Maitland just saved $16,000.
At the end of the qualifying period last week, Council members Phil Bonus and Linda Frosch were elected unopposed to a second term. Maitland small business owner Ivan Valdes was elected unopposed to Seat 1, where he will serve the remaining two years of Howard Schieferdecker’s term.
That means there’s no election in Maitland on March 8. Besides a small fee paid to the Supervisor of Elections Office for verifying the candidates’ signatures, the roughly $16,000 budgeted for the election will return to the city’s general fund, City Clerk Maria Waldrop said.
On Monday, the City Council discussed spending the unused funds on a charter review.
Meet Ivan Valdes
Councilman-elect Ivan Valdes has lived in Maitland with his wife and three daughters since 1995. He is the managing partner and financial advisor at a Maitland firm. His wife also owns a business in Maitland.
He says now was the right time for him to get involved with city government because his children are grown and his and his wife’s businesses are doing well.
“I was sitting back and saying, now is the time to get involved in the process and play a role in what Maitland will look like 10 years from now,” Valdes said.
He said the city will benefit from his financial background.
“As taxpayers, we need to make sure the city invests and does things it needs to do to grow and move forward, but not to write open-ended checks,” he said.
He is scheduled to be sworn in to office on April 25. Former Mayor Robert Breaux was appointed on Jan. 10 to fill Seat 1 until the March 8 election. That means the seat will stand empty for three meetings.
Valdes, who is involved with Asbury United Methodist Church and the Maitland Men’s Club, has never before held public office. He said he’s ready to serve the city he loves. “I don’t aspire to be a professional politician,” he said.
At the Jan. 24 City Council meeting, Councilwoman Linda Frosch was appointed vice mayor. Mayor Schieferdecker was vice mayor before he took resigning Mayor Doug Kinson’s place on Jan. 4.
City Hall contract OK’d
Also at the Jan. 24 meeting, Maitland City Council approved the contract with Wharton-Smith for construction of the new city hall. The project is slated to cost about $4.2 million. Most of the funds will come from the pot created by the 2005 citizen referendum that OK’d the borrowing of $8.5 million to build public buildings, including the recently completed police station.
Maitland plans to borrow another $1.7 million to cover the cost. The City Council raised the debt millage to its cap, 50 cents per $1,000 of taxable property, last year in anticipation of the shortfall.
The new city hall will be built next to the proposed new fire station on the corner of Packwood and Independence Avenues. Demolition of the current fire station is scheduled for February and construction will begin in June with a target completion date of May 2012.
The Maitland Town Center development agreement was officially terminated on Jan. 24 — the last in a series of steps to dissolve the partnership with developer Bob Reese.
Council members did not say a single word about the issue except to unanimously approve the termination.
In March, Reese declared bankruptcy to stop a foreclosure sale on the former Winn-Dixie and Royal Plaza, crucial pieces of the Maitland Town Center, the $400 million four-block pedestrian-friendly village meant to reshape the city’s downtown. This froze the city’s development agreement. The city paid an attorney $61,000 to get the project cut out of the suit so they could terminate the agreement. In November, the judge issued that order.
Maitland started the 30-day countdown to termination on Dec. 13, allowing Reese a chance to cure his defaults. On Jan. 24, Assistant City Manager Brian Jones, filling in for City Manager Jim Williams, said there had been no response from the developer and the defaults had not been cured.
“This will officially terminate the agreement and allow the city to consider other options,” Jones said.
The city just completed its pattern book that details design guidelines for its Community Redevelopment Area, which encompasses the planned Town Center. Any new developer that steps in will have to follow those standards, staff said.
Planning and Zoning Commissioner Dale McDonald said he’s excited to work with a new developer, even if it includes Reese.
“We’re about to learn what it’s like or how interesting it might be when we’re not married to anyone,” he said.