Wellington Council To Discuss Community Center Design July 14

The Wellington Village Council plans to discuss the design of the new Wellington Community Center during its meeting Tuesday, July 14.

Councilman Matt Willhite questioned the final design at the council’s last meeting, saying it did not look like what they had originally approved.

Willhite said the final design looks “institutional,” with a planned back patio overlooking Lake Wellington mostly removed, square footage reduced and amenities including a stage no longer in the plans, apparently due to cost-cutting attempts.

The discussion is not expected to delay construction of the new building, which is targeted for completion in the spring or summer of 2016.

Demolition of the old building began last month. Current plans for the new two-story, 26,000-square-foot facility call for an Internet lounge, three multi-purpose rooms for weddings and events, a fitness room, a conference room, a room for arts and crafts, a baby/tots classroom and a warming kitchen.

Also next Tuesday, the council is scheduled to approve a preliminary Truth in Millage (TRIM) ad valorem property tax rate of 2.45 mills for the next fiscal year. The rate is the same as last year, but above the rollback rate of 2.24 mills.

The council will also consider approving the same Acme Improvement District drainage assessment rate as last year of $230 per unit, and an assessment of $140 for curbside solid waste disposal and $105 for containerized service, which is $20 less than the current rate of $160 and $125, respectively.

Consideration of the final recommendations from the Charter Review Task Force is also on the agenda. The task force forwarded six questions to the council for consideration to be put on the March 15, 2016 ballot.

The first question is whether to allow a simple majority vote to approve council compensation. The original charter requires at least a 4-1 supermajority vote.

The second question asks whether council vacancies should be filled in the same manner as mayoral vacancies. The current charter treats the filling of mayoral and council vacancies differently. The proposed amendment would fill all vacancies by providing that they not be filled if less than 180 days remain in the term, and require a special election if 180 days or more remain. The question also provides that the vice mayor will serve as mayor until a new mayor is elected.

The third question asks whether the requirement for calling special meetings should be changed. The charter currently allows the mayor, or in his absence, the vice-mayor, or a majority of council members to call a special meeting upon 72 hours’ notice. The proposed amendment would require notice of special meetings in accordance with Florida law, which only calls for “reasonable notice.”

The fourth question asks if a provision in the charter should be removed that allows for a referendum if the adopted millage rate exceeds 5 mills. The task force determined that as written, that charter provision is unenforceable. While originally intended to keep the tax rate low, such a referendum would be without effect and could result in a waste of taxpayer money, the task force concluded, and Florida Statutes and the charter already provide other means to challenge the tax rate.

The fifth question asks whether the schedule for transition from an independent special district to a municipality should be removed, since the process has now been completed.

The sixth question would provide for inclusion of the Equestrian Preserve Area in the charter. The original charter makes no reference to the Equestrian Preserve Area, since it did not exist at the time. The proposed amendment would permit landowners to apply to be voluntarily included in the preserve upon a majority vote by the council, but would prohibit removal of properties from the preserve area without a supermajority vote.

The council can also add referendum questions of its own choosing.


ABOVE: With demolition work on the old Wellington Community Center nearly complete, work is underway to prepare the site for a new building to be completed next year.


  1. Charter Review Questions:

    #1 Vote NO! Keep the Super Majority vote needed for self approved rai$e$ by council members. Do not make it ‘easier’ for them to continue raising their salaries. Make ‘Service To The Village’ the reason for running for office, not an easily increasing Salary base.

    #2 Vote YES! ….There should Also be a policy put in place as to how to make appointments to Council by a sitting Council. This past Council ‘appointment’ was a fiasco with Councilmen Greene and Willhite thumbing their noses to the Council’s agreed upon process of ‘rank voting’ Greene and Willhite refused to rank other contenders for the available Council seat of Howard Coates. Those 2 only gave points to John McGovern while Gerwig and Margolis followed the agreed upon procedure. Gerwig and Margolis should have immediately spoken up about the violation of agreement.

    And If Willhite gave indication to Attorney Cohen prior to the voting that he would not be following the ranking procedure there should have been clarification before voting/ranking began. How did Greene ‘know’ he could vote for just 1 person and not rank others? At least Willhite asked Cohen about it.

    (And Council members wonder why the Wellington public is untrusting of the current council.)

    #3 Vote NO! Keep the 72 hour notification. The Wellington residents have been fooled to many times by this current Council. There is just no trust.
    Exclusive contract for a horse park on Kpark land, violation of voting procedure for Council appointment, not informing public of deficits of Bink’s Golf Course, leasing of Village Green park land for Low Income housing thereby making Kpark land needed for more open playing athletic fields, instead of planned park like setting. NO TRUST in Council!

    #4 Vote YES! There is no truth as to the true taxation in Wellington. This Council needs to share and continually keep the Wellington public informed of the cost of Fire and Policing in the Village to give the residents a true picture of the cost of living here. We also pay more in education taxation than ALL the rest of the county residents. (Let’s not forget that the School Board is seriously thinking for asking for MORE money. That would be a triple taxation!)

    #5 Vote YES! It’s already occurred.

    #6 Vote YES! The Equestrian Preserve is an important part of the Village.
    (If the Equestrian Committee is so concerned about the paving of roads in the Preserve, they need to work on rescinding the policy which allows it.)

    #7 And YES! the Village Manager Should live in Wellington. (Has anyone noticed that Jim Barnes is salivating when talk of the Village Manager’s contract keeps coming up? He is SO obvious! Keep Schofield, it’s the Council which is difficult. Willhite is such a micro-manager, controller.

    Wellingoton Civic Center:
    Make sure the railings are removed from the ‘deck, porch’ facing Lake Wellington and glass panels are installed so that the view is uninterrupted.

    Willhite was on top of it for reviewing and bringing the current WCC architectural plan changes to the attention of the rest of the Council. The appointees to the Architectural Committee need to be more demanding. They are too flexible.

    The other 4 Council members needs to WAKE UP! Willhite initiates, the rest of Council just reacts.

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