Thursday, October 1, 2020
74.6 F
The Villages

Wildwood poised to nearly double its population again in next year’s census

As the booming city of Wildwood is poised to nearly double its population again in next year’s census, residents will vote this fall in a referendum by mail whether to adopt a new city charter.

The charter, last renewed in 2003, defines the responsibilities and duties of the city and its officials. The revised charter was developed over the past year by a charter review committee, which included City Manager Jason McHugh and Commissioner Joe Elliott.

An April 1 population estimate released recently by the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research put Wildwood at 12,665 residents. Last year’s estimate was 9,511.

The 2010 U.S. Census set the city’s population at 6,709, up from 3,924 a decade earlier. The population estimates determine the city’s share of state revenue-sharing funds.

Sumter County also showed a significant population gain in the estimates. With an estimated 128,633 residents, the county has added 35,213 people since 2010, when its population was 93,420.

The Village of Southern Oaks, where up to 60,000 homes now are allowed on both sides of the Florida Turnpike, is a major driver of growth for both the city and county.

Wildwood officials decided to conduct the charter referendum by mail because it is about half the cost of holding a special election. It also would provide an earlier vote than waiting until next year’s regular elections.

Ballots may go out to voters by early October with a deadline to return them by the end of the month.

The proposed Wildwood city charter continues its mayor-commissioner form of government. It also continues the at-large election of commissioners instead of setting up districts.

It outlines duties of the city manager, police chief, city clerk and attorney and makes it clear that the city manager supervises the other appointed officers. That issue arose last fall when police department officials challenged the city manager, which resulted in the departure of two command officers and the chief.

The charter also allows the commission to contract with an outside party for police services if desired.

Commissioners can be suspended or removed upon conviction of a felony or a misdemeanor involving their office. They also are subject to removal for three consecutive unexcused absences from city commission meetings or for “incompetence, corruption, misconduct (or) malfeasance while in office.”

A special election must be called within 30 days if a mayoral vacancy occurs. The charter also requires that the names of unopposed candidates appear on election ballots, which does not occur in all Florida elections.

The charter grants authority for the city to levy property taxes, borrow money, issue bonds and impose special assessments. The city has the power to grant franchises, such as for utility services, or to operate municipal utilities.

A charter amendment can be voted on if 25 percent of the city’s registered voters sign a petition for the amendment. A review of the city charter also would be required every 10 years.

More Headlines

6 more local COVID-19 deaths as tri-county area continues to report new cases

Six more local residents have succumbed to COVID-19 as the number of people who have been hospitalized in the tri-county area hit 1,800 on Wednesday.

New era of trash collection begins in The Villages

A new era of trash collection is beginning in The Villages. Got questions? We've got answers.

Photos

Rainbow Over Mariel Way In The Village Of Hemingway

This rainbow was spotted over Mariel Way in the Village of Hemingway. Thanks to Diane Williams for sharing!

Limpkin Opens A Shellfish At Lake Mira Mar

Check out this limpkin catching and opening a shellfish by banging it on a rock at Lake Mira Mar. Thanks to Ron Clark for sharing!

Lightning Strike In The Village Of Amelia

Check out this lightning strike photographed from the Village of Amelia. Thanks to Abe Gzad for sharing!

Letters to the Editor

America is running out of time

In a Letter to the Editor, a Village of Santo Domingo resident warns that America may be running out of time.

Business

$28.7 million Lake Sumter Apartment Homes now open to renters

Lake Sumter Apartment Homes, a $28.7 million affordable housing community consisting of 158 apartment homes, is now open to renters.

Crime

Man arrested after family feud at popular southern cafe in Wildwood

A man was arrested after a family feud at a popular southern cafe in Wildwood.

Opinions

Head trauma likely contributed to Gale Sayers’ Dementia 

Legendary Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers died last week. He suffered from Dementia, which was likely exacerbated by head trauma suffered in the NFL. Dr. Gabe Mirkin looks back on the life of the Hall of Famer.

Top Stories

Man arrested after family feud at popular southern cafe in Wildwood

A man was arrested after a family feud at a popular southern cafe in Wildwood.

6 more local COVID-19 deaths as tri-county area continues to report new cases

Six more local residents have succumbed to COVID-19 as the number of people who have been hospitalized in the tri-county area hit 1,800 on Wednesday.

New era of trash collection begins in The Villages

A new era of trash collection is beginning in The Villages. Got questions? We've got answers.

Letters to the Editor

America is running out of time

In a Letter to the Editor, a Village of Santo Domingo resident warns that America may be running out of time.

Importance of everyone’s vote in this election

A reader from Massachusetts writes about the importance of casting a ballot in the upcoming election. Read his Letter to the Editor.

Social Security could run out of money by 2023

Many Americans are worried about the future of Social Security. Read this Letter to the Editor.

Crime

Man arrested after family feud at popular southern cafe in Wildwood

A man was arrested after a family feud at a popular southern cafe in Wildwood.

Baby snatched from mother by armed man at apartment complex

An 18-month-old baby was snatched from his mother by an armed man at an apartment complex in Lady Lake.

Suspect arrested after alleged stealing spree at Sam’s Club

A suspect was arrested after an alleged stealing spree at Sam’s Club in Lady Lake. He had been arrested in 2015 in The Villages.