An election year in Wellington usually signifies an intense political battle with well-funded candidates battling it out for control. But this year, not so much.
2020 could have been a year with a majority of the Wellington Village Council on the ballot in March. Instead, a lack of challengers led to the cancellation of the entire election cycle — a first for the 25-year-old municipality.
To Village Manager Paul Schofield, that means that residents are largely satisfied, and things seem to be going pretty well in the community.
Wellington’s finances are the envy of other communities and crime is down — not a bad way to start a year with a key village milestone.
Schofield said that in the coming year, the village will be doing things to ensure it remains a great place to raise a family, even after that family’s children have grown and left home.
“There are many things coming up,” Schofield said. “There is a lot — it’s our 25th anniversary year.”
The on-going Parks & Recreation Master Plan will be completed, as will the plan for the Town Center area.
“Our parks are in really good shape, and we want to keep it that way. We will be looking to complete those plans,” Schofield said. “We will also be developing a budget for the Town Center.”
The largest recreation project taking place in 2020 will be the one that the council spent much of 2019 discussing.
“We have the new fields that are being built at Wellington High School,” Schofield said. “And as our infrastructure ages, we will be replacing and rehabilitating facilities for the water and the well fields.”
The facilities used by Wellington’s law enforcement agency, supplied under contract by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, will be remodeled and brought up to date.
“We will continue to do the things that we have always done trying to keep the village the positive type of community that it is,” Schofield said.
Schofield noted that the village is in a very good financial posture, and that Wellington has earned and will strive to maintain a double-A bond rating.
Schofield noted that there are environmental issues that will face the community. “There are a number of residential subdivisions that are still on septic tanks, and we are going to be looking at the state rules to determine what needs to be done in these situations,” he said.
Additionally, Schofield said there will be discussions about how equestrian waste is handled in the village moving into the future, and there will be the often-painful decisions as to what to do with failing golf courses. There are also changes coming to the Mall at Wellington Green, which are expected to be on the council’s agenda in 2020.
“We will continue to concentrate on the unique things that make Wellington the family community that residents love with even greater emphasis on safety,” Schofield explained. “We were named one of the top 50 safest cities in the country by the web site safewise.com, and we will be putting more emphasis on programs for seniors.”
Schofield said he expects more joint-use and value-added projects like the planned ball fields at the high school.
“We will be continuing with those types of programs and ways to make sure that Wellington is what it has been for its entire existence — a great place to raise your family with safe neighborhoods, and despite having a lower percentage of senior citizens than in the county or the state, Wellington is perennially named as one of the best places to retire,” he said.