Projects that have long been waiting in the wings may soon spring into action in Wilton Manors.

Commissioners discussed, at length, several projects during the Jan. 25 regular meeting. Leading the way was the Wilton Drive landscaping and irrigation project. Mayor Scott Newton said residents are frustrated the project has yet to be completed.

“We’ve been talking about this for years and years and I’m done,” Newton said. “We’re gonna get it done this year. Find the money and let’s move on.”

City Manager Leigh Ann Henderson reported a $243,000 funding shortage in the project’s budget. A qualified bid of $707,000 was submitted for the project. Vice Mayor Paul Rolli asked that electrical wiring be included in the bid.

“The bid that we have includes trees, repairs and maintenance, irrigation and conduit pipe for the electrical,” Rolli said. “I know in that bid we did not include the actual electrical wires used to light the trees from the power outlets. I would like to see if we can move forward with the whole package this time and not leave the electrical for some later date.”

County surtax funds will provide $280,000 for the project. Commissioner Chris Caputo asked if funds from the American Rescue Plan Act could be used. Wilton Manors received $5.3 million in ARPA funding and Henderson said dipping into those funds is possible.

Commissioner Gary Resnick inquired as to the possibility of including broadband in the conduit piping. Newton said sometimes contractors cannot put electrical and broadband wiring in the same conduit.

“We missed a real opportunity to do that when Wilton Drive was narrowed,” Resnick said.

Echoing Newton, Commissioner Mike Bracchi called for action.

“We’re all tired of talking about this and the residents are tired of seeing a treeless street,” said Bracchi. “Whatever it takes to get it done — I’d like to know what the total cost would be and let’s find the funds and prioritize it.”

Other projects discussed were Kiwanis Club, Site 92, Colohatchee Park and the former Center for Spiritual Living church property.

Other notes from the Jan. 25 meeting include:

A proposal passed unanimously on first reading to bring a ballot referendum on term limits. Voters will get to decide if 12 years is enough for elected city officials. Commissioners would be allowed a maximum of three four-year terms and the mayor allowed to serve a maximum of six two-year terms.

Commissioners appointed Scott McCoy to the Civil Service Board. McCoy, a civil rights attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center, is married to Mark Barr, Equality Florida’s Broward County Development officer. McCoy was Utah’s first gay state senator, serving from 2004 to 2009. He also chaired Salt Lake City’s police civilian review board.

Commissioners re-appointed Constance Ruppender and appointed Stephen Mumby to the Budget Review Advisory Committee (BRAC). Ruppender is a past president of the Central Area Neighborhood Association. Commissioners also approved repealing the BRAC and replacing it with a newly created Financial Advisory Board.

The city’s 2021 annual video report was released. Entitled “A Vision For Growth,” the video, narrated by Newton, touts the city’s continuing efforts to grow smart and highlights improvements to infrastructure, development regulations, community programming and safety measures.

The next regular commission meeting is scheduled for Feb. 8.


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