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Appropriately Compassionate or a Knee-Jerk Reaction?

Fellow Winter Park Residents,

Please share with friends and neighbors.

Please send an email to [email protected] expressing your thoughts on this issue.

Tomorrow, with two days notice, our city commission and CRA board are each holding a “Special Meeting” where they will vote on commiting over $2,000,000 of our money for a local “response” to the COVID-19 pandemic. My letter to the commission on this subject is below. Please share your thoughts with them on this issue.

To Winter Park Mayor and Commissioners:

The notice for tomorrow’s scheduled “Special Meetings” (“is insufficient per statuteremoved 04.08.2020 per the comment below) is insufficient to allow the public to fully consider the proposed actions. At best, this meeting should be a “Work Session” with no commitments being voted on.

The sense of urgency is misplaced. The Federal and State governments are working hard to implement processes to provide very significant relief mandated by legislation and executive order. Let’s understand and help our residents and businesses navigate these in place government relief programs before we commit our taxpayer’s money to programs that may be unnecessary, unworkable, and duplicative.

Much of the proposed “response” spending is already available.

See: United Way/Community211
See: IRS/CoronaVirus
See: Florida Disaster Loans

Winter Park taxpayers contribute over $20,000,000 to Orange County coffers each year. Orange County is referring residents to the Federal and State programs already in place, as well as to local charities. The County has decided where the financial responsibility lies at this point. What is the justification for Winter Park taxpayer funds to be added to the financial burden for relief programs we all are paying for at the Federal and State level?

This is not how we should govern Winter Park and calling “Special Meetings” on short notice is certainly not a process we should use to commit taxpayer funds.

I suggest we back off the urge to “do something,” let the Federal and State programs come into better focus, see how they work and where the gaps are, and then thoughtfully consider reasoned alternatives for complimenting these pre-existing support programs.

The health and financial consequences of this pandemic are grave and impact every citizen, everywhere. Impulsively throwing taxpayer money at tragedy will not lessen the extent of the tragedy.

Let’s be thoughtful in our response of the appropriate role of charities, utilities, local, state, and federal government.

Regards, Pete Weldon

Posted in Money, Policy.


8 Responses

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  1. Adam Bert says

    How’s the money being spent?

  2. Rick Frazee says

    Pete
    I agree with you on this subject. Winter Park Commission needs to hold on to our tax dollars. There may be a good reason in the future but it’s not now.

  3. Pitt Warner says

    City of WP can’t print money. While this is not a lot of $ relative to cash balances, once you start dipping into reserves it’s hard to stop. I’d like to see the commission evaluate and monitor the situation. Things might get better and they may not. I’d recommend careful conservation of all city cash.

  4. Tom Kennedy says

    I agree that we should take a wait and see approach. Thank you Pete for bringing this to our attention!

  5. Peter Weldon says

    I corrected the language about meeting notice as it was incorrect. The Winter Park Charter allows for “Special Meetings” with 24 hour notice. See Charter 2.08 (a): https://library.municode.com/fl/winter_park/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTICHRELA_SPACH_ARTIILE_S2.08PR

  6. Bonnie Jackson says

    Completely agree with you Pete. All excellent points. Action should be based on specific need in order to both justify the action and target the action for the intended result. This appears to be motivated by emotion instead of logic. Not good government.

  7. Paul Newnum says

    I read the agenda, which seems pretty vague. A working session could help clarify that.