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OP/ED

Olsen: "Clearly, our community's needs are not being met due to our lack of infrastructure and continued struggles"

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Editor's Note: Rod Olsen is a former HOA President of Rock Springs Ridge and an Apopka resident who often contributes his opinions at the Apopka City Council meetings during the public comments section and in frequent op/eds to The Apopka Voice. Olsen sent this open letter to members of the Apopka City Council, and it was published in The Apopka Voice with his permission.

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The email I sent last year still applies to our 2024-2025 budget year. Clearly, our community's needs are not being met due to our lack of infrastructure and the continued struggles in our City, but we cannot fix yesterday. 

We expect that you will not allow our past failures to repeat themselves going forward.  We cannot continue to kick the can down the road hoping that our new resident growth will cover our current needs, much less meet the needs of our growth.  

Rod Olsen
Rod Olsen

When you look at the condition of our roads, sidewalks, pond volcano, parks, general lack of infrastructure, continued use of portable classrooms, etc., to meet our current, much less our ever-growing needs, we must take timely and appropriate action. If we need more staff and the equipment, supplies, and materials to get the job done timely and appropriately, we look to you to ensure that we budget and staff for this.

Please understand that as a taxpayer, I don't want to see our taxes increase if it can be avoided. We have also gotten what we have paid for.

I strongly urge each of you to personally meet with each City Department Head to discuss their staffing, equipment and material needs.  

The NFPA states that we should have 1.53 Firefighters per 1,000 residents. Using our 59,000 current residents, that equates to 90 Firefighters. 

The Florida Department of Labor identifies the average number of Police Officers in Florida per 1,000 residents with schools as 2.53. Using our current 59,000 residents, that equates to 149 Officers. No one wants to see a critical event as the trigger for our Police Department to staff to the levels needed. 

Our 35 square miles is a lot of territory to cover and must be factored into the equation.  If an Officer has an emergent need for support, especially in Zone 1, how long will it take for support to arrive?

The current condition of our athletic fields in our Northwest Recreational Complex clearly identifies the fact that we either don't have the staff needed and/or they don't have the equipment, supplies, and materials needed to be successful.  In addition, we need to have enough fields so as to allow proper rest for the fields due to the continued and heavy use.  The same can be said of the condition of Camp Wewa and our other parks. 

I urge each of you to meet with and research each and every department to ensure that we have the right personnel, the right number of personnel, and the right equipment, supplies, and materials for them to be successful in carrying out their respective responsibilities.  Let their needs be the trigger for our new millage rate, whatever that may be.

Thank you for listening.

Please let me know if I can be of assistance.

Rod Olsen, Apopka City Council, Apopka, Infrastructure, OP/ED, Opinion, Schools, City of Apopka

Comments

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  • DrOlmstead

    With the constant hiring, firing, and attrition, what are the employee counts for each department?

    We need an online department score card of employees so that we can see staffing levels. How else are we to know what is really happening?

    As it is, we can see who works in what departments, their phone numbers, or locations online.

    For example, other departments can only call utilities billing to speak to anyone in the water department. There is no public directory or page for the department.

    4 days ago Report this