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Oviedo homeowners could see 20 percent tax increase, council member says

Oviedo homeowners could see their taxes increase by as much as 20 percent next year to avoid an almost $2 million shortfall, a councilwoman said.

Officials said the proposed budget is still a work in progress and that the cost to run the city continues to increase.

Officials said funding from property taxes is expected to increase by 10.7 percent next year, but funding from the state and other taxes are not increasing at the same rate, and health care costs continue to rise.

Read: Seminole County deputy reunited with 3-year-old girl left in hot car

"You would think if taxes are going up 10.7 percent, we ought to be OK," Oviedo Councilwoman Megan Sladek said. "But because only 40 percent of the budget comes from the portion of the budget that is going up that much, it's not going to work this year unless we make some cuts."

Although nothing has been decided yet, the Oviedo City Council might have to consider raising taxes to maintain the status quo, Sladek said.

"The information staff has shared with us -- it's going to take 14 to 20 percent additional, or we are going to have to figure out a way to shave off $1.9 million in hoped-for expenditures in the next fiscal year," she said.

Read: Robbery suspect leads deputies on two-county chase ending with crash

Assistant City Manager Patrick Kelly said they're taking a kitchen sink approach to the budget that will be whittled down to balance it.

"I think everything is a little premature at this point," he said. "When we present the balanced budget next month, we will know a little bit more."

A workshop will be held Monday night, but there will be no public comment. Oviedo must approve a new budget by July 31.

Oviedo homeowners could see 20 percent tax increase, council member says

Oviedo homeowners could see their taxes increase by as much as 20 percent next year to avoid an almost $2 million shortfall, a councilwoman said.

Officials said the proposed budget is still a work in progress and that the cost to run the city continues to increase.

Officials said funding from property taxes is expected to increase by 10.7 percent next year, but funding from the state and other taxes are not increasing at the same rate, and health care costs continue to rise.

Read: Seminole County deputy reunited with 3-year-old girl left in hot car

"You would think if taxes are going up 10.7 percent, we ought to be OK," Oviedo Councilwoman Megan Sladek said. "But because only 40 percent of the budget comes from the portion of the budget that is going up that much, it's not going to work this year unless we make some cuts."

Although nothing has been decided yet, the Oviedo City Council might have to consider raising taxes to maintain the status quo, Sladek said.

"The information staff has shared with us -- it's going to take 14 to 20 percent additional, or we are going to have to figure out a way to shave off $1.9 million in hoped-for expenditures in the next fiscal year," she said.

Read: Robbery suspect leads deputies on two-county chase ending with crash

Assistant City Manager Patrick Kelly said they're taking a kitchen sink approach to the budget that will be whittled down to balance it.

"I think everything is a little premature at this point," he said. "When we present the balanced budget next month, we will know a little bit more."

A workshop will be held Monday night, but there will be no public comment. Oviedo must approve a new budget by July 31.

Legal analyst weighs in on judge's decision to allow Gary Lindsey to walk free

It may be impossible to know what a criminal will do in the future, but judges have the burden of trying to predict it.

And when the man who killed four children last week and shot an Orlando police officer burned a house down in 2010, a judge thought probation, rehabilitation and restitution would be enough.

If Gary Lindsey had gone to prison for the arson, the children’s deaths may have been prevented. 

"I can probably count on one hand how many suspended sentences I've done," said former judge and WFTV legal analyst Belvin Perry.

Read: Judge approved deal that kept man in deadly Orlando standoff out of prison, records show

The judge could have ordered Lindsey to serve 36 years behind bars for burning his former girlfriend's house down eight years ago.

But instead, he gave him two years of house arrest, followed by probation.

"I can't find fault with the judge's rationale for why he did what he did," said Perry. 

The judge considered how Lindsey's diabetes and thyroid condition impaired him during the arson and the unsophisticated way in which he did it, with no attempt to hide evidence.

Read: 4 children held hostage were killed while they slept, police say

The judge also looked at Lindsey's ability to get a job and pay the victim $35,000 for damages.

"In the judge's mind, restitution was very important to attempt to make this victim whole," Perry said. 

Perry said the burden of trying to predict what a criminal will do in the future weighs heavily on all judges and sometimes their decisions haunt them. 

"It's the sort of things that leave judges not sleeping at night," he said. “I’ve seen judges actually cry and are just totally devastated because they don’t intentionally make bad decisions.” 

Read: Wife of Orlando officer in coma: ‘My kids need a daddy. This community needs a real hero'

Lindsey ended up violating his probation four times.

One of those violations was a grand theft at a Walmart. Again, the judge was still concerned about the arson victim getting her restitution back. 

The other three violations were technical.   

Legal analyst weighs in on judge's decision to allow Gary Lindsey to walk free

It may be impossible to know what a criminal will do in the future, but judges have the burden of trying to predict it.

And when the man who killed four children last week and shot an Orlando police officer burned a house down in 2010, a judge thought probation, rehabilitation and restitution would be enough.

If Gary Lindsey had gone to prison for the arson, the children’s deaths may have been prevented. 

"I can probably count on one hand how many suspended sentences I've done," said former judge and WFTV legal analyst Belvin Perry.

Read: Judge approved deal that kept man in deadly Orlando standoff out of prison, records show

The judge could have ordered Lindsey to serve 36 years behind bars for burning his former girlfriend's house down eight years ago.

But instead, he gave him two years of house arrest, followed by probation.

"I can't find fault with the judge's rationale for why he did what he did," said Perry. 

The judge considered how Lindsey's diabetes and thyroid condition impaired him during the arson and the unsophisticated way in which he did it, with no attempt to hide evidence.

Read: 4 children held hostage were killed while they slept, police say

The judge also looked at Lindsey's ability to get a job and pay the victim $35,000 for damages.

"In the judge's mind, restitution was very important to attempt to make this victim whole," Perry said. 

Perry said the burden of trying to predict what a criminal will do in the future weighs heavily on all judges and sometimes their decisions haunt them. 

"It's the sort of things that leave judges not sleeping at night," he said. “I’ve seen judges actually cry and are just totally devastated because they don’t intentionally make bad decisions.” 

Read: Wife of Orlando officer in coma: ‘My kids need a daddy. This community needs a real hero'

Lindsey ended up violating his probation four times.

One of those violations was a grand theft at a Walmart. Again, the judge was still concerned about the arson victim getting her restitution back. 

The other three violations were technical.   

Puerto Rican evacuees rally to extend shelter program

Some Puerto Rican evacuees and residents joined together to rally for the thousands of evacuees who could be left homeless when their Federal Emergency Management Agency temporary shelter assistance ends.

The rally happened just a week before the assistance ends and the same day Sen. Bill Nelson (D) met with local leaders to talk about the issue.

Activists along with evacuees said they don't want to be homeless and want help in transitioning to life in Central Florida.

. Vamos 4 Puerto Rico along w/ other organization rallying for 631 families that will be left homeless one their FEMA temporary assistance expires next week. pic.twitter.com/aeUlfxRg1S — Johny Fernandez (@jfernandezwftv) June 22, 2018

The main problem they're bumping into is affordable housing.

"We (couldn’t) work right away and it's really not realistic. It's really not," said Ariana Colon.

Colon left Puerto Rico with her boyfriend and son in December. 

She's one of 197 families in Orange County that Activists for Puerto Rican Evacuees say will be left on the streets once their temporary shelter assistance ends. 

Read: FEMA extends housing program for Puerto Ricans, then will fly them back to island

On Friday, different activist groups came to rally for evacuees living in hotels. 

Their goal was to demand Gov. Rick Scott help families get into affordable housing.

They said most crisis areas are given at least 18 months to transition. 

Activists for Puerto Rican Evacuees said FEMA is currently helping 631 families.

More than 200 of those families are in Osceola County. 

Nelson and Puerto Rico's former governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla discussed how they want to help evacuees, but said the ball is no longer in their court. 

. Former PR govenor Alexandro Gracia Padilla says “Nelson has always been there for the Puerto Rican people. He has been helping the people since before hurricane Maria. Puerto Rican’s can’t forget who has helped us.” #puertorico pic.twitter.com/QvkG21T7FB — Johny Fernandez (@jfernandezwftv) June 22, 2018

“Even though I filed a bill to re-activate the disaster housing assistance program, if the administration does not want to, they’re in control, they’re the majority,” Nelson said.  

Nelson is referring to a bill he filed in May.  The bill stated FEMA would be required to activate its disaster housing assistance program to provide housing assistance to evacuees. 

The governor’s office released a statement that said, "While TSA (Temporary Shelter Assistance) decisions are made by the Puerto Rican government and implemented by FEMA, Gov. Scott has continued to do all he can to ensure state resources are available to help families in need.”

. Just received a response from @FLGovScott regarding temporary housing assistance for evacuees. @WFTV pic.twitter.com/ylWZavz5Te — Johny Fernandez (@jfernandezwftv) June 22, 2018

Puerto Rican evacuees rally to extend shelter program

Some Puerto Rican evacuees and residents joined together to rally for the thousands of evacuees who could be left homeless when their Federal Emergency Management Agency temporary shelter assistance ends.

The rally happened just a week before the assistance ends and the same day Sen. Bill Nelson (D) met with local leaders to talk about the issue.

Activists along with evacuees said they don't want to be homeless and want help in transitioning to life in Central Florida.

. Vamos 4 Puerto Rico along w/ other organization rallying for 631 families that will be left homeless one their FEMA temporary assistance expires next week. pic.twitter.com/aeUlfxRg1S — Johny Fernandez (@jfernandezwftv) June 22, 2018

The main problem they're bumping into is affordable housing.

"We (couldn’t) work right away and it's really not realistic. It's really not," said Ariana Colon.

Colon left Puerto Rico with her boyfriend and son in December. 

She's one of 197 families in Orange County that Activists for Puerto Rican Evacuees say will be left on the streets once their temporary shelter assistance ends. 

Read: FEMA extends housing program for Puerto Ricans, then will fly them back to island

On Friday, different activist groups came to rally for evacuees living in hotels. 

Their goal was to demand Gov. Rick Scott help families get into affordable housing.

They said most crisis areas are given at least 18 months to transition. 

Activists for Puerto Rican Evacuees said FEMA is currently helping 631 families.

More than 200 of those families are in Osceola County. 

Nelson and Puerto Rico's former governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla discussed how they want to help evacuees, but said the ball is no longer in their court. 

. Former PR govenor Alexandro Gracia Padilla says “Nelson has always been there for the Puerto Rican people. He has been helping the people since before hurricane Maria. Puerto Rican’s can’t forget who has helped us.” #puertorico pic.twitter.com/QvkG21T7FB — Johny Fernandez (@jfernandezwftv) June 22, 2018

“Even though I filed a bill to re-activate the disaster housing assistance program, if the administration does not want to, they’re in control, they’re the majority,” Nelson said.  

Nelson is referring to a bill he filed in May.  The bill stated FEMA would be required to activate its disaster housing assistance program to provide housing assistance to evacuees. 

The governor’s office released a statement that said, "While TSA (Temporary Shelter Assistance) decisions are made by the Puerto Rican government and implemented by FEMA, Gov. Scott has continued to do all he can to ensure state resources are available to help families in need.”

. Just received a response from @FLGovScott regarding temporary housing assistance for evacuees. @WFTV pic.twitter.com/ylWZavz5Te — Johny Fernandez (@jfernandezwftv) June 22, 2018
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