Addressing Water Supply Concerns in Winter Springs: Recent Update From the Director of Utilities

Addressing Water Supply Concerns in Winter Springs: Recent Update From the Director of Utilities

Residents of Winter Springs,

Here is an update from Bilal Iftikhar, the Director of Utilities regarding the concerns of the Water Distribution System in Winter Springs:

We understand that recent boil water alerts and concerns related to our water distribution system have caused inconvenience and frustration for many of our valued residents. We want to assure you that we are fully committed to addressing these issues to ensure the safety and reliability of our water supply.We empathize with the hardships this has caused for you and your families. 

1. What does the City currently have in reserve for the express use of equipment replacement at the end of it’s expected useful life? 

The City currently has reserves of approximately $16 million.  This was recently presented as part of the proposed budget/rate study for water/wastewater utilities in the coming years with a budget of $166 million.  Along with the proposed rate increase, the City anticipates taking SRF (state revolving fund loans) and utilizing much of the existing reserves in order to push forward with necessary projects, with the most significant being development of two new wastewater treatment facilities (as the current wastewater treatment facilities are well beyond there useful life).  Note we are also seeking grants where possible, but these are often project specific and limited in nature.  The City also currently has $18 million in ARPA funds which are anticipated in this budget. 

2. When did the City most recently engage with a third party firm that is capable of performing a full engineering study on the City’s water supply infrastructure? 

The most recent engineering contract was established in 2021, which was a reselection of the City’s on-call engineering consultants.  Specific to water/wastewater, the initial focus of this contract was the treatment facilities.  At that time, the primary needs surrounded potable water quality with improvements at water plant #1.  On the wastewater side, urgent repairs and replacement of the two aging/failing wastewater treatment plants were the major focus.  Additional items also included lift station rehabilitation, reclaimed system expansion, and reliability projects such as backup generators.  The City also engaged engineering consultants to develop a wastewater/reclaimed master plan to identify system need, which helped to create much of the currently established Capital Improvement Program (CIP). 

Since I joined the City, which was only about 5 months ago, I have established a plan for our wastewater treatment facilities, the next step will be to focus on the collection and distribution system piping.  Primarily, given the continuing failures in the potable system, we plan to focus on the potable distribution system in 2024. Our goal is to begin a City-wide look at the potable water system assets, including a valve assessment program and pipeline prioritization for future repair/replacement.   With more than 150 miles of water main, this will take time to accomplish, and improvements will require funding.  We have already established needs for some pipeline replacement, but we expect more recommendations will come out of these analyses.  For this reason, our proposed budget carries an annual pipeline replacement line item. Even with the increase,  funds are limited and repairs and replacements will have to be planned strategically.

3. What are the current approved and funded plans for replacement of aged, defective and inoperable equipment including water treatment plants, potable water supply lines, sewer return lines, lift stations, pumping station, etc.? 

The City has recently established an updated Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for utilities.  This identified numerous projects including two new wastewater treatment plants, lift station replacements, and other collection system improvements.  On the potable side, this includes further optimization of the treatment processes, reliability improvements, water main assessment, valve and water main replacements. A copy of the current CIP is attached for your reference. Please note this CIP list is not final, and we will continue to update information as we determine necessary projects (such as water main replacements). Related to the CIP, please note that we recently conducted and presented a rate study based on our proposed CIP to the commission.  The rate study proposes significant rate increases in the coming years in order to fund the proposed CIP. However, the rate increases are not yet approved. 

Since joining the City, my goal is to remain very open to our community with our goals and plans to improve upon the City’s water/wastewater infrastructure.  However, the expected projects are not a simple undertaking.  Completion of these projects to improve the City will take many years and require the funding to pay for them. This will require the support from our City leadership and citizens. 

Additional comments on recent main breaks: 

I noted some concerns about the recent water main breaks.  Remaining open in our communication, I’m providing you with some information below: 

First, I’m sorry that our residents have to deal with the breaks and the inconvenience that goes along with these breaks, such as low pressure and boil water alerts. I can assure you we are also concerned with the recent continued water main breaks which have occurred.  Please note there are a variety of reasons for the system breaks, and each of the recent breaks have occurred for different reasons, varying from nearby structures inducing a failure to fiber contractors drilling through the pipe. A few of the many factors which can lead to breaks include: 

  1. Aging infrastructure – This is a challenge in every municipality. Certain materials/era’s of construction are more vulnerable than others. We are aware of areas of the system which have pipe material which is more prone to breaks and we are focusing on these areas.   
  2. Loading – External loading/forces and soil conditions can often lead to failure when the pipe cannot handle loading from the nearby forces (vehicle, structures, etc).  In particular when soils “soften” in wet/flooded conditions, the pipe becomes more vulnerable. 
  3. Nearby Construction – Often, area construction work such as installation of other utilities by 3rd party contractors can lead to a failure.  A few of the recent failures are related to directional drilling of fiber which hit our utilities. We have also recently met with fiber contractors to address recent issues. 
  4. Crossings – Special crossings or conflicts with other utilities (mostly underground) are often more vulnerable (these are difficult to find, such as when a pipe was improperly installed against another structure, which ultimately leads to a failure) 
  5. Storm Events – Note that Hurricane Ian caused a record amount of flooding and impacts to the City, which washed out structures, uprooted trees, etc (impacting pipelines with it).  This accounted for many of the water main breaks last year. 

We believe some more recent failures may still be related to flooding impacts from last year, in particular with settlement/movement which could add to pipeline stress/loading. 

We as a City are not alone, and unfortunately, every utility will experience main breaks.  With that said, the City recognizes that there are areas of the City which were originally developed with pipeline which is more likely to break than other materials.  We will remain focused on these items, but again, please understand that this will take time and will require funding to accomplish. 

Thank you for your patience, understanding and support as we plan and then work though this crucial endeavor. We are committed to making the necessary improvements, and we are confident that, with your support, our water distribution system will be better than ever.


Bilal Iftikhar  

Community Update: New Residential Projects Moving Forward in Winter Springs

Community Update: New Residential Projects Moving Forward in Winter Springs

I’m excited to share with you updates on two major residential projects that have recently received approval from the Winter Springs City Commission, demonstrating the city’s commitment to responsible growth and community development.

Hickory Grove Townhomes

First, Mattamy Homes is in the process of constructing a 132-unit townhome community near the intersection of S.R. 434 and Tuskawilla Road, in close proximity to Winter Springs High School and a Publix-anchored shopping center. The community will feature four different two-story townhome floorplans ranging from 1,476 to 1,709 square feet. The project will include 4.3 acres of open space that will consist of amenities such as a pool, cabana, playground, and dog park, enhancing the quality of life for future residents.

Senior Living Facility

Secondly, Amco Development is preparing to begin work on an amenity-rich, 140-unit independent living facility for residents 65 and older. Located at the intersection of S.R. 434 and Fountaintree Drive, this facility will offer modern living spaces and upscale amenities designed to foster social connections and promote well-being for our senior residents. Amenities will include a restaurant, bistro, hair salon/spa, small movie theater, and areas for arts and crafts, enriching the lives of residents and their guests.

Collaborative Decision-Making

I would like to acknowledge the Planning and Zoning Board’s diligent work in reviewing these projects. After extensive deliberation and collaboration with developers to align the projects more closely with city codes, the board has ensured that these new additions will not only meet but exceed our community’s standards.

Commitment to Sustainable Growth

It’s worth noting that the City Commission lifted its growth moratorium in late July, which had been imposed earlier in the year to focus on improvements to our stormwater infrastructure. These two projects symbolize the forward momentum that Winter Springs is taking in its development, always with an eye toward sustainability and the well-being of its residents.

Your Feedback Matters

We understand that new developments can raise questions and concerns. As always, my door is open for discussions regarding these and future projects. Together, we can ensure that Winter Springs remains a community we’re proud to call home.

Thank you for your continued trust and support.

Warm regards,

Victoria Colangelo

City Commissioner, Winter Springs

Winter Springs High School’s Tradition of Painted Parking Spaces: A Legacy of Community, Creativity, and Continuity

Winter Springs High School’s Tradition of Painted Parking Spaces: A Legacy of Community, Creativity, and Continuity

By Victoria Colangelo, Winter Springs City Commissioner District 2, Mother, Entrepreneur, and Proud Supporter of WSHS

Nestled in the heart of Winter Springs, the Winter Springs High School (WSHS) stands as a beacon of learning, community, and pride. With its official colors of purple, black, and gold, and the mighty Bear as its mascot, WSHS has been serving over 2,000 Seminole County students since it opened its doors in 1997. From its humble beginnings with 9th and 10th graders, to celebrating its first graduating senior class in 2000, this institution has witnessed two decades of excellence in academics, arts, and athletics.

One of the school’s most cherished traditions is the senior-painted parking spaces. This annual event sees seniors transform the school’s parking lot into a colorful canvas, allowing them to weave a piece of their journey into the very fabric of the school. Beyond its visual appeal and the fundraiser aspect, this tradition embodies the school’s mission, ensuring students graduate with the values, skills, knowledge, and attitudes to be active contributors to society.

As seasons change and the year concludes, another beautiful ritual takes shape: painting over the artwork in anticipation of the next batch of stories to be told. A fresh start for the next generation.

Having been an active member of the Winter Springs community, I’ve seen firsthand the power of such traditions in shaping our students. As a mother, an entrepreneur with a deep-rooted love for the environment, and a City Commissioner, I’ve always believed in creating and supporting initiatives that blend economic growth with cultural and environmental conservation.

The painting tradition at WSHS does just that. It’s an initiative that raises funds, fosters creativity, and instills a sense of belonging. It reminds us of the importance of cherishing memories while also looking forward to what the future holds.

As we celebrate the past and anticipate the future, I am reminded of the values that Winter Springs High School has always stood for. It’s more than just a school; it’s a community that binds us, an institution that reminds us of where we come from, and a beacon that lights up the path to where we’re headed.

To the young artists of WSHS, thank you for sharing your stories, dreams, and creativity with us. Here’s to many more years of painted memories!

Thank you for being a part of the “I Love Oviedo Winter Springs” journey. Let’s continue to grow, cherish our traditions, and work towards an even brighter future.

Senior Parking Space Painting 2023

WSHS History



Pursuant to Section 197.3632, Florida Statutes, each of the following assessment rolls shall be certified to the Seminole County

Tax Collector prior to September 15, 2023, along with any necessary changes subsequent to the date hereof permitted under Sections 3.12 and 4.12 of the Ordinance and the Uniform Assessment Collection Act.

A. Tuscawilla Improvement Area. The non-ad valorem assessment roll on file with the City Clerk for the Tuscawilla Improvement Area is hereby approved, such roll setting the annual rate of $36.00 per Equivalent Residential Unit (reflecting no change compared to the prior year amount and $7.00 less than the maximum rate of $43.00 previously authorized by the City.

B. Tuscawilla Maintenance Assessment Area. The non-ad valorem assessment roll on file with the City Clerk for the Tuscawilla Maintenance Assessment Area is hereby approved, such roll setting the annual rate of $128.00 per Equivalent Residential Unit (reflecting an increase of $8.00 compared to the prior year amount and being equal to the maximum rate of $128.00 previously authorized by the City).

C. Oak Forest Assessment Area (Maintenance). The non-ad valorem assessment roll on file with the City Clerk for the Oak Forest Assessment Area (Maintenance) is hereby approved, such roll setting the annual rate of $60.00 per Benefit Unit (reflecting no change from the prior year amount and $3.00 less than the maximum rate of $63.00 previously authorized by the City).

D. Tuscawilla Phase III Assessment Area (Capital). The non-ad valorem assessment roll on file with the City Clerk for the Tuscawilla (Phase III) Assessment Area (Capital) is hereby approved, such roll setting the annual rate of $88.00 per Beneficial Unit (reflecting an increase of $3.00 compared to the prior year amount and being equal to the maximum rate of $88.00 previously authorized by the City).

E. Tuscawilla Phase III Assessment Area (Maintenance). The non-ad valorem assessment roll on file with the City Clerk for the Tuscawilla (Phase III) Assessment Area (Maintenance) is hereby approved, such roll setting the annual rate of $87.00 per Benefit Unit (reflecting no change compared to the prior year amount and compared to the maximum rate of $87.00 previously authorized by the City).

The Grove Expansion: A Mental Health Treatment Facility

The Grove Expansion: A Mental Health Treatment Facility

The Grove (IMPOWER Florida), is seeking a Conditional Use approval to expand their existing building. The Grove is an existing mental health treatment facility located on the north side of Old Sanford Oviedo Road in Winter Springs.

The subject site is approximately 14.5 acres of land and houses six (6) individual buildings. GCC_IMPOWER is currently licensed by the State of Florida Department of Children and Family (DCF) for 32 beds. This Conditional Use application is seeking to renovate an unused and unfurnished building and repurpose it to house female patients to allow them to apply to DCF to increase the number of permitted beds from 32 to 48 total.

The Grove Counseling Center was established in 1971 in Winter Springs and has been serving the surrounding community for more than 50 years. In 2007, Grove Counseling Center submitted a Conditional Use Application to add a 24’ by 36’ classroom building,

which was approved. The Grove Counseling Center and IMPOWER merged in 2018 to form a new organization (now IMPOWER) with more than 75+ years of combined experience in treating mental health and substance use disorders.

The Grove supports adolescents suffering from alcohol or substance abuse and in need of a more intensive individual support plan. Our voluntary residential program is available for youth 13-17 years old and the recommended stay ranges from three to six months depending on the individual’s progress.

The applicant is seeking a new conditional use approval to allow modification and 2,500 sq. ft. addition to one of the existing buildings near the southeast corner of the site.

A conditional use is required pursuant to Sec. 20-261(3) for Halfway houses, group homes and similar uses.

New Proposed Independent Living Facility; a 55+ community

New Proposed Independent Living Facility; a 55+ community

1164 E. State Road 434 Winter Springs, FL 32708

±180,348 sq. ft., 4-story independent living facility; with a two-story 22,430 sq. ft. clubhouse/communal living area and bistro and with two four-story residential wings with 144 units and a total of 157,918 sq. ft.

The project site is made up of two parcels, one in Winter Springs and one in Longwood. The parcel in Winter Springs is 7.66 acres and makes up 92% of the site while the parcel in Longwood is 0.70 acres and makes up the other 8% of the site.

The proposed development will have a central clubhouse that will offer a restaurant, bistro, hair salon/spa, small movie theater, and areas for arts and crafts.

The applicant’s fiscal impact analysis, estimates that the increase in annual tax revenue for the city will be in excess of $90,000.

Winter Springs Lift Station Back-Up Generators Update

Winter Springs Lift Station Back-Up Generators Update

There are 49 lift stations currently in the City of Winter Springs; 16 currently have back-up generators. An additional five (5) additional generators have been approved to purchase with funds from the Capital Improvements budget.

When low areas of land or where pipe depth underground becomes excessive, pump stations or lift stations are installed. These stations lift the wastewater to a higher point so it can again flow by gravity, or the wastewater can be pumped under pressure directly to the treatment plant. The generators will prevent sanitary sewer overflows when the electricity goes out!

Staying Informed: 2023 Update on Winter Springs’ Solid Waste Fund

Staying Informed: 2023 Update on Winter Springs’ Solid Waste Fund

As your City Commissioner, I am committed to keeping you informed about our city’s services, and today, I have some vital updates to share about our Solid Waste Fund and a proposed rate increase for 2023.

A Brief Recap of Solid Waste Services

Since March 1, 2006, the City has maintained a Solid Waste Franchise Agreement with Waste Pro of Florida, Inc. This agreement set the monthly residential rate at $18.10, a stable rate for over 18 years. Weekly services under this agreement include two solid waste pickups, one recycling pickup, and one yard waste pickup.

While our waste collection services have helped keep Winter Springs clean and green, the cost of providing these services and managing landfill costs has increased over the years. Therefore, the existing rate of $18.10 has been under review.

The Need for Review & Proposed Increase

In line with the changing expenditures, a proposed Solid Waste Rate Increase is on the horizon for 2023. This would change the rate to approximately $21.36-$28.24 per household per month, with additional annual increases projected for the next 10 years.

Please view the detailed findings of the Solid Waste Rate Study in the slide below:

Thank you for your understanding and your commitment to our community’s cleanliness and sustainability. Stay tuned for further updates on this matter.

Remember, if you have any concerns or comments regarding our city’s services, I am always available to listen. Feel free to reach out to me at

Creek Debris Removal in Winter Springs

Creek Debris Removal in Winter Springs

On August 8, 2023, the City of Winter Springs embarked on a significant environmental enhancement project: the clearing of debris from our city’s creeks! This initiative will not only bolster our environment but also ensure that stormwater flows smoothly throughout our beloved city, safeguarding against possible flooding and enhancing the natural beauty of our waterways.

Thanks to a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS), Looks Great Services of Columbia, Mississippi, will begin the essential task of clearing debris from five separate creeks to restore functionality and improve the smooth flow of stormwater throughout the City.

For those interested in the project’s specifics:

Funding Dynamics: The NRCS grant is a significant boon, covering up to 75% of the project’s total cost. The City of Winter Springs, committed as always to the betterment of its environment and infrastructure, will fund the remaining 25%.

Project Flow and Duration: Starting with Gee Creek, the project will systematically progress to Bear, Howell, No Name, and finally, Sheoah Creeks. Given the scale and importance of the project, it’s anticipated to span several weeks, ensuring that each creek gets the dedicated attention it requires.

Visual Mapping: For residents keen to understand the areas that will be under focus, we have detailed maps available.

The project will start with work along Gee Creek, followed by Bear, Howell, No Name, and Sheoah Creeks, and is expected to take several weeks to complete.

We’re excited about this project, and its implications for Winter Springs. Restoring the natural flow and beauty of our creeks is a step towards a cleaner, greener, and safer city. We urge all residents to be patient and cooperative during this period, ensuring that the crews can carry out their tasks seamlessly.

Your feedback and observations are always invaluable. Please reach out with any comments or concerns. Together, let’s make Winter Springs a beacon of environmental responsibility and beauty.

2023 Winter Springs City Update: Mayor Kevin McCain Reflects on Progress and Challenges

2023 Winter Springs City Update: Mayor Kevin McCain Reflects on Progress and Challenges

Hometown Hill Day: A Central Florida Leadership Forum, an event produced by the Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Kevin McCain of Winter Springs recently provided a comprehensive update on the state of the city. The forum served as an open platform for federal, state, and local officials to discuss and promote awareness about different political issues affecting the community.

The forum featured panel discussions that included prominent political commentators and experts, federal, state, and local officials such as Jason Brodeur (Florida State Senator District 10), Rachel Plakon (Florida State Representative District 36), and several other dignitaries, including Mayor McCain.

Addressing the congregation, Mayor Kevin McCain of Winter Springs delivered the State of the Union update for the city, in which he highlighted:

  1. Recognition of city commissioners, city staff, contractors, and other partners contributing to the city’s success.
  2. Brief history of Winter Springs, originally known as North Orlando, and now shares a symbiotic relationship with the Tusall community that makes up about half of the city.
  3. The city’s prime location with close proximity to downtown Orlando and the excellent services provided by the police department. The city ranked 4th safest in the state in 2022.
  4. Challenges and action plans after the 2022 hurricane season, which caused extensive water damage. The city is working on strengthening stormwater systems, with around $10 million in federal grants obtained for reinforcement and clearing of water systems.
  5. Body cameras for police officers funded with the help of Representative Smith, ensuring transparency and safety.
  6. The city’s strong financial position, with improved pension fund and bond ratings, and a consistent property tax rate with no increases for 14 years.
  7. Ongoing parks initiative that has resulted in park upgrades and addition of new facilities like bathrooms, basketball courts, and pickleball courts.
  8. Hosting of annual events such as the celebration of Freedom for Fireworks display, hometown Harvest, a music festival in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, Winter Wonderland Parade, and the Scottish Highland Games.
  9. Major infrastructure project, the largest in the city’s history, for the replacement of antiquated wastewater treatment plants. The $100 million project is crucial for the environment and property values, and is expected to start next year.
  10. Commitment to maintaining the brand and character of Winter Springs, with the aim to control the type and quality of incoming developments.

Mayor McCain closed the address by inviting questions from the audience, ensuring transparency and willingness to discuss any issue related to the city.

This event was a part of the five-session program organized to enable participants to engage in meaningful discussions about the current state of affairs and to meet with elected officials who could aid in implementing change. 

Participating Panelists Jason Brodeur – Florida State Senator District 10 Rachel Plakon – Florida State Representative District 36 Susan Plasencia – Florida State Representative District 37 David Smith – Florida State Representative District 38 Doug Bankson – Florida State Representative District 39 Bob Dallari – Seminole County Commissioner District 1 Lee Constantine – Seminole County Commissioner District 3 Amy Lockhart – Seminole County Commissioner District 4 David Johnson – Seminole County Property Appraiser Grant Maloy – Seminole County Clerk of the Courts Sheriff Dennis Lemma – Seminole County Sheriff Chris Anderson – Seminole County Supervisor of Elections J.R. Kroll – Seminole County Tax Collector Megan Sladek – Mayor of Oviedo Kevin McCann – Mayor of Winter Springs * Speakers subject to change

The Hometown Hill Day event was a testament to the importance of open dialogue and engagement between community leaders and the public in shaping the future of our cities.

For more information on Mayor McCain’s address or any other discussions at the event, contact Jordan Hook at the Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Remember, the views shared by the participants, including Mayor McCain, are their own and do not reflect the endorsement of the Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce.