City History

The first inhabitants of southwest Volusia County were Nomadic Timucuans who found fish and fresh water plentiful in the area. After Florida became a state in 1845, steamboats began to make regular trips up the St. Johns River to Lake Monroe.

Visitors and residents poured into the State, and a community grew up on the shores of Lake Monroe at the steamboat landing. Called Enterprise, the little town soon boasted a schoolhouse (built in 1863) and two churches.

At about the same time the Baron Frederick DeBary, New York agent for Mumm's Champagne, arrived in the area. He bought several hundred acres near Enterprise to use as a hunting and fishing preserve. In 1871, DeBary built a winter home where he entertained such notables as Presidents Grant and Cleveland and members of Europe's royalty. Baron DeBary died in 1898 at the age of 84. The DeBary Mansion is currently undergoing restoration.

In 1908, the Florida Methodist United Children's Home was founded. It continues to care for over 50 children to this day.

Things were rather quiet in southwestern Volusia from those early years of the century until 1962, when the Mackle Brothers brought 17,203 acres, filed a planned unit development for a community of 35,143 lots, and named the area Deltona. Work began almost immediately, and the first Deltonans took up residence in April of 1963. By the end of that year, Deltona had a population of 180 people comprising  78 families. School bus service was started, and construction began on a golf course. In 1970, the U.S. Census recorded 4,868 inhabitants; by 1980, Deltona's population was 15,710.  The growth of the community continued at the amazing rate of about 130 new families per month to reach more than 52,000 people in 1991, and all indications are that this growth will hold steady for the foreseeable future. 

The residents of the unincorporated Deltona community voted in September 1995, to incorporate as the new City of Deltona.  The third attempt appeared to be Deltona's lucky charm; two previous incorporation attempts in 1987 and 1990 failed.  A seven-member Commission was elected and as of December 31, 1995, the City of Deltona became official. As part of the referendum for incorporation, the existing Deltona Fire District was dissolved and on its first day of Cityhood, Deltona had over 50 employees including firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency response personnel. The newly elected City Commission appointed an Interim City Manager, Interim Finance Director, and Interim City Attorney. In July 1996, the City Commission hired its first full-time City Manager, Harold Emrich, and first City Attorney, James "Skip" Fowler.

The City has grown to over 300 employees which work in the City Manager's Office, the City Attorney's Office, the City Clerk's Office, Budget and Financial Services, Building and Zoning Services, Planning and Development Services, Enforcement Services, Parks and Recreation, Public Works and Utilities, Human Resources and the Fire and Rescue Department.

The City continues to contract with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department via an interlocal agreement for law enforcement services in the City.

On November 7, 2003, the City realized a long-term goal of owning its own utility.  The City purchased the Deltona water and wastewater system from Florida Water Services after two years of negotiations.  This purchased encompassed hiring of 32 former Florida Water Services’ employees and the acquisition of all Florida Water Services’ assets in the Deltona system.  Deltona Water is now in full operation and the Deltona City Commission has announced its intent to make significant improvements to the system while maintaining the current utility rates for a minimum of five years.

With a current population of 90,746 Deltona is the largest municipality within Volusia County.  Centrally located between Daytona Beach and Orlando, Deltona provides a large residential base for commuters to both cities. The City of Deltona, under the direction of its City Commission, top-notch staff, and more than 300 dedicated employees, is thriving. Deltona is a major voice in Volusia County while providing quality municipal services to its residents.