Wellington Council Approves Skate Park Renovation Plan, Hears Favorable Audit Report

The Suarez triplets each received a bicycle as part of Wellington’s Florida Bicycle Month observance. Photo courtesy Village of Wellington

The Wellington Village Council voted unanimously Tuesday, March 9 to approve a completely rehabilitated skate park, received the highest favorable rating possible in the village’s 2020 audit and acknowledged some feel-good proclamations.

The skate park is located at the northeast corner of Village Park on Pierson Road. The item was pulled from the consent agenda so council members could discuss it. The renovated park will replace the old, worn-out facility, reusing only the fencing and the existing slab. The old park was closed for safety concerns last year.

The project will completely remove and replace the existing structures, updating them and making the refurbished skate park safer. The new facility will include a half pipe, a bank ramp, two quarter pipes, a grind roll and more.

The $150,000 renovation will be paid for by the one-cent sales surtax that is earmarked for such projects. The council consensus was that the measure is a good use of funding. The skate park will be overseen by park staff and has no admission fee, so its usage is free, the same as ball fields.

Also at the meeting, Racquel McIntosh of Grau & Associates Certified Public Accountants presented the village’s annual audit for the fiscal year ending in 2020. The firm issued a clean, unmodified opinion, which is the highest opinion possible. Deputy Village Manager Tanya Quickel and her staff were acknowledged for the reports that went into the audit.

“I would like to thank Ms. Quickel and her staff for providing us with all the information we needed, when we needed it, even though they were undergoing format changes during this year [with the programing],” McIntosh said. “The governmental funds have total assets just under $90 million, most of that in the general fund.”

The audit shows Wellington in a strong financial position despite uncertain times.

“We believe that the village has complied and there are no deficiencies in their records in terms of the internal control and compliance, and no material or significant deficiencies exist,” quoted McIntosh from the report.

Mayor Anne Gerwig recognized that 2020 was a difficult year. “The budget is a living document,” she said. “With the shut down and the expenditures that we didn’t expect, we did pretty well.”

Councilman Michael Napoleone made the point echoed by the rest of the council. “It’s a great audit, and thank you to the other council members,” he said. “We’ve got a great streak going with having clean audits.”

Councilman John McGovern also acknowledged Quickel and her team. “Thank you for keeping our financial house in such a good order,” he said.

In other business, the council proclaimed March as “Florida Bicycle Month” in the Village of Wellington, highlighting the many trails in the village and encouraging residents to exercise and get out and ride.

In conjunction with Florida Bicycle Month, the village’s Community Services Department works with village partners on a bicycle assistance program. Bicycle donations are refurbished to like-new condition and given to families in the community, such as the Suarez triplets, who were at the meeting and each received their own bicycle.

Gerwig thanked everyone involved in the program while reminding the bike recipients, “You have to wear those helmets. We need you to save your brains.”

Finally, the Wellington Utilities Department received the 2020 district first place award for Outstanding Water Distribution System in their division.

The award is presented annually by the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association. Criteria for the award include a complex mixture of categories that all add up to the winner providing exemplary service to protect public health and safety.

Wellington Utilities Director Shannon LaRocque said that the quality of service was attributed to the investments made in recent years. “I want to publicly recognize that the investments the council has made over the past few years are coming to fruition, and it shows in awards like this,” she said.

The next Wellington Village Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 23.