Gerwig Talks Wellington’s Future At Chamber Lunch

The Wellington Chamber of Commerce hosted newly elected Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig as guest speaker at its luncheon Wednesday, April 20 at the Wanderers Club.

“It really is such a privilege to be here and speak to you as your mayor,” Gerwig said. “I’ve sat through a few of these addresses, and they’ve always been very good. What I didn’t know is that the staff really does help us prepare for this.”

Wellington recently celebrated its 20th anniversary of incorporation, reaching the status of fifth-largest municipality in Palm Beach County, with a population of more than 60,000 full-time residents, Gerwig noted.

Wellington’s mission statement includes providing high-quality services that create economic, environmental and social sustainability for residents to have a great hometown with great neighborhoods, schools and parks.

The government, Gerwig explained, is a council/manager form of government where the village manager acts as a CEO, with the mayor and council acting as the board of directors, establishing procedures that the staff carries out. The village manager and village attorney are the only two employees hired directly by the council.

The newly seated council, Gerwig said, is young. In fact, she is the oldest at 52. Being on the council, she explained, is a major commitment.

“Nobody does this for the money. We really don’t. It’s really done by people who care about their community,” Gerwig said. “I certainly didn’t do it for the $42 bonus.”

Council members are paid $800 a month, and the mayor receives an additional $42.

The economy has been improving, she said, reporting that the village is on firm financial ground, with a balanced 2016 budget of $85.45 million, an increase of $8.5 million from last year, and an unchanged tax rate of $2.45 per $1,000 in assessed value.

The village is using tax money to invest in its neighborhoods, through projects such as the 120th Avenue South paving and improvements, a school crossing at Lake Worth Road and 120th Avenue, the Aero Club pathway, sidewalks on Huntington Drive, a village-wide traffic-calming pilot program and the realignment of Pierson Road.

Wellington also recently opened the new Wellington Tennis Center, and the new Wellington Community Center is projected to open in July. The village’s water treatment facility, which manages 1.6 billion gallons of wastewater per year, is also set for expansion.

In the next five years, Gerwig said that there will be a focus on water supply, flood control and water quality.

“Looking ahead, our guiding principle will be to maintain stable tax and assessment rates that do not track upward simply because property values climb,” she said.

Maintaining strong neighborhoods in Wellington increases the quality of life. Neighborhood walk and talks, along with neighborhood cleanups, she said, are part of the targeted efforts to help keep neighborhoods strong, along with giveaways and special events that help engage the community.

While a number of new communities will be springing up north and west of Wellington, Gerwig does not see them as competition.

“I think the Wellington brand is so unique that I don’t think there is anything that people want, the way that they want to be a part of Wellington,” she said.

While Wellington doesn’t control its public schools directly, it does help them along, Gerwig said, noting that Wellington is the only municipality to give a $25,000 grant to its schools specifically to help low-performing students. Many of the grants have been used for tutors and programs for these students.

“What it does is make our community that much more attractive to young families,” she said.

A review of census data projects that seniors are growing substantially. Senior programming, Gerwig said, is focusing on healthcare, financial help, housing and transportation for seniors. Several programs and grants are available to seniors, including grants to increase accessibility.

Wellington is near buildout, Gerwig said, with shifting demographics and demand patterns. Developing broader outreach programs, she said, will help with shifting needs.

Online budget challenges, surveys, e-mails and meetings are all ways that the community can interact with the council. “We really want you to come out to every meeting,” Gerwig said.

In the next five years, Gerwig said, the village will be focusing on the Equestrian Preserve Area, neighborhood sustainability, the State Road 7 corridor, the medical arts district, golf courses, the business environment, business recruitment and more.

She noted that board and committee appointments are coming up at the next council meeting. Anyone interested can apply online at

Wellington is working to meet the needs of residents today while making responsible choices to ensure the future tomorrow, Gerwig said.

“Everyone who works in or around our village, on behalf of myself and the rest of the village council, I want to thank you for your dedicated service, and I’m certain that working together in 2016 will continue to make Wellington one of the best places to live, work and play in Florida,” Gerwig concluded.


  1. A Rubric should be established so that there is a fair method of improvements in the Village. It seems that the Equestrian Area gets the full attention of the Village, along with the troublesome areas of Wellington. HOAs also add a protection to only 50% of the Wellington communities and there are the other 50% of older single family areas that have no HOA and appear to have been ignored by the Village and Council. It’s a fend for yourself attitude. There is no HOA to raise a stink. It is now time to focus on these older single family areas which lack any representation.

    Beautification of the oldest single family areas in Wellington should begin in earnest and it should start with the OLDEST sections of single family neighborhoods, not where friends, family, staff or Council may live! It’s time to build entry markers/walls (like those erected recently in Paddock Park 1) but with professional landscaping and solar lighting, fancy street lights at those entry points and with an additional investment in upscale black-backed Signage (stop signs, etc) throughout theses areas much like ones that are seen in more upscale communities and in nearby Isla Verde (BestBuy,Chipolte) Shopping Center.
    In addition, new quality street name markers should be installed which should be unique to each area. Cooperation to have similar mailboxes will also enhance these older rundown single family communities. It may take decades, but at least start these improvements and then extend the process throughout the ENTIRE Village, but start in the OLDEST sections and grow toward the newer built areas.

    It is also disconcerting to hear that the code enforcement is going to recommend some dilution to our code standards which in the past has help established Wellington as a beautiful community. It is a small minority of property owners who can Not manage their properties in Wellington. Why cater to their problems when the rest of us do maintain our property to these higher standards? Lowering standards will certainly aid the code enforcement staff, but will weaken our Village as a whole, especially the 50% which do Not have an HOA.

    Already staff has asked a committee to consider things that in the past were prohibited. At the recent Architecture Committee meeting, the staff has sought to allow coverings to chainlink fences along thoroughfares to allow for privacy while newly planted hedges are growing (perhaps if the residents had taken care of their hedges,watered them, sprayed them for pests, they wouldn’t be asking for these privacy screens) If these privacy coverings are allowed, Staff would then have to follow up that the covering was removed for hurricanes and then removed in 3 year time period. (and then why wouldn’t other homes see these screenings and want the same?)
    Code enforcement can’t even keep up with present problems in the Village and now they want to complicate the process even more and also weaken the standards to make their job easier and to give a break to a minority of homeowners who can’t manage their properties.

    Code enforcement in the Village is either overwhelmed, or directed to ignore some violations, or they just hate the paperwork involved in citing problems or can’t stand to go in front of the Special Magistrate. It’s easy to see violations such as: unscreened mechanical units from the street, mildewed homes, driveways and sidewalks, basketball hoops buried in the ground, unscreened garbage cans throughout the Village that somehow is ignored by code enforcement. (What’s with chicken coop near Foresteria and Turf Lane?!)
    It may be a pain for homeowners to correct these violations, but it is the only way to maintain the the aging areas of Wellington and keep Wellington beautiful.
    The Village is prospering, time to start ignoring code violations and get homeowners/LLCs to maintain their properties so our neighborhoods can keep their values.

    And have the Village Engineer put Wellington Trace between Forest Hill and Birkdale Drive on a list to be totally repaired. That road is a rutted mess, equal to Ousley Sod Farm Road in the equestrian area. FIX OUR ROADS! KEEP THE VILLAGE INFRASTRUCTURE IN GREAT SHAPE! THAT IS CRITICAL!

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