News-Sun photo by KATARA SIMMONS South Florida State College's 223-acre campus has been annexed into the city limits of Avon Park.
published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
AP annexes college
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
AVON PARK -- It is official. Following a unanimous vote by the city council Monday night, South Florida State College is now a part of the City of Charm. College President Norman Stephens and Vice President of Administrative Service Glenn Little were in the audience.
Stephens told the News-Sun Tuesday he is very pleased the city and college were able to make the annexation happen. "It's only fitting," Stephens said. "The college and the SFSC Foundation have a long history with the City of Avon Park. In the fall of 1966, the first classes offered by South Florida Junior College were held (on Main Street). The City of Avon Park started us out on our journey."
Tuesday, City Manager Julian Deleon issued a press release. "This annexation will benefit the college with inside-city-limits utility rates. This could save the college $40,00 to $50,000 annually. In contrast, the city will gain a large scale sanitation account."
Former mayor Tom Macklin was the only individual to express concern about annexation. He worried about some of the financial details.
It was his understanding, he said, that the college is responsible for paying franchise fees to the city. He said the city would now be refunding those fees to the college, yet, the city had not disclosed how much those refunds would cost.
"This (the annexation process) has been going on for a good 18 months and no one knows how much the city will be paying the college. Is there a dollar amount you could share with us that's a part of the agreement?" Macklin said.
Macklin was concerned the city had compromised with the college regarding the fees in order to bring about the voluntary annexation. Legally, there needed to be a written agreement regarding those fees, he said.
City attorney Gerald Buhr told Macklin, "We do have a written agreement that they will be reimbursed."
Deleon told the News-Sun, "As a result of the annexation, the college would be required to pay the city franchise fees. The city council agreed to reimburse such amounts ... to promote higher level education within city limits. In essence, we are refunding back to the college any franchise fees paid to the city."
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