

All events and gatherings of more than ten people are cancelled or postponed until further notice.

Recreational programming and events for youth, adults and seniors are cancelled until further notice.

Public Safety Facilities and Services

Winter Park Fire & Rescue service will continue to provide fire and EMS services. Winter Park Police Department will operate normally with modified non-emergency responses. For more information, call 407-644-1313.

Utility Customers

Although utility statements and due dates remain on schedule, the City understands that some customers may experience unavoidable financial difficulty during this period and has suspended the disconnection for non-payment policy until further notice.

For billing questions, call 407-599-3220; for outage and service issues call 877-811-8700.

Restaurants and Bars

A recent Executive Order by Gov. Ron DeSantis requires all Florida bars and nightclubs to close for 30 days, effective today. Restaurants are required to remain below 50 percent occupancy. As this creates considerable hardship for City businesses, the City is working with the Chamber of Commerce to help. Go to the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce website to check out curbside food pickup and home delivery options from our local restaurants.

Building Permits & Services Online

Although City Hall is closed to the public, Building & Permitting Services will be reviewing plans submittals and issuing permits electronically at permits@cityofwinterpark.org  Inspectors will continue on a case-by-case basis. You can schedule inspections online at <Epay> or call 407-599-3350.

Stay Informed

Information regarding the spread of the coronavirus and the COVID19 disease changes daily, please remain informed using the following resources.

cdc.gov/COVID19

cityofwinterpark.org

Facebook.com/WinterParkEmergencyInfo

twitter.com/winterparkfla

OUTREACH – sign up for the City’s emergency notification system

nexdoor.com – sign up for your neighborhood information

winterparkvoice.com for the latest from the City.

 

Stay safe – and stop hoarding the toilet paper.

 

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