Comp Plan Amendment Fails; City Takes Up FY 2015 Budget
Considers Funding Regional Arts Center
In an abrupt turnaround, the city commission acquiesced to city staff recommendations and citizen sentiment and voted unanimously to quash the proposed amendment to the Winter Park Comp Plan. The proposed change would have increased density of development on four-lane roads and eliminated parking garages from the calculation of allowable building size.
A standing-room-only crowd, most of them carrying the “indoor” version of the now familiar No Density signs, filled the chambers on the evening of August 25. As the proposed amendment came up for discussion, City Planning Director Dori Stone took the podium to articulate staff’s recommendation regarding the amendment. She stated, “Staff is recommending that we not adopt [the amendment] until we go through the visioning process.”
Commissioner Carolyn Cooper made a motion Not to Adopt; Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel seconded, and the motion Not to Adopt passed unanimously.
Commission Gets Down to the Nitty-Gritty Business of the City
After a break, the chambers cleared of yellow signs and the commission got down to the first episode of the city’s yearly reality show – The Budget. August 25 was the first of three commission meetings that will see discussions and, ultimately, finalization of the FY 2015 city budget.
There is good news in this budget – the millage rate is set to remain the same, as it has for the past seven years. It allocates substantial additional funds for tree purchases. And the city reserves are holding steady at about 30 percent.
New Funding Mechanism for Organizational Support
This year’s proposal includes a mechanism for funding organizational support, based on a quarter point revenue contribution from each of the three major funds: General Fund, Electric, and Water & Wastewater. Current estimates put the funding pool at approximately $294,500 – nearly double what has been provided in the past. The current budget proposal, however, allocates $257,000 for organizational support.
To date, the city has received requests from six organizations. The chart below shows the amount each organization requested and the amount the city proposes to allocate.
DPAC Scores Big
The Performing Arts Center referred to here is the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center (DPAC) in Orlando. Winter Park proposes to contribute $100,000 a year over the next 10 years, totaling $1 Million. This year’s $100,000 contribution represents approximately 39 percent of the total allocation for organizational support.
According to DPAC Communications Director Scott Bowman, the budget for DPAC now stands at $513 Million. Two-thirds of this money will come from public funds and a third from private donors. This regional facility will boast a 2,700-seat Broadway-type theater, a 1,700-seat acoustical theater and a 300-seat venue for smaller performances.
Winter Park is the only city so far to have offered a pledge of municipal funds to DPAC.
Will WP Kids & Orgs Play 2nd Fiddle to DPAC?
Since 25 percent of Winter Parkers’ taxes go to Orange County, according to Winter Park Communications Director Clarissa Howard, Winter Park’s $100,000-a-year organizational support contribution will not be the only Winter Park dollars DPAC will receive.
It is difficult to imagine what impact Winter Park’s $100,000-dollars-a-year will have on a $513 Million project. It is easier to envision the effect that an additional $100,000 a year over the next 10 years might have if it were spread among local organizations such as the Winter Park Day Nursery or the Winter Park Playhouse.
Future Commissions Hands Are Not Tied
Communications Director Clarissa Howard did confirm in an email to the Voice, “Although commission can plan for a 10-year, $100,000 funding to DPAC, they cannot commit future commissions to this funding amount. Every commission has the ability to approve the levels of funding they feel are needed at that time.”