What to know about the city budget this week
Contingency fund doubles to $1 million after new state contribution estimates
By Beth Kassab
An estimated $500,000 addition to the city’s contingency fund, which comes from the city’s share of state dollars along with local gas and communications taxes, could help the Winter Park City Commission balance next year’s more than $200 million budget — though an additional $18.1 million worth of projects must still find funding over the next five years.
Wednesday will mark the last City Commission meeting before the two final budget hearings September 13th and 27th.
Debate is likely to center on how to fulfill a number of priorities laid out by the commission. Those include:
- Mayor Phil Anderson has requested a new line item in the Community Redevelopment Agency’s budget devoted to stormwater and flood prevention projects. The exact dollar amount is still unknown because the city is just now hiring consultants to evaluate which infrastructure improvements are needed and when. Three consultants will be paid a combined $600,000 to study water runoff and flow. The mayor is pushing for some dollars to be included in the CRA budget now so that the most important projects can be tackled as soon as they are identified, rather than wait until the studies are complete.
- Vice Mayor Sheila DeCiccio is championing expanding offerings at the Winter Park Library with nearly $400,000 in additional funding that would allow the library to be open on Sundays and provide more programming. At least a portion of those dollars is also likely to come from the CRA, which includes the library.
- DeCiccio is also pushing for $150,000 for the city to hire a construction manager to help City Hall grow its in-house expertise, as a number of construction projects are underway. She is also asking for $75,000 to add a second Community Service Officer position to the Winter Park Police Department.
- Commissioner Marty Sullivan is advocating for $6 million to purchase land owned by the Bank of the Ozarks to expand Seven Oaks Park. It’s not clear where the dollars would come from, though some are advocating the city raise the money by selling the old Winter Park Library.
City staff have laid out multiple scenarios for how the local government can fund $100 million in transportation projects over the next 20 years, an estimated $20 million worth of stormwater improvements and two new fire stations.
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