Purchasing Camp Wewa: Is it a new day in Apopka?

first_img February 13, 2021 at 10:12 am OpinionThe Friday EditorialBy Reggie Connell/Managing Editor of The Apopka Voice“Birds flying high, you know how I feelSun in the sky, you know how I feelBreeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feelIt’s a new dawnIt’s a new dayIt’s a new life for me, yeahIt’s a new dawnIt’s a new dayIt’s a new life for meAnd I’m feeling good”–I’m Feeling Good – Nina SimoneAsk anyone in Apopka, and they probably have a story associated with Camp Wewa. It’s been a part of the fabric of Apopka for over 70 years, and I applaud the City Council for treating it as an investment into the community’s future.Despite a pandemic, budget constraints, and no clear pathway to purchase, you persevered and are on a path to making this a part of the eco-tourism package so vital to the Apopka brand.Take a look at the energy, creativity, and optimism displayed at the special city council meeting on February 3rd…“Three weeks ago, I got a call from the YMCA about this property,” said Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson. “It was basically a courtesy call to let us know they were going to sell the property to a developer and thought I would want to know. I just said wow. Having been there I knew how amazing this property was. I asked them to give us a couple of weeks to do our due diligence and maybe we can come up with a plan to purchase.”“You have about $800,000 in impact fees that you can use,” said City Administrator Edward Bass. “You can put up the other properties for sale (including the Sandpiper property valued at $1.2 million). The City is also in the process of applying for a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, but Bass cautioned about its timing. “We won’t know about the grant,” said Bass. “It takes some time for that to come back. What we could do is use some of the other parcels coming in as income, and then you also front some for reserves and reimburse yourselves from the sale.”“I’d love to have summer camp up and running,” added Nelson.“When you think about brand alignment with Camp Wewa and the City of Apopka, I don’t think there’s much argument there,” said Commissioner Kyle Becker. “It goes together because we have such a focus on eco-tourism. The springs, Lake Apopka, the Wildlife Drive… all these things kind of play together.” “It goes back to ‘what is our brand?’ Commissioner Doug Bankson said. “Lake Apopka used to be one of the best fishing lakes nationwide, and then we lost that, but now it’s coming back. The trend is greenspace, ecology… you have the birding… tie this together and it’s something that can’t be reproduced. You’ve heard me harp on (budget) reserves. But this is the reason why. It puts us in a position to act. I think this is a tremendous opportunity. And if we do this right, we’re going to be the number one destination for green tourism.”I applaud the effort, the urgency of the moment, the creativity to find the assets to make it work, and the vision for the future. I only have one question… Can this type of effort, urgency, creativity, and vision show up again in the budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 (FY-22)?Nelson, in a way, answered that question near the end of the meeting.“Three years ago, we couldn’t have done this. But because of the financial shape we are in, we can use reserves, or borrow the money, we’ve got ways of doing it because of the shape we’re in.”“We’re in uncharted territories,” said Bass. This is new to us. This is something we have an opportunity to take on and I think the key is going to be to look for all the grant opportunities available, partnering, and working with the Chamber. We can all work together.”That’s a refreshing take on the state of Apopka. For a while now, it seemed as though the City Council and its administrator were playing defense against additional purchases and acquisitions rather than working together to make things happen. In my five years as managing editor of The Apopka Voice, I’ve reported on two mayors, two city administrators, eight commissioners, several finance directors, and department heads. And in those five years, these officials spent days and hours putting together five budgets. Their efforts are to be commended, but my takeaway is this – there were a lot of blood, sweat, and tears put forth, but at the end of the day, it gives the impression you are reacting to the assets and liabilities put in front of you while setting aside vision for the future of this growing city. But today is a new day in Apopka, and as Bass points out… these are uncharted territories. The budget process for FY-22 is just around the corner. With this new forward-looking attitude and a completely repaired budget, what should Apopka look at next? Let’s take this new attitude out for a spin…Considering the Camp Wewa purchase almost literally fell in your lap through a courtesy-call, imagine the opportunities that might show up if you took the initiative? I read an article in The Seminole Source a few weeks ago about the City of Sanford hiring a new Economic Development Director. Sanford, a city of about 59,000, is slightly larger than Apopka with a significantly higher tax base and millage rate, but I was still surprised they didn’t consider letting the post go vacant considering the pandemic. Others, including Apopka, have chosen not to take on that expense. However, the City of Sanford plans to keep the position and the department fully funded in 2021.“The City of Sanford announces the hiring of Dr. Tom Tomerlin as Director of Economic Development,” the story reads. “Tomerlin will be responsible for guiding and implementing the City’s economic development strategy. He has experience in a variety of fields including economic development, consulting, and economic analysis.Tomerlin brings nearly 30 years of experience, including economic development leadership positions for both Seminole County Government and the City of Lake Mary, Florida. Tomerlin was instrumental in recruiting Fortune 500 companies to Lake Mary and advancing strategic initiatives in the community.”I called Sanford, and it turns out Mr. Tomerlin’s salary is a little less than $100,000 per year, and the department’s budget is a little over $500,000. Sanford landed a person with 30 years of experience, a proven track record, and local knowledge for under $100,000 per year.In the department’s description, they list over 50 accomplishments including several major companies moving to Sanford in 2020 and set 50 new goals for 2021, which includes attracting jobs to the city at 115%-150% of the county’s average wage and bringing even more new businesses to town. If they can accomplish half of the expectations listed, that department will easily pay for itself.In January of 2020, Apopka took a small step towards addressing economic development, when it partnered with the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce to “lead and promote economic development opportunities.” It was the first time a partnership of this type had been created.“The significance of this approved partnership will have an incredibly positive impact on the future of our rapidly-growing community and our membership,” said Chamber President Robert Agrusa. “We look forward to working together with the City and our surrounding communities to grow our existing businesses, create and attract new high-wage and highly skilled labor jobs, expand capital investment and increase prosperity to all of Northwest Orange County.”“I applaud the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce for their bold leadership and willingness to offer a unique proposal, which leverages our public and private sectors to streamline our collective efforts, and maximize our resources dedicated to the Apopka area for infrastructure, transportation, and job growth,” said Nelson. “Plus, we are excited to partner with the Apopka Area Chamber as we acknowledge our agriculturally centric roots and redefine the City of Apopka into a city of opportunity, with the promise of a bright and vibrant future.”The four major economic development objectives that the Chamber will be focused on in 2020 will include the following:The creation and hosting of a brand-new Economic Development websiteThe creation of brand-new Economic Development/marketing materialsServe as the business community lead and partner with City for the Apopka Youth Works summer programIdentify our current Economic Development assets, along with Future Economic Development marketing needs and new asset requirementsThis was a modest and inexpensive start to a city’s economic development, but it does display the City’s acknowledgment that a forward-looking approach to economic development is important. But clearly, this is not enough – especially with the departure of Agrusa and his admirable leadership of the Chamber. To compete with local municipalities, and for Apopka to realize its full potential, it needs an economic development department. The role of an economic development director is to have a strategic focus. They are pro-active. They study market trends and apply their expert judgment to opportunities and threats facing the local economy. And while the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce is a key component to economic development in Apopka, a department and its director, specifically given the job to analyze and respond to the economic well-being of the community can work with them, and specifically harness the potential of every component in Apopka’s arsenal to keep pace with the tremendous growth it is experiencing. And while a $500,000 budget may be a bridge too far, it seems plausible that a director with a modest budget would more than pay for itself – even if their primary focus in year one was to make certain Camp Wewa was at a minimum a break-even prospect, get the City Center project back on track and get the word out to central Florida that the City is open for business.It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, and Apopka is feeling good. carlton small Reply The Anatomy of Fear Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Support conservation and fish with NEW Florida specialty license plate TAGSCamp WEWAEconomic DevelopmentEditorialOpinionThe Friday Editorial Previous articleFor the birds? Hardly! Valentine’s Day was reimagined by chivalrous medieval poets for all to enjoy, respectfullyNext articleThree new officers sworn in at Apopka Police Department Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply February 14, 2021 at 8:28 am 2 COMMENTS Maria Elena Franco You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here Please enter your name here Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 Reply Apopka City Hall Please enter your comment! Excellent read! Great news I live in Dunbridge off sheller rd I hope these improvements will help the street scape here also Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitterlast_img read more

Global newsround

first_imgPhilip Whiteley reports on what’s happening in HR around the worldToyota settles two-week strike at Philippines subsidiaryCar manufacturer Toyota Philippines has restarted production following atwo-week strike. The company, which is a joint venture with Toyota MotorCorporation, the Philippines bank Metropolitan Bank and Japan’s Mitsui, backeddown over the sacking of 227 employees, which had provoked the stoppage. The dismissals were carried out in response to an earlier three-day stoppageand go-slow, following a failed campaign by workers for the recognition of anindependent union. Around 400 of Toyota Philippines’ 1,400 employees are union members. www.bloomberg.comChirac calls for limits to strike action in public sectorPresidentJacques Chirac expressed support for a law of “minimum publicservice” during strikes, after stoppages once more affected the train andbus system in France. “A strike is a fundamental right, guaranteed by theconstitution and no one questions that, but like all freedoms it has itslimits, in that it affects the freedom of others,” he said. A strike by train staff, as a protest against alleged plans forprivatisation, was followed by walk-outs by bus employees, in dispute over aGGT union bid for the right to retire at 55.www.figaro.frJob losses steady in Japan, but underlying rate is upJapan’s unemployment rate has fallen unexpectedly, according tothe latest figures released in early April, but the underlying rate remains onan upward trend as the Japanese economy continues to struggle. Labour market experts noted that the ratio of job offers toapplicants, which is a guide to business conditions, is deteriorating. The dipin unemployment from 4.9% of the workforce to 4.7% is seen as a laggingresponse to last year’s economic recovery, which had started to peter out asthe data were published.www.ft.comFrench judge orders Marks & Spencer to halt redundanciesA tribunalin France has ordered Marks & Spencer to suspend its closure of 18 shopspending full consultation with the employees affected. Unions in France accusedthe UK-based retailer of flouting national law by announcing redundancies.Closures followed strategic decisions made in London to concentrate on the UKmarket, but the judge ruled that this did not overrule French law.Meanwhile, the French food group Danone has also hit fiercecontroversy over plans to make redundancies, even though it is profitable. Thegroup wants to increase the efficiency of its biscuit factories and announcedin March that it was seeking to lose 570 posts out of 15,000 in France, whichhas triggered street protests by employees.www.figaro.frPfeffer attacks vitriolic e-mail threatening sackingsLeading human resources academic Jeffrey Pfeffer criticised avitriolic e-mail sent by a chief executive to his managers which caused a 22%slide in the share price. Cerner Corporation’s CEO Neal Patterson told managershe wanted to see the car park full by 7.30am each day and threatened sackings. “It is the corporate equivalent of whips and ropes andchains. It puts you at war with your employees and with your basic tendenciesin human nature,” says Pfeffer. Patterson has since apologised.Pfeffer is a trenchant critic of harsh or impersonal treatmentof employees, which causes damage to profitability as well as to employees’sense of well-being.www.nytimes.comFat cat pay “heralds drop in profits”There is a negative correlation between chief executive pay andcompany performance, according to a study by the US pressure group United for aFair Economy. Its research claims that companies headed by the top ten mosthighly paid executives have under-performed the average of Standard & Poortop 500 companies, as measured by return to shareholders.”The existing compensation packages provide short-termincentive, but not the climate for long-term sustainable businesssuccess,” says author Scott Klinger. “When Business Week releases itslist of the ten companies which had the highest paid CEOs in 2000, that wouldbe a good list of stocks to sell short.”www.lexis-nexis.comEU sets limits on free movement of workersThere is likely to be a five-year transition period inimplementing freedom of movement for employees within an enlarged EuropeanUnion, European Commissioners announced in April. The EU may take on as many as 12 new members from Eastern andCentral Europe in the next ten years, with Poland, Hungary and the CzechRepublic currently heading the queue. But according to Gunter Verheugen, the commissioner forenlargement, and Anna Diamantopoulou, the social affairs commissioner, citizensof these countries will not immediately have the right to work in existing EUmember countries.People from new member countries will face some limits on theirability to work in Western Europe for five years after accession to membershipof the entrant nations. Proposals to work will need the approval of EUgovernments. Citizens of the 15 current members of the union have fullfreedom of movement.www.faz.netInformal employment takes a grip on ArgentinaWorking in the informal economy hasreached a record high in Argentina. A study by independent group Equiscalculated that more than one-third of the adult population – 38% – are workingin the unofficial economy, depriving the state of millions in tax revenues. Thecountry has failed to benefit from recent years of global economic growth, andrates of both temporary work and official unemployment remain high.www.lanacion.com.arJoint pact aims for better employment in SicilyEmployers, trade unions and universities in Sicily have reachedagreement on a series of policies and initiatives aimed at boosting employmentin the island. Like much of southern Italy, Sicily has high levels of activityin the informal economy, and also has organised crime. The new pact commits unions affiliated to four nationalconfederations, the local university, employers’ associations and statutorybodies including the Equal Opportunities Council to work together. They aim tocreate new companies, help introduce or reintroduce individuals into regularemployment and promote training in new technology.www.eiro.eurofound.ieAsia invests in training to combat skills shortage US-based data storage company EMC has launched its Asia PacificGlobal Training Center in Singapore to address the shortage of storagespecialists in the region. The firm has invested S$5m (£1.9m) in the centre,which is its second in the region (the first was in Japan). It aims for 2,800students by 2003.In a similar move, Singapore Network Services plans to investthe same amount over the next three years in a software development andtraining centre in India. The application service provider will build thecentre in the heart of India’s burgeoning software industry in Bangalore.www.CNET.comLufthansa pilots hold back on strike in 35% pay claimThe airlinepilots union in Germany has backed away from a strike at national carrierLufthansa as part of its pay dispute. The union is seeking a substantial payhike of 35%, which has been rejected by the company, saying that pilots earnless than in comparable airlines in other countries. The company’s original payoffer was just over one-tenth of the claim, at 3.6%.But the pilots’ association promised not to carry out strikesover the Easter period. It would have been the first strike of pilots in thehistory of Lufthansa.www.faz.netMinimum wage up 11% for UK employeesThe UK has announced an 11% rise in the minimum wage, from£3.60 an hour to £4.10, to take effect from October 2001. An estimated 1.3 million employees in the country will benefitfrom the increase, which will be followed by a further ten pence rise a yearlater, if economic circumstances permit. It is the first increase in the pay floor since it wasintroduced in 1998, the first time in its history that the UK has had a minimumwage.www.eiro.eurofound.ieGraduate hiring rate stays high despite downturnNorth American companies are maintaining a high rate ofrecruitment from universities, despite corporate lay-offs and talk of apossible recession. A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employersof the US found recruiters are evenly split between those planning to stick tooriginal college hiring goals and those scaling back due to the economicslowdown. An “extraordinary” job market for graduates in recent yearshas become merely “good”, says a report by the Society for HumanResource Management.www.shrm.org Previous Article Next Article Global newsroundOn 1 Jun 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more