When the appointed hour for Wellington’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Board meeting rolled around on Monday, Dec. 1, no members of the public showed up. That’s not unusual at committee meetings, but the committee also couldn’t muster a quorum of its membership.
Still, Board Chair Dr. Samuel Falzone called for an informational meeting to relate how $11.6 million in sales surtax funds have been spent over the last 33 months.
“The committee also serves as the village’s sales surtax review committee,” Director of Administrative & Financial Services Tanya Quickel told the Town-Crier, repeating the information her team had prepared for the committee.
At the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, Wellington had collected $4.2 million in money from the one-cent sales surtax approved by voters in 2016. The total collections since January 2017, when revenue from the sales surtax began, is $11.6 million, Quickel said, presenting a chart with the exact revenue.
The Village of Wellington collected $4,232,966 last year in surtax revenue on a budget of $3,496,000, or approximately 121 percent of budgeted revenues. Since its inception, Wellington has collected $11,584,968 in surtax revenue. However, the village has spent just a fraction of the money — $997,190.
Quickel said that the majority has been spent on updates and improvements to the pavilions, playgrounds and dugouts at Village Park.
“$583,710 has gone to Village Park, and the majority of the balance of the $1 million spent is for design work,” she said.
That design work has gone mostly into the Town Center Boardwalk project and the Wellington High School Sports Complex project.
“The money for the Greenbriar Park expansion and then the South Shore Park expansion has kind of daisy chained as each project went on hold and the money was re-budgeted into the sports complex,” Quickel said. “The main project that we are focused on right now is the Wellington High School Sports Complex. It is estimated to be a $10 to $12 million project.”
The joint use project utilizes land belonging to the school district in which to build state-of-the-art fields, thus preserving other village land for future, undetermined uses.
“Designs for that project will be coming before the council in the first quarter of 2020, and they will see large contracts encumbered for the completion of that complex,” Quickel said.
That $10 to $12 million figure does not include a possible swimming pool that is an open option to be considered in the future.
“The council has not made that determination on a pool yet,” Quickel said. “They have a window of time before they have to make a final decision. If they did want to do it, it could be funded from future collections, but all those decisions have yet to be made.”
Sales surtax money will be paid out soon for the Town Center Boardwalk project.
“It’s under construction behind the Wellington Community Center — and it is moving along very nicely,” Quickel said. “It’s a great project, and it looks great. We’re anticipating that it will be finished in March or April of 2020.”
While somewhat more money was collected than expected this past year, Quickel noted that overall collections are close to the estimates that were made when the surtax was instituted.
“We had anticipated from the very beginning to collect approximately $3.5 million per year, so we’re pretty much on track with the budgeted revenues,” Quickel said.