Today is a BIG day in terms of moving forward with the new library-events center. At 3:30 p.m. at the Orange County Courthouse, Judge Schriber of the Ninth Circuit Couty will hear the bond validation suit and review all of the facts of the case. A full validation gives purchasers of the bonds Winter Parkers approved last spring assurance that the marketability or value of the bonds won’t be affected by outstanding questions or issues. An added benefit is that it will give the bonds the best possible rating and keep the interest rate low. Everything is looking good in preparation for the hearing and we expect a reasonable resolution in a timely manner.
With opponents of the new Library using location as their excuse to fight the outcome of the March referendum, some of the key issues considered will be about the promised location of the site of the current civic center at Martin Luther King Jr. Park. The City’s attorney and the State Attorney’s office have agreed not to hold up the validation suit with a separate hearing about location but the issue will come up at Thursday’s hearing. It’s possible the judge will decline to decide not to hear evidence about the location, but we sincerely hope she will and we can put these issues to rest once and for all.
Our partners at the City remain steadfast in their belief in this project. City Director of Communication Clarissa Howard said "The State Attorney's decision to enter into the stipulation agreement will help expedite the legal process for all involved. The city's goal is to honor the will of the 5,416 voters who voted to build a world-class library and events center for this community."
State Attorney Jeff Ashton also wrote an open letter to the Winter Park community better explaining his office’s involvement and giving a summary of the state’s positions in the case, concluding that ultimately it is up to the judge as to whether she wishes to include the location in the ruling. In summary, the letter says:
1. The state does not oppose validation.
2. The state doesn’t have any interest in the location, which he believes to be for local elected officials to decide, or the courts if necessary.
3. The state will take the position that the location should not be a part of this case but that decision must ultimately be made by the court itself.
4. He knows the City’s intent is argue for inclusion of the location in the suit. If the court decides to include it, the state will not take the lead in presenting evidence regarding location.
To read the documents for yourself:
It could take some time for the judge to fully consider the evidence presented. We'll keep you posted. Hopefully, we will have a positive resolution soon and can begin building the 21st century library-events center residents chose for themselves last March.