Phil Anderson wants to be Winter Park Mayor. He recently sent an email with the subject, “Phil Anderson Will NOT Raise WP Taxes.” To understand why he sent this, we need to go back to 2008 when as commissioner Phil Anderson voted to increase the tax rate. The formal vote was 3 to 2 to keep the tax rate the same as 2007. That wasn’t acceptable to Phil, so he called a “Special Meeting” 3 days later to urge a tax increase, which passed 3 to 2 as one commission member changed their vote. So, Phil, in fact, has a history of raising your taxes. He also voted to raise utility rates and voted for a $75 fee to use our dog park (see page 6).
Phil’s email also claims our current strong reserve balances are due “in large part to actions I took as City Commissioner from 2008-2011.” This is disingenuous as Phil knows each commission approves spending and reserve balances for each year. That is, he knows he has nothing to do with the increase in our General Fund reserves from $9.5 million when he left office in 2011 to $16.8 million as of September 30, 2020. (Note that our current commission just voted a spending spree that lowers these reserves to $14.0 million, see below.)
This is all especially relevant because Jennifer and Phil Anderson promoted, and financed current commission members Todd Weaver, Marty Sullivan, and Sheila DeCiccio. These commissioners also wanted to raise taxes, voting to raise the tax rate 11.5% in July 2020. They later backed off when hundreds of “No Winter Park Tax Increase” signs appeared on front lawns of Winter Park voters.
Commission members Weaver, Sullivan, and DeCiccio bring Phil Anderson’s judgment into question.
- Voted to increase the property tax rate 11.5%.
- Voted to “rescind” the Orange Avenue Overlay, changing our Comprehensive Plan in violation of our laws, resulting in legal action against the city (search for case number: 2020-CA-004388-O).
- Spent several hundred thousand dollars for consultants for additional Orange Avenue traffic studies and to plan a design they like for the city owned Progress Point property on Orange Avenue. Their plan has no professional planning input and they offer no strategic justification for it, nor clarify who they expect will pay for implementation (you?).
- Sullivan and DeCiccio recently voted to spend $2,800,000 from our emergency reserves outside the annual budget process with no planning and they tried to hide the expense by “borrowing” the money from our water and sewer emergency reserves.
- Insisted on a “back yard chicken” ordinance. Do you want chickens in your neighborhood?
- Voted to diminish our city’s sovereignty by committing Winter Park’s support to an unaccountable state mandated planning agency.
- They are now considering spending millions of dollars to buy land on Fairbanks to “improve traffic” without having any idea whether traffic will improve or not.
- …and there is more…
These people may be polite company outside the political arena but, based on first hand experience, they impulsively waste our money and respond to narratives rather than address the substance of policy issues. I would not engage Phil Anderson, Todd Weaver, Marty Sullivan, or Sheila DeCiccio to oversee anything. I want leaders with proven judgment and character to lead Winter Park. Fortunately, the other candidate for Mayor is highly qualified and offers rational governance.
Regards, Pete Weldon