Wellington’s Tanya Quickel Honored By The Florida Association Of Special Districts Outstanding Leadership

Wellington’s Tanya Quickel Honored By The Florida Association Of Special Districts
Outstanding Leadership

Wellington’s Director of Administrative & Financial Services and Assistant Village Manager Tanya Quickel was recently honored by the Florida Association of Special Districts (FASD) as the group’s Most Valuable Member. At the same time, Wellington’s Acme Improvement District earned the District of the Year award from the organization.

Quickel’s award is presented to an FASD member who has demonstrated commitment, contribution, leadership and support of the association over many years. Quickel’s hard work during her time with the association is evidence of that dedication.

In Wellington, Quickel’s responsibilities include the management of the annual operating budget, along with strengthening and aligning administrative and financial functions with the village’s core missions. She oversees a broad range of departments, including finance, purchasing and contracting, budget, information technology and communications, and she is frequently seen at council meetings presenting budgets and financial information.

To understand the acknowledgement Quickel recently received, it is important to understand what she does for the village’s own special district, and maybe even what the special district does.

One frequently asked question in Wellington is, “Just what is this Acme Improvement District fee on my tax bill?” Not only is it a special district operated by the village that keeps you safe from storm water, but it does it in such an exemplary manner that it won the District of the Year award for the entire state.

Acme got its start in 1953 as the Acme Drainage District with a focus on flood control. When Wellington began as a residential community in the 1970s, Acme took on more responsibilities, such as managing parks, roads and recreation programs. Essentially, it was Wellington’s pre-incorporation government.

“Acme was here first, and that’s how Wellington got started when it incorporated in 1995,” Quickel explained. “Acme still exists as a dependent district of Wellington, and it’s very important because of the stormwater management, roads and the infrastructure of the parks that it is responsible for.”

Quickel should know. Although humble about her accomplishments, she is the immediate past president of the Florida Association of Special Districts and a member since 2005. She has long served as a board member and served as treasurer for several years before becoming president. She now provides guidance as a past president.

“The stormwater management part is huge because of where we live. That is the focus for Acme, and that is a very critical part of the annual budgeting process and the infrastructure and big projects that we do every year,” she said. “These big projects go through Acme and are paid for by the assessment that taxpayers pay.”

Quickel has been with the Village of Wellington since 2013.

“I started just the end of July, so it will be seven and a half years. I lived in Wellington when I started and for many years afterward. Then my husband and I built some houses, and now I live right outside the village,” she said.

Their home includes two furry pets. “I have an English bulldog named Elvis and a Boston terrier named Blue,” said Quickel, who enjoys reading, walking and traveling when she is not putting in long hours at the village. “I also love cooking.”

Special districts are not a new concept to Quickel. Before coming to Wellington, she worked as deputy director of the Northern Palm Beach County Improvement District and manager of the Indian Trail Improvement District.

The way Acme works is similar to many other special districts in Florida.

“Many other municipalities have what is called the stormwater utility, which is in some ways very similar to Acme’s responsibilities for stormwater management,” Quickel said. “Sometimes other places you will see a separate assessment or charge for the stormwater utility, and Acme sort of fits that bill. It has a separate focus just like a utility is a separate focus. It has funds that we allocate the revenue and the expenditures to. This is managed very strictly, and it is very transparent, so one can see what Acme does and what it costs.”

The FASD is important to municipalities, counties and state government across the State of Florida. “The Florida Association of Special Districts is an educational organization throughout the state from the Panhandle to the Keys,” Quickel said.

There are about 150 entities involved and some 400 individual members. “The membership ranges from districts such as Acme to the South Florida Water Management District, and we also have a large number of memberships of districts for fire-rescue, districts for libraries or recreation, for hospitals, stormwater and mosquito control,” Quickel said. “These districts are a separate governmental form authorized by the Florida Legislature and established for special purpose government.”

The award earned by the Acme Improvement District is presented every year to a district for exemplary performance over the past 12 months.

“What we have seen here with Acme, in particular, is we have invested heavily in telemetry so we can remotely manage our pumps and our infrastructure,” Quickel said. “This helps us be able to operate during emergencies. We can turn pumps on and off, raise and lower water levels, check those levels and set warnings. It’s very important to our efficient operation and planning because these emergencies can come at any time, and we are alerted to take action remotely.”

Acme has been quick to introduce new, cutting-edge technology. “Another thing that we have done more recently is adopt drone technology that is helping us oversee what is going on in managing some of our very large projects. We use the drones every day to see the status of the work,” she explained.

Quickel said the FASD is an important resource for Acme.

“They are a great group of down-to-earth people with a lot of valuable knowledge and experiences. Usually, they’re a lot like Acme, very quiet, working behind the scenes, managing all kinds of things to keep a municipality, county or the state government functioning smoothly,” she said. “It really is meaningful to have their experience and expertise to help us determine things that we need to focus on or things that need to be changed or worked on.”

Quickel feels that these recent FASD awards signify the village’s commitment to safety and to important infrastructure projects, as well as effective planning and execution. “We do our work responsibly and in an effective manner,” she said.

Learn more about the Florida Association of Special Districts at www.fasd.com. Learn more about the Acme Improvement District at https://acme.wellingtonfl.gov.