Winter Park identifies new public works facility, transit and road improvements as budget priorities |

Winter Park identifies new public works facility, transit and road improvements as budget priorities

A new transit center planned at Cooper Creek in Winter Park will take over the space currently occupied by the town's ice skating rink.
Sky-Hi News file photo

WINTER PARK — The town of Winter Park is planning to make road improvements and construction and design for a public works facility and new transit center their top spending priorities for 2019.

Strong revenue numbers for this year means that the town will be able to invest in more expensive projects, such as the proposed $9.6 million public works facility, said town manager Keith Riesberg. The town anticipates over $9 million in total revenue, thanks in part to an almost 9 percent increase in sales tax revenues from last year.

“It’s a conservative approach to the budget,” Riesberg said. “It allows us to continue improving how we’re providing services to the town and to the visitors that come to Winter Park. It’s been a very strong financial position the town has had and we anticipate that will continue in the coming year.”

Aside from the public works facility, the town plans to invest $1.9 million in road improvement projects and $2.1 million in transit and trails projects, including funding for a new transit center at the Vasquez Street parking garage.

“That’s something I always like to highlight, that even though we have new construction and new projects coming online, there’s still an obligation to our existing residents to do improvements throughout the community,” Riesberg said.

The town anticipates sales, property and lodging taxes to continue increasing, as well as continued growth in real estate transfer taxes and building permit revenues. Anticipated increased expenses include personnel, debt service, technical services and the business enhancement grant program.

The debt service will increase as part of the certificate of participation (COP), or a type of lease-agreement, the town is planning to use to help pay for the public works facility.

“The facility has reached an end-of-life, it’s not very efficient in its current configuration, so that’s where we’re planning for the design and reconstruction of a new facility,” Riesberg said.

The town has used similar funding methods for Hideaway Place and the Vasquez Street parking garage.

Around $1.3 million in reserved funds will be used for affordable housing, including infrastructure projects at Hideaway Junction and continuing the Dimmit II employee housing project.

The Winter Park Town Council is scheduled to approve the budget at their Nov. 20 meeting.

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