The Aug. 11 Zoom meeting of the Westchase Voting Members saw VMs run through a practice Zoom election and a presentation by Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman.
Nearly three dozen VMs and residents attended.
Government Affairs Committee (GAC) Chair Eric Holt introduced Murman as part of the GAC’s legislative updates. Murman opened by talking about the local pandemic numbers, observing that the positivity and death rates were still high. “Wear a mask. Watch your distance. And watch for large crowds you may be in,” she said.
She then detailed how the county was spending $256 million it received in CARES Act money, stating the county was assisting some of the 90,000 currently unemployed county residents with rent and utility bills while also assisting struggling businesses.
Murman said that the county’s budget will likely be hit very hard next year by the crisis and added, “We are anticipating a flood of people being homeless after the evictions limitations are lifted.”
Murman also detailed much of the work the county has done in the Westchase area, including road improvements and traffic control improvements in West Park Village, as well as the Citrus Park Drive extension, stating that her helping to win its funding was one of her proudest moments.
Murman then fielded a number of questions from Voting Members (VMs), addressing concerns about families visiting relatives in nursing homes, steps the county uses to ensure pandemic aid is used for its intended purposes and the status of the county transportation tax currently being litigated as well as the hole it will leave in the county’s transportation budget if overturned.
Mentioning that the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) is taking the county’s lead on reopening the playgrounds, WCA President Shawn Yesner asked what the county’s plans were. Murman stated that some had been reopened but added they had not reopened all. “With COVID, it is a safety issue,” she said. “We opened parks early on and peoples started congregating.” She added that there were added challenges and costs to reopening parks with restrooms, which, she said, needed far more regular cleaning to keep them safe.
Turning to business matters, VMs filled a vacancy on the Variance Committee, which hears appeals of Modifications Committee denials, by unanimously appointing Chelmsford VM Charles Stephens. VMs also reappointed the committee members—Stephens, Shawn Yesner, Jim Wimsatt, Brian Loudermilk and the WCA’s architect—to new two-year terms beginning in October.
Taking up the balance of the nearly two hour meeting was a practice board election, hosted by Nominating Committee Members Eric Holt, Heather Greeley-Hessefort and Russ Crooks, to familiarize VMs with the electronic voting software they will use at September’s annual meeting, which will be held over Zoom. Winning the most votes in the mock election were Scooby-Doo, Tweety Bird and Casper the Friendly Ghost. Yosemite Sam and Elmer Fudd finished at the bottom of voting.
Closing the meeting, Yesner returned to last month’s question asked by VM Mary Griffin (WPV Single Family Homes) about VMs’ ability to get items placed on the meeting agenda. Yesner stated that, absent items that fall outside of VMs’ jurisdiction, he would place any item requested by VMs on the agenda. He added that Robert’s Rules of Order, which govern the meeting, enable VMs to request agenda amendments, subject to a VM vote of approval, at the start of a meeting.
Association Manager Debbie Sainz concluded by announcing that the WCA’s annual budget workshop will be held Monday, Aug. 31 at 6 p.m., likely via Zoom.
By Chris Barrett, Publisher