Local News

AP annexation effort includes motel/armory

AVON PARK - The city is moving to expand its boundaries once again to encompass a motel, armory, association headquarters and its own waste water treatment plant.

The city's ambitious annexation effort is aimed southward on U.S. 27 and includes four properties totalling about 57.2 acres.

The city council approved on Monday the first reading of four annexation ordinances.

The properties to be annexed are: 3.5 acres of land owned by the Florida State Firemen's Association, Inc., which includes the organization's state headquarters, at 2450 U.S. 27 South; 19.1 acres of land owned by the City of Avon Park, where the Florida National Guard Armory is located, at 2500 U.S. 27 South; 31 acres of land owned by the City of Avon Park at 2055 U.S. 27 South and 3.6 acres of land owned by Guru Krupa Investment LLC, which includes the Days Inn motel located at 2511 U.S. 27.

The city's wastewater treatment plant is located on the 19.1 acres of city land that is slated to be annexed.

City Manger Julian Deleon said Thursday that the city is still growing.

"We grew to the north last month; we are growing south now," he said.

When asked if there were any other proposed annexation efforts, Deleon said he has some other "hot irons," but they are still in the works.

Also, the city council approved developing an ordinance that would provide a discount to water/sewer utility customers who sign up to pay their bills by automatic bank draft.

Deleon told the council that in the past few years the city has added about 1,000 utility accounts. With only 20 work days in the month, staff is opening about 450 pieces of mail or interacting with customers at the window.

"As we continue to grow we have added more than 11 1/5 miles of pipe in the ground," he said. "I am expecting a lot of customers to continue to sign up."

According to his recommendation, If customers sign up for the automatic utility bill payment they will receive a $1 discount per month, Deleon said. It doesn't sound like much, but it is $12 a year, plus a savings of $5 in postage.

"That's $17, which in essence is a free month of water, plus you don't have to worry about late fees or any other costs associated with that," he said.

Councilman Parke Sutherland asked if a dollar off would generate interest in the program.

Deleon responded, "I think it would."

Mayor Sharon Schuler said if there was someone in the county who was using the minimum amount of water then it would cost them $15 per month instead of $16.

If every city customer opted to participate in the automatic pay system, the fiscal impact would be $108,000 in customer credit/lost revenue for the city, according to Deleon.