Winter Park Perspective Commentary by Pete Weldon Sun, 06 Mar 2022 12:53:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Commission Achieves Record Spending! Thu, 03 Mar 2022 22:13:04 +0000 The latest issue of the Winter Park Update is a PR masterpiece. We now spend almost $1 million each year to promote the city and the “achievements” of the city commission. I can’t compete with a million dollar PR budget but I can offer a more sober assessment of the “achievements.” This commission has spent or committed over $25 million of new spending, just in the past year. Add to this another $10 million in new electric fees to fulfill their sense of aesthetics and the $12-15 million they project to build a new building for the US Postal Service. Sensible people would think they might demonstrate a bit more respect for the tax […]

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Stop the Electric Service Line Vanity Project Mon, 21 Feb 2022 19:17:20 +0000 Please ask your city commission again to reverse their vote to impose an electric rate increase to be effective April 1st. They next meet Wednesday, February 23rd at 3:30 PM. They avoided the issue at their last meeting in spite of your prior emails, and there are only three more meetings before April. After further analysis of this 8% rate increase it becomes clear this is a vanity project at the expense of all residential rate payers, including renters, those living in low income housing, and the many thousands of homeowners who already paid to underground their service line. Those interested in more detail should read these emails to commission members DeCiccio and Anderson, […]

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Am I Against Progress Point Park at Denning and Orange Avenues? Wed, 16 Feb 2022 14:23:39 +0000 This question was asked of me in a Facebook post and is worthy of a complete response. I think Progress Point Park would be a great idea if it had a point. They should have named it “Pointless Park” and here is why. Think of Park Avenue and Hannibal Square where there are apartments and condos housing people who frequent the retail, restaurant, and service providers in those areas. What pulls it all together and makes these areas a civic and financial success? The answer is Central Park and Shady Park, providing the open and green space that adds value to living in and visiting these areas. What is the value of Progress Point […]

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Resident Electric Bills to Rise 8% Wed, 02 Feb 2022 15:19:24 +0000 The city commission just approved an average 8% increase effective April 1 for all residential electric customers for the foreseeable future. They did this to pay to underground those private residential electric service lines on private property not already undergrounded. Every residential customer is to pay the added fee, including renters, low income housing residents, and the roughly 65% of residential electric customers who already paid to have their service line undergrounded. The annual increase in the average electric bill will be about $170.00. If your residence already has its local service line undergrounded, you will be paying again to benefit those who have not yet undergrounded their service line. Click here to tell […]

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Insights on the Charter Amendments Thu, 13 Jan 2022 16:33:30 +0000 I offer insights into the proposed Charter Amendments below and recommend a NO VOTE on all of them. The Winter Park City Charter has required a simple majority of the commission to approve all laws, 3 of 5 members, at least since 1915. The current commission is proposing six charter amendments for the March 8, 2022 city election, five of which if passed would require “Supermajority” votes to pass certain changes, 4 of 5 members. That is, a minority of 2 of the 5 members would be able to block passage. Charter proposals historically come from an appointed, independent Charter Review Task Force, which was not done in this case. When considered as a […]

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Winter Park Needs Real Governance Wed, 15 Dec 2021 20:43:56 +0000 The problem with narratives is that they don’t reflect reality. Making city policy based on narratives is unwise as it wastes human and financial capital, while also having significant opportunity cost. Our current commission is more interested in narratives than governance. I understood we had a problem when shortly after their election in March 2020, two members of the Winter Park City Commission sent city wide emails expressing empathy for the “victims of racism and police violence” in reaction to the national media narrative about the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. While empathy is nice, these commissioners used their public authority to throw Winter Park police officers under the bus. The Winter Park […]

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Performance Without An Audience Sat, 04 Dec 2021 18:58:31 +0000 Please see earlier posts about the redo of the Orange Avenue Overlay (OAO) codes. Well, they are almost done redoing the Orange Avenue Overlay (OAO) codes after almost two years of tortuous detailed consideration by five amateur city planners otherwise known as the Winter Park City Commission. (Oh Pete, can’t you be nice?) They consumed nearly two years of our planning department’s manpower on this as well. Keep in mind there is no audience. No private interests have come forward to invest within the OAO area exactly because the new codes are not worth investing in. The commission endlessly nit picked the codes and even created a new city board, the Orange Avenue Overlay […]

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Another $15,000,000 Down the Drain? Fri, 05 Nov 2021 19:42:43 +0000 The current commission is not only spending our money unwisely (see links below), they are also devaluing city property while adding to our tax burden. We own approximately 4 acres at the corner of Orange Avenue and Denning Drive (a.k.a., Progress Point). We own the former library site and building, 1.75 acres at New England Avenue and Chase Avenue. We own the city hall site and building, 2.81 acres at 401 S. Park Ave. We don’t know the market value of these properties as the commission has declined to seek formal appraisals and failed to invite private interest in these properties. The best information we have is the estimated market value from the Orange […]

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?Buy the Post Office Property for $15,000,000? Wed, 20 Oct 2021 13:36:44 +0000 Please contact the Winter Park City Commission and tell them to stop their current effort to buy the 2 acre USPS property on New York Avenue for an estimated cost of $15,000,000 or initiate a voter referendum to accept or reject their plan. When the US Postal Service is ready to sell its land on New York avenue, the city can leverage the public use zoning and acquire the property at a fair market value via eminent domain. Why is the city commission trying to pay $15,000,000 for the land now when the latest formal appraisal is less than $2,000,000? The commission’s plan is to move the post office out of downtown, giving the […]

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Orange Avenue Overlay Failure Wed, 13 Oct 2021 20:31:55 +0000 When the current commission killed the original OAO codes in March 2020, I noted that their effort to revise the OAO codes was a performance without an audience. Well, they have now spent 18 months in seclusion from their constituents, completing a revised set of Orange Avenue codes that do nothing but spend more of our money on a superfluous park that will not be used. Further, no private investment is expected in the corridor. A recent video from former Mayor Steve Leary and three involved citizens confirms the current commission does not have a representative perspective. That is, they represent only their personal biases and dogmas, not the people of Winter Park. Please […]

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