Commissioner Leary Confirms Womble’s Misleading Campaign

I exposed Sandy Womble’s mistatements weeks ago.

Ms. Womble recently sent out a campaign mailer that continues to double down on these falsehoods about Sarah Sprinkel’s votes and intentions regarding our street trees.

Now, City Commissioner Steven Leary has sent a message to clarify the facts. While Mr. Leary is appropriately impartial with regard to the individuals involved I have no such responsibility. As such, I urge you to vote on March 11 for Sarah Sprinkel.

Here is Mr. Leary’s message:

Friends,

Sandy Womble, a candidate for City Commission, recently sent out a mail piece in which I was sited.   The mailer would have you believe that a motion I made demonstrates a lack of commitment to the City’s management of the tree canopy.  This is not even close to being accurate.

By City Ordinance, homeowners are responsible for the maintenance of trees in the Rights-of-Way (ROW) in front of their homes.  Neither I, nor Commissioner Sprinkel, voted to approve this ordinance as it dates back to at least 2002, and City Staff believes it may extend back to 1952.  Some people and some campaign mailers may attempt to mislead you here. 

On January 13, 2014, this City Commission voted to approve (by a 4-1 vote), the first ever Urban Forestry Management Plan (UFMP).  The UFMP is incredibly important for the sustainability of one of our greatest assets; our tree canopy.  Improperly trimming trees and ignoring the issues of age, disease, lack of diversity, environmental impact and other forces which affect a tree(s) health and longevity, is not a plan.  Well it was over the past few decades, but not anymore because the majority of your current Commission voted to tackle the issue head on.

Ms. Womble is correct that I proposed to remove the language “City will implement, over time as the budget allows, ROW tree maintenance as a standard City service.”  What Ms. Womble leaves out is the next sentence from the minutes of that meeting “(the Commission requested that this item be defined/quantified/qualified and brought back to them).” 

The omitted sentence is important because it shows the reason for removal of this language was due to our inability at this time, to attach an expense to this service.  Commissioner Sprinkel and I have both been the leading voices to have the City manage the ROW trees, but only when we have “defined/quantified/qualified” the timing and expense and only if we can manage that expense.

The majority of this Commission have been excellent stewards of your tax dollars and protectors of your tree canopy.  As evidenced by our building our General Fund Reserve to close to 25% without ever raising taxes, and the passing of our first ever Urban Forestry Management Plan.  Winter Park, the City of Trees.  First EVER Urban Forestry Management Plan.  The term “Historic” is particularly hot this election cycle.  Well this document is truly Historic. 

I have no desire to engage in the race between Ms. Womble and Commissioner Sprinkel.  However I feel it necessary to provide context and clarity to this issue, lest there be any confusion.  It is important for you to be properly informed.  An informed constituency is critical.  A mis-informed constituency is a tragedy.  I will continue to make sure that you are properly informed.

Best – Steve

Don’t miss your opportunity to contribute to competent and responsible governance for Winter Park. Vote for Sarah Sprinkel on March 11.

Regards, Pete Weldon


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