Wellington Might Raise Drainage Assessments

The Village of Wellington might add a $100 per unit annual assessment to residents in the Acme Improvement District to fund what council members said are much-needed drainage upgrades.

Council members voted Tuesday to allow staff to proceed with the process of amending the district’s water control plan.

Village Engineer Bill Riebe told council members that the changes would add several capital improvement projects to the water control plan, including raising Forest Hill and South Shore boulevards.

“This only affects residents of Wellington who own property within the Acme Improvement District,” he said.

The district spans most of the original areas of Wellington, west of State Road 7 and east of Flying Cow Road.

The assessment would bring Wellington a revenue increase of approximately $2.4 million a year. The projects, which will be built over 12 years, are estimated to cost $29.3 million.

Since Tropical Storm Isaac dropped nearly 18 inches of rain on the western communities two years ago, Wellington has been working to improve its drainage system. “We can only discharge so much into the regional system,” Riebe said.

With changes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps that put parts of Wellington in a flood zone, Riebe noted the drive to improve drainage became even greater.

“So far we’ve been successful in our attempts to provide more information and update the proposed maps,” he said, noting that some of the organization’s information dates back to the early 1990s and did not include recent improvements.

Though residents will likely see a rise in flood insurance premiums, they will hopefully not be as drastic as in other parts of the state.

Councilman Howard Coates noted that by increasing the Acme assessments, residents aren’t guaranteed to have a decrease in flood insurance premiums.

Village Manager Paul Schofield said these changes are a means to an end.

“It’s a part of the process that gets us there,” he said. “The original FEMA maps were based on old data. We’re going to get credit for the mitigation work we plan to do. It’s things like raising Forest Hill and South Shore and providing additional storage in canals that will help. This is one step in a series toward mitigation.”

He said the assessment will not directly affect flood insurance premiums, but could help keep costs down.

“Through these improvements, we will still see flood insurance rates go up, but not like other communities are seeing,” Schofield said.

During public comment, several residents spoke against the assessment increase.

“I’m opposed to increasing the taxes on our properties because we had one 100-year storm,” resident Carlos Arellano said. “We had five days under water, and the rest of the year we were fine. I don’t see the need to spend this money to raise our taxes.”

Resident Gil Hallenbeck was not happy about the increase. “It’s not an assessment, it’s a tax,” he said, pointing out that Wellington recently agreed to spend $12 million to move its tennis center and rebuild the Wellington Community Center. “You agreed to spend that money when not one person came up here and asked for it to be moved. You’re spending $12 million to build tennis in a place no one wants it… If you have to do this, why don’t you borrow money? You do nothing but crap all over the horse people.”

Councilman Matt Willhite noted that the assessment increase comes out to about 27 cents per day. He said Wellington is sorely in need of drainage upgrades because it doesn’t benefit from a curb and gutter system like other municipalities.

“We base our water storage on swales,” he said. “About two years ago we began our swale maintenance program. The water that comes off the road has to go somewhere, and if the swales aren’t maintained, it goes back into the road. We had to cut and regrade all our swales, and at the rate we’re doing it, we’ll be doing it for a long time.”

He made a motion to approve the resolution, which passed unanimously.


  1. Hallenbeck you are the perfect example that Socrates wrote about “Talking Cabbage Heads”. Shout to hear yourself. Embarrassing yourself.
    We, Tennis Players filled the Council Chamber, last year. We had standing room only. We supported our Tennis Program and our Program Director for this expansion and relocation. I didn’t see or hear you at those meetings. Get your facts straight.
    Plus, we residents pay reasonable taxes unlike you (equestrians with Ag Exemptions). Equestrians need to pay your fair share and support the community. We want the drainage improvements.
    Lastly, Gerwig has not earned her place to be Vice Mayor. Seniority nor Tradition earns a darn thing but competency does.

    • Tennis player 2 needs to take remedial reading lessons. In the Town Crier article written by Laureen Miro on May 17, 2013 the following statement appeared. I am quoting this verbatim from the article “During public comment, residents and tennis players asked council members to either keep the existing site or move it only to the site behind the Hampton Inn. No one spoke in favor of moving to Village Walk.” Who is right. Tennis Player 2 or the Town Crier. My money is on the Town Crier.
      As far a the equestrians paying their fair share. The Equestrian Community, unlike the tennis community, payed with private money for all their facilities. Unlike the tennis community they pay property taxes on those facilities. The Equestrian Community puts money into the community.
      The Equestrian Community last week had The US Open at its Polo Facility. Can Tennis Player2 let us know when Wellington has the US Open at one of its facilities.
      As far as Tennis Player 2’s comment on the only women member of the council. Tennis Player 2 sounds just like the three MCP’s on the council.
      Heck you just might be one of those members. Why don’t you quit hiding behind your computer and let us know who your are?

  2. TennisPlayer2 should read the article and get its facts correct.
    The article stated I said the following to the council “You agreed to spend that money when not one person came up here and asked for it to be moved.” TennisPlayer2 then agreed that what I said was correct when TennisPlayer2 said, talking about how no one showed up to support the Tennis facility “Hence, we didn’t show up to speak” TennisPlayer2 like other residents didn’t show up to support the move, which would leave someone to believe no one, with the exception of the three MCP’s on the council wanted to move the facility.
    I feel I treated the three MCP’s on the council with a lot more respect then they treated the only women on the council when they deprived her of her proper place on the council.

  3. That is a VERY HEFTY TAX INCREASE! Rather float a bond and pay off the cost than have such an outrageous increase to everyone’s taxes. That tax increase would never go away. It would on going!

    There absolutely needs to be more headlines about this increase in taxes.

    A 2016 election will rid the council of those who support such an exhorbitant increase.

    Of course, if you are a council person who can afford a half million dollar plu$ hou$e, or if you have a multimillionaire helping to fund your lifestyle, a tax increase of this size won’t matter.

    It’s just the ‘little people’ who will be feeling the tax increase.

    Here in Wellington, we’re already paying double school taxation, while other wealthy municipalities-Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach, Manalapan, etc- just pay the regular school taxes and still have good schools.

    The wrong people are in elected office, here in Wellington.

  4. Hallenbeck was completely wrong with his facts and acted disrespectfully to our Council.
    Our Tennis Community love our new facility and its new location. The majority of us (Tennis Players) did not speak out against it because we support it!!! We did not support the self minded individuals who tried to keep it at the present location. Hence, we didn’t show up to speak against them. We chose to ignore them and their quest.
    Hallenbeck get your facts before you speak and don’t speak for us.

    PS: We also support the Council regarding the Drainage Improvements. All for one and one for all. A better Wellington for all.

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