July 26, 2016
In This Issue
City Manager Jonathan E. Evans, MPA, MBA, ICMA-CM

Residents, Business Owners, Visitors, Colleagues, and Friends, 

It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that I inform you that the City Commission unanimously adopted the tentative millage rate of 7.5895 mills ("ad valorem tax rate"), the effective rate assessed to real property. This action has not occurred in 15 years per the (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report September 30, 2005 pg. 15) due to multiple actions taken by the City, improvements in the housing market and operational efficiencies that have been deployed over the past couple of years. The current millage rate is 7.7900 mills and the reduction in the millage rate will garner the organization the same revenue it experienced in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 (current Fiscal Year). 

A FY is a 12-month period in which government entities spend their budget; in Florida, the FY for all municipal and local government entities commences on October 1st and concludes on September 30th. For your edification, your total ad valorem tax bill is composed in an aggregate format, including entities such as Polk County, Southwest Florida Water Management District, the Polk County School Board, and the Peace River Water Basin. In totality, of your entire tax bill, only 36% is remitted back to Haines City, equating to $.36 of every dollar paid in ad valorem taxes received by the City. 

Haines City has worked judiciously over the past four years to tackle comprehensive and challenging issues that have arisen. Since 2007, the City has lost approximately 40% of its ad valorem revenue, which was associated with the drastic decline in the housing market. However, through good governance and multiple austerity measures to curtail government expenditures, the organization has benefited from an improving economy. Through the year ending September 30, 2013, the economy recovered nearly 20% through the year ending September 30, 2015. The unemployment rate in Polk County has declined significantly from 13.3% in 2010 to 5.9% in 2015. Even though the organization had to deploy multiple tactics to address declining revenues and increase expenditures, significant gains have been experienced. 

Furthermore, just last week, in consultation with its financial advisors, the City and its bond counsel executed a refinance of existing debt that is anticipated to save the organization $3.1 million for the term of the bond, which is set to expire in 2032. The terms of the agreement are no longer than the previous issuance, and the City was able to reduce its current coupon rate from 4.98% to 2.95%; these measures require significant capital to invest in the infrastructure and amenities intended to improve the quality of life and ensure long-term financial sustainability for the City. Pension reform also continues to pay dividends, thus mitigating and controlling future volatility in the marketplace and reducing long-term liability for the organization. 

All in all, this is a testament to the elected leadership and the staff that have worked diligently to ensure that Haines City remains on a path that will provide future prosperity for its existing and future residents.

Jonathan E. Evans, MPA, MBA, ICMA-CM
City Manager

Human Resources Director Kandace Tappen

Haines City is hiring! Please visit us at hainescity.com/jobs to view a listing of positions open to receive applications.  When completed, your application and resume may be e-mailed to jobs@hainescity.com. For more information, please call Human Resources (863-421-9927). 

City Clerk Linda Bourgeois 

The Regular Meetings of the City Commission are typically held on the first and third Thursday of every month, however, City Clerk Linda Bourgeois reports that on Thursday, July 21, 2016, the City Commission of the City of Haines City approved changing the second meeting date in August.  The August City Commission regular meeting schedule is as follows: 
  • Thursday, August 4, 2016, at 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday, August 16, 2016, at 7:00 PM 
Both meeting will be held in the City Hall City Commission Chambers located at 620 E. Main Street, Haines City Florida, 33844.  Please contact Linda Bourgeois, City Clerk for additional information (863) 421-9921.

Left to Right: Vice Mayor Don Mason, Commissioner H.L. Roy Tyler, Commissioner Kenneth Kipp, Commissioner Morris West, Mayor Horace West

Parks & Recreation Director Auburn Taylor

The Haines City Public Library not only has Wi-Fi, but it's also a Pokémon gym! So come in, hang out and chill and train those Pokémon!

Looks like we have some special guests dropping in the library! We have Weedles and Staryus catching up on their reading. Come in and see if you can catch a few while they have their noses stuck in a book!

(Photo credits to one of our regular patrons - thanks for the pictures!)
Haines City Parks & Recreation has teamed up with the Florida Recreation & Park Association for their annual conference service project. The 2016 FRPA Conference Committee has selected GotSneakers and Soles4Souls as the project recipients for this year's conference.

These organizations work together to collect sneakers and distribute them to people in need of shoes to go on with their daily lives. This reuse also reduces the amount of shoes that end up in landfills.

Five City facilities have been set up as drop off locations:
  • Haines City City Hall: 620 E. Main Street
  • Haines City Public Library: 111 N. 6th Street
  • Oakland Neighborhood Center: 915 Ave. E
  • Lake Eva Community Center: 555 Ledwith Ave
  • Haines City Aquatics Center: 321 S. 6th Street
Please visit any of these location to pick up donation bags. Donations will be collected until Wednesday, August 24th. For more information, please contact the Haines City Parks and Recreation Department at (863) 421-3700.

Acting Fire Chief Stuart McCutcheon

Promotional and Awards Ceremony
Acting Fire Chief Stuart McCutcheon reports that a promotional and awards ceremony was held on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, at the Fire Department.

Acting Fire Chief Stuart McCutcheon

During the ceremony, we welcomed Firefighters Alex Diemer and Ryan Wooley to the Department. 

Left to Right: Acting Fire Chief Stuart McCutcheon,
Firefighter Ryan Wooley, Firefighter Alex Dimer

In addition, Firefighter Chris Jacobs was promoted to Lieutenant.

Left to Right: Acting Fire Chief Stuart McCutcheon, Lieutenant Chris Jacobs

Lieutenant Ryan Russell was promoted to Captain, and Captain Codi Donahoe was transferred from Training to Operations Captain.

Left to Right: Acting Fire Chief Stuart McCutcheon, 
Operations Manager Codi Donahoe, Captain Ryan Russell

Lieutenant Chris Jacobs, Firefighter Alex Diemer, and Firefighter Mitch Lamm were recognized for saving a man from a burning building. 

Left to Right: Acting Fire Chief Stuart McCutcheon, Lieutenant Chris Jacobs, 
Firefighter Alex Diemer, Firefighter Mitch Lamm

The remainder of the crew; Lieutenant Jake Jimenez, Eng David Borowski, Eng AJ Aponte, and Firefighter Derek Venegas were also recognized for the team's actions resulting in a save.

The City of Haines City is extremely proud of our Fire Department personnel, and we thank each and every one of them for a wonderful job well done.

Utilities Director Mike Stripling

Lunch and Learn Workshop - Vegetable Gardening

Join us on Thursday, August 30th from Noon to 1 PM, for a free lunchtime workshop at the Haines City Public Library, located at 111 N 6th Street, Haines City, FL 33844

In this workshop, Master Gardener Dave Goking will discuss starting and maintaining a vegetable garden, when to plant for best production, and answer your gardening questions. The lunch and workshop is free, but registration is required. Visit http://polkgardening.eventbrite.com to register.

Should you have further questions or need additional information, please call Haines City Utilities at (863) 421-3696.


WOW (Watched Outstanding Work!)

The City of Haines City would like to thank all of our excellent, dedicated employees and volunteers who help make the City a great place to work, live and play. Have you "Watched Outstanding Work" within the City lately? Let us know at wow@hainescity.com.