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Saturday, February 24, 2024

City of Winter Haven Approves Several Resolutions for Water Project Funding

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City of Winter Haven Approves Several Resolutions for Water Project Funding

by James Coulter

Winter Haven residents can expect cleaner, more plentiful water now that the City Commission unanimously approved several resolutions concerning funding for various city water and stormwater projects.

During their meeting on Monday evening, Winter Haven city commissioners unanimously approved several resolutions, each of which involves allocating funding towards several projects involving the city’s water and stormwater systems.

These resolutions include:

• Increasing the total Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan from $9,914,390 to $13,624,440, in lieu of the Guaranty Agreement, with the city being a member of the Polk Regional Water Cooperative (PRWC).

• Providing $910,000 in partial funding from the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for the design, permitting, and construction “of the Alternate Water Supply (AWS) transmission main to provide reclaimed (reuse) water”, which includes “approximately 1.26 miles of 24” reclaimed transmission main on County Road 653 and Eloise Loop Road and 0.94 miles of 6” reclaimed transmission, from the intersection of CR653 and Cunningham Road.”

• Authorizing a grant agreement from FDEP for $250,000 in funding towards “the pre-design study, design and permitting phase of Sapphire Necklace Creation project, located in east Winter Haven along the Peace Creek Drainage Canal.”

• Authorizing another FDEP grant agreement for $1,500,000 in funding “to decommission 111 existing, aging septic tanks near Lake Hartridge and connect them to the City’s sewer/wastewater collection system.”

• Approving funding from yet another FDEP grant agreement for $198,041 to design and permit the Water Resource Center, which “will provide an educational space for those of all ages to learn of the challenges, opportunities and connections water has to everything we do on a daily basis.”

• Accepting a $450,000 grant from the Heartland Headwaters Protection Act through the Polk Regional Water Cooperative to create stormwater improvements “from a 550-acre watershed that discharges into Lake Howard.”

Each resolution received a motion, a second, and a unanimous vote from City Commissioners for their approval.

One resident, who lives near Lake Howard, inquired if the City had budgeted for these items, and if they have, if a contingency plan might be necessary.

Winter Haven City Manager T. Michael Stavres replied that the City tries to [divvy] up as much funding as they can through grant opportunities when considering projects of this nature. For example, for one of the projects, the city had secured a grant of $2 million from PepsiCo for rehydration within the site.

“We are also pursuing other grant opportunities from other means that will offset some of the long-term [costs], but in term of budgeting, it is to be done in phases and based upon what grant dollars we have come in,” he explained. “In comparison of those anticipated costs down the road for future water [projects] and in anticipation of expenses today, if we can offset some of those major expenses for future water [projects] by investing less today, that is the anticipated approach.”

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