Tag: slowly

Town Council proceeding slowly toward resolution on recreation facility

Presented by its Administration with a number of questions and observations concerning the proposed multi-use Recreation Facility, Town Council, at its most recent meeting, found itself in a position of having as many questions as answers.

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At its core, progress on the project is, and has been, slowed by three main concerns, all of which can be generally classified under the topic of “finances”. They are:

–  lack of a well researched cost estimate for the building.  Presently, as proposed, the facility is to have a footprint of 15,200 sq. ft. and, as of this writing, the latest cost forecast is $1.3 million. There has been mention of a basement but that was described as being negotiable.

– lack of confirmed public and private sector financial supporters/donors who, to this point in time, have not been fully solicited or have been reticent about making financial commitments without being made fully aware of anticipated costs and the resultant potential amount which might be asked of them.    

– and finally, lack of well established estimates of annual operating costs.

Out of deliberations on these concerns, there arose conversations on other matters, however brief some may have been. They include:

–  eligibility of financial contributions for tax receipts. Administration confirmed that cash donations, which should be received by year end, are eligible for tax receipts.

– without cost certainty there is the possibility of having to reduce, postpone  or eliminate future planned projects.

– lack of cost certainty is giving rise to speculation on possible tax increases.

– Administration brought to the attention of Council that Provincial regulations prohibit a Municipality from borrowing for a project that has already commenced; consequently, should borrowing be required for the project, a bylaw which authorizes said borrowing will have to be passed prior to construction.  It must be stated here however that the need for borrowing is not anticipated.

– aesthetics of the building. Given the proposed location of the facility near the Temple at the E..J. Wood property, Council must be credited with concern about the building’s exterior appearance. Exterior material, the cost of which is to be borne through fundraising is yet to be determined.  

– going forward, to provide further resources for the project, members of the previously constituted Recreation Facility Ad Hoc Committee will be asked to become involved.

– once all the pertinent, required information concerning the project has been established, it is the intention of Council to consult the public to determine their level of enthusiasm and acceptance. The manner in which that consultation is to be accomplished is yet to be determined.

This article began with mention of the subject of “finances”. It will end on that same topic.

As mentioned above, the latest cost estimate for the building is $1.3 million. A major portion of that total, $1.0 million has been allocated by the Town Council to its 2020 CY Capital Budget and will be paid for out of that budget. The balance, $300,000, will be

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Osceola County’s vacation rentals slowly rebounding, Experience Kissimmee leader says

Osceola County’s luxury vacation rental industry has rebounded to about 60% average occupancy after the coronavirus pandemic abruptly canceled people’s plans earlier this year, Experience Kissimmee’s CEO DT Minich says.



a house on the side of a road: Mostly vacant vacation rental properties at Encore Resort at Reunion, on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. rEmpty neighborhoods of vacation homes are hurting Osceola County’s economy, angry property managers say as they are upset the governor hasn’t loosened restrictions on vacation rentals. In Osceola County alone, there are 30,000 licensed vacation homes. Some people are calling to try and book a vacation home so they can isolate with more space and with a pool but properties are having to turn customers away. The governor doesn’t want out-of-towners traveling to Florida; vacation home owners argue their industry is much safer than hotels.r


© Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/ Orlando Sentinel/Orlando Sentinel/TNS
Mostly vacant vacation rental properties at Encore Resort at Reunion, on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. rEmpty neighborhoods of vacation homes are hurting Osceola County’s economy, angry property managers say as they are upset the governor hasn’t loosened restrictions on vacation rentals. In Osceola County alone, there are 30,000 licensed vacation homes. Some people are calling to try and book a vacation home so they can isolate with more space and with a pool but properties are having to turn customers away. The governor doesn’t want out-of-towners traveling to Florida; vacation home owners argue their industry is much safer than hotels.r

“We have seen a steady increase in recovery. We’re still nowhere near where we would have been a year ago in terms of occupancy and economic impact,” Minich said Tuesday during a virtual news conference held by Experience Kissimmee intended to promote tourism and help build consumer confidence as fears still exist of traveling during the pandemic.

Experience Kissimmee is a publicly funded tourism marketing agency.

Osceola has built a reputation touting itself as Florida’s vacation rental capital where some neighborhoods were built almost completely for vacationers and their families to rent. But during the pandemic, vacation rentals weren’t allowed to operate by the state until May.

Looking ahead, Minich spoke optimistically about future reservations with the holiday season weeks away, although he did not provide specific figures.

“We are seeing a lot of interest in the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods, so I would advise people if they want that perfect home, they should book now,” Minich said.

To make sure vacation rentals aren’t rented to hold parties for large gatherings, Minich said Experience Kissimmee is working with rental properties and law enforcement.

“We’ve really worked actively and successfully in downplaying this and not having this activity,” Minich said.

Joining Minich in the news conference were leaders who operated hotels and vacation homes who highlighted their social distancing and health safety protocols.

Many of the visitors are traveling by car to Reunion Resort and Golf Club, as in-state travel grows, said Mariela Perre, a manager at the resort.

“We all still have a need to travel. We all still have a need to get a break,” said Perre, who highlighted the vacation rental homes where families stay under one roof and have their own pool.

The new trend: Last-minute bookings.

People book their trip the week of or within days before the weekend, she said.

“That’s why the weekends have become very popular,” she said. “We’ve had a downsizing of staff that we’ve started having to bring everyone back and help because you’re talking about a resort of 2,300 acres.”

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