MINUTES OF MEETING
The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Coral Springs Improvement District was held on Monday, December 12, 2005 at 4:04 p.m. at the District Office, 10300 NW 11th Manor, Coral Springs, Florida.
Present and constituting a quorum were:
Bob Fennell President
Bill Eissler Vice President (by phone)
Glen Hanks Secretary
Also present were:
John Petty Manager
Doug Hyche District Staff
Mel Entus Severn Trent Services
Dennis Lyles Attorney
John McKune Engineer
Craig Wrathell Wrathell, Hart, Hunt & Associates
Jean Rugg Severn Trent Services
Mona Slaughter Severn Trent Services
William Hodges Arbor Tree & Land
Terry Hodges Arbor Tree & Land
Brian Austin Ground Force, LLC
Mr. Petty called the meeting to order and called the roll.
SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of the Minutes of the November 21, 2005 Meeting
Mr. Fennell stated each Board member received a copy of the November 21, 2005 minutes and requested any additions, corrections or deletions.
There not being any,
THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of FEMA Grant and Debris Removal Contracts
Mr. Fennell stated this item is the reason we had to move our meeting up a week.
Mr. Petty stated I am serving in Mr. Witschen’s place as he has a conflict. The Board received a copy of the grant application, which we request the Board approve and direct staff to spend the dollar amounts on the contracts as long as they were bid according to Florida Statutes and meet the attorney’s criteria. By doing this, we will be piggybacking the City of Coral Springs contracts.
Mr. Hyche stated I provided the NRCS Agreement to the Board as well as an agreement with the city.
Mr. Petty stated this is the agency FEMA uses for canal clearing ONLY. We are mandated to go to this agency first before going to FEMA, which is the agency we applied to last year. Once they are out of funds, we deal with FEMA, if they have funds available. This application is for emergency removal, including material fallen next to head walls, outflow canals, anything being a threat to the flow of water.
Mr. Fennell stated the agreement references NRCS being with the Department of Agriculture. Is this correct?
Mr. Petty responded yes. We will ask the Board to approve this agreement today, subject to review of counsel. I believe District Counsel received this agreement before the meeting but may still need a few more days. I will also ask the Board to authorize staff to enter into a contract for the canal clearing in the amount of $470,000, as long as it meets the competitive bidding requirements under the Florida Statutes and the attorney’s review.
Mr. Fennell asked how can we do this if we are authorized to go out for bids on projects costing more than $4,000?
Mr. Lyles responded this is an emergency situation to assist with the cleanup we need to undertake. I have not seen this paperwork as I was out of town for the last few days of last week. However, you are not bound by any particular threshold for grants. In terms of spending the money and entering into the necessary agreements, there may be other steps we have to go through, but in order to submit our grant applications in a timely fashion to make sure the money is obtained by staff or the District, we moved this meeting up a week. We are going to ask the Board to authorize all of these steps be taken today in a blanket fashion to protect our ability to obtain and expend grant funds. Some of these contracts have been bid and we will be able to take advantage of them. However, we may find something has not been bid and because of our bidding requirements, we will have to authorize them in another way.
Mr. Hanks stated there may be some special component.
Mr. Lyles stated while we have the bidding thresholds for agreements we enter into directly for maintenance of District projects, we also have the ability to enter into contracts with other government entities for joint and mutual responsibilities, which does not require bidding. Some of this is joint work with the city or county. Therefore, we will be structuring some of these agreements in a slightly different way than originally presented to us, but we want to have the flexibility as staff to submit our applications, apply for and attain grant funds expeditiously, meet the deadlines and get the work completed by appropriate contracts certified, licensed, insured and qualified for other disaster relief type activities.
Mr. Fennell asked where did the $470,000 amount come from?
Mr. Petty responded a work order is prepared by an agent who reviews the situation with staff and comes up with a dollar value based on their experience in estimating the initial action to be taken.
Mr. Hyche stated this has already been done for CSID by NRCS.
Mr. Petty asked do we have a copy of their work order?
Mr. Hyche responded yes.
Mr. Petty stated they only looked at the material affecting the outfall structures and flow of water. There is a great deal more debris removal to be done in the middle of a canal, which may not be blocking the water and does not seem to be a threat at this particular time, but nevertheless is something we will have to look at. The first step is to approve the grant application so we can receive any monies available from the Federal Government and authorize staff to start the contract work. We already begun to do what we can in-house. This contract is for getting rid of the items we cannot do in-house. The next step is to look at ways of handling cash flow issues, as we do not know when the money is going to be available from these agencies. We know what the intent is but just in case, we would like to have a backup plan.
Mr. Fennell stated it said in the application, they pay 75% of the $470,000.
Mr. Petty stated as part of the application process, the District is willing to do the work, even if grant money is not available. If it is done only because grant money is available, then you do not qualify.
Mr. Fennell stated the agreement is 25 pages long and covers all contingencies.
Mr. Petty stated it is not subject to negotiation. Either you accept it or reject it. If you reject it, then we are on our own. This is similar to the agreement you signed last year. Their process is as fairly rigid as our permit application with those who want to do something in our water management facilities or our property. There is no agency I am familiar with that will negotiate this.
Mr. Lyles stated Mr. Petty did a good job of explaining what this agreement covers. It obligates the District to do certain things with or without these grants.
Mr. Lyles asked is the grant application to FEMA independent of this agreement?
Mr. Petty responded FEMA has deposited $1,870,000,000 with the State of Florida, which is where we will make our application to. Almost $1,800,009,000 was received by Palm Beach County alone. Among the eight or nine counties hit fairly hard during this event were Palm Beach, Broward and Dade Counties according to their dollar values. However, this money will probably be gone long before we get to FEMA and ask for our “second helping” of funds. What will be approved by legislative bodies in the months to come is unknown, but for monies available now they are offering 75¢ on the dollar with the state possibly contributing 12.5% and local cities being responsible for 12.5% with certain conditions. For three days maximum, you get 100% coverage under FEMA, so long as funds are available. The District will be responsible for paying the contractor regardless of FEMA funds or government grants. Keep in mind, these are dollars you may have total responsibility for, depending on what is available. Approximately $2,000,000 has been deposited with the state and Palm Beach has asked for almost the entire amount in its claim. Broward County is going to match or exceed this amount.
Mr. Fennell asked do we need to fill out these forms?
Mr. Petty responded we do not need to do anything with FEMA. At this point in time, we have to go through their agent, the NRCS. We asked FEMA to give us permission to talk to them while we are working on the NRCS program. The initial response has been, “no, we cannot work with you”, until we provide you with a letter of no available funding for the second phase. However, this will not be until some time period in the future. What was the total estimate?
Mr. Hyche responded $4,000,000 was for CSID alone.
Mr. Petty stated there were other contracts for oversight groups working with the contractor. Mr. Hyche did a great job of putting this all together and working with the system. Before a storm hits, an engineer certifies the water management system and after the storm, the same engineer will need to certify the system to you. Working under FEMA’s system is not very complicated to where your current engineer cannot follow the quantity list to make sure whatever contract this District gets involved with for debris removal is in conformance with FEMA. At the end of the day, I still want to use my District Engineer to determine whether the system is functional. Using outside contractors is something I am not willing to recommend to you at this time. The recommendation is whatever contract we get involved in within this next 60 day period for $470,000 will be overseen by your District Engineer; quantified, recorded and archived for substantive compliance with the NRCS Agreement and reported to the Board at every meeting versus using an outside contractor.
Mr. Fennell stated we may have a $4,000,000 problem.
Mr. Petty stated possibly. It has not been quantified.
Mr. Fennell stated we are hitting 10% of it now because of the emergency outflow. This leaves us with $3,600,000.
Mr. Petty stated Mr. Hyche has worked with some outside agencies who provided him a ballpark number. However, we have not quantified this number from the District Engineer’s perspective or from staff’s perspective. Staff is aware of the problem, know where the troublesome sites are, but I have not received a report on whether 5%, 10% or 20% of our flowways are blocked or the scale of the situation because we do not have a FEMA work order. We can get these reports but we need more time and for the District Engineer to have the opportunity to look at the flowways. I have spoke to Mr. McKune about this problem.
What troubles me is because of New Orleans, FEMA is doing the audit after they give you the money. Our staff is trained to quantify the money upfront. For example, you can remove a stump if it is attached to a tree that was uprooted. However, if the stump is still in the ground, you cannot remove it unless you can prove you need to remove it to get access. Access clearing is allowed but stump removal is not. In previous hurricanes, you argued your point, gave examples, worked with FEMA representatives and once you obtained the money you passed all of your tests. However, in this case, FEMA is geared up to give the estimates and dollar amounts so we can be reimbursed in 100 days and do the audit after the fact, but for the next five years we are subject to the audit on the FEMA funds we receive today. I am concerned about this because I am used to negotiating my costs upfront. If I do it now when there is no resistance and we get audited in five years, the records may not be able to substantiate this. With this in mind, I very much want the District Engineer to have a visual record, onsite experience and evaluation so he can substantiate this during an audit.
Mr. Fennell asked is your concern we are going to spend all of this money and FEMA will not reimburse us for the entire amount or come back and ask for their money back?
Mr. Petty responded yes.
Mr. Fennell asked how can they get money back?
Mr. Petty responded we signed an agreement to agree to do this.
Mr. Fennell asked how soon would we have to pay money back to them? I would not want us to do any work we did not need to do. However, on the other hand, if we are removing a tree stump and end up having to pay for it, this almost looks like a loan.
Mr. Petty responded the impact to the residents is going to be felt and I am trying to avoid them having a one year hit. Doing this gradually over a period of time is better than having a one year hit.
Mr. Fennell stated good point. What is the danger to us by having all of these trees floating around?
Mr. Hanks responded we have trash racks.
Mr. Fennell stated we have places where the trees are not in the canal but across the canal.
Mr. Petty stated if there are trees on the canal leading up to the pumps, this is a big problem as the trash screens are going to be clogged and we are not going to be able to clean the trees off. We can rake small debris but cannot handle the big debris. This is another reason why I want the engineer involved in the tree removal, particularly with how the original $450,000 gets spent. I will have him clear out the feeding canals first.
Mr. Fennell asked what is the time frame for spending this money?
Mr. Petty responded we would like to spend this money within the next 60 days, if not 30 days as directed by your District Engineer.
Mr. Hanks stated we have the money set aside and the engineer determines how the money will be spent.
Mr. Fennell asked are we doing any other work while this is taking place?
Mr. Petty responded not on the secondary work. We will be coming back to you at future meetings, but will take care of the immediate work more so because of our residents who are looking for closure from this storm. I need to have time to quantify this so I can bring it to the Board.
Mr. Fennell stated this all sounds good but you may not be at the next meeting.
Mr. Petty stated if it is the pleasure of this Board, my intention is to come to the next meeting and future meetings.
Mr. Fennell asked will you be replacing Mr. Witschen?
Mr. Petty responded yes. We need a motion to authorize staff to implement contracts subject to District Counsel’s approval for a not to exceed amount.
Mr. Eissler stated we have competent engineers and I do not think we should be concerned with audits five years from now.
Mr. Petty stated Mr. Hyche has been working very hard and I recommend we take things in a more timely fashion so we can do some due diligence. He has prepared the various elements so you can do the entire $10,000,000 project the four Districts are involved in, $4,000,000 of which is CSID’s responsibility. Mr. Hyche has an oversight group who monitors the contract in accordance with FEMA so all of the paperwork is filled out correctly in order to get the entire project done. I would like to authorize the engineer to do the emergency work to clear our canal system. I like the proximity of CH2M-Hill/Gee & Jensen who employs Mr. John McKune. I have worked with Mr. McKune since 1990 and know how to get in touch with him and hold his firm accountable. In the case where I know money is going to run out, I want someone I can rely on. Mr. Hyche has the ability to go outside of our own abilities if we wish, but I am recommending we go with the District Engineer on overseeing this contract.
Mr. Fennell asked would I normally make this choice?
Mr. Petty responded I believe you would.
Mr. Brian Austin stated you have a purchase order for Ground Source who is providing service to you under contract, while we were waiting for the contract to be signed at this emergency meeting. Now CH2M-Hill would like to obtain this contract and try to run it themselves, which is well and good, but this is why you are being asked to make this decision.
Mr. Hyche stated this all started when we went to a kickoff meeting at the City of Coral Springs when we were making our applications and Mr. Jeff Maslin, who is the EOC for the City of Coral Springs, heard us complaining that last year we did not receive monies for our canal cleanup. As a result, he introduced Mr. Austin to us as someone who could help us. We then went into a meeting with Mr. Billy Morgan with Homeland Security who performs debris removal for the City of Coral Springs. I wanted to know anything and everything I could about FEMA. I gave Mr. Austin a work authorization in the amount of $3,995 but did not enter into any signed agreements with him.
Mr. McKune has more history with us. Ground Force is a company from Kentucky. After listening to Mr. Petty’s reasoning, I agree that Mr. McKune should be doing this work for us.
Mr. Hanks asked Mr. Austin, do you have professional engineers in your office?
Mr. Austin responded we have professional engineers under contract with us from a local engineering firm. The first conversation we had was with CH2M-Hill to advise them of the requirements we would like them to provide as the in-house engineer.
Mr. Hanks asked is there a contract with your scope of services?
Mr. Austin responded the original one was given to your site supervisor, then provided to your District Engineer, which was then plagiarized and given to the Board as his scope of work.
Mr. Petty stated we stopped delivery of this package. It appears this gentleman believes there was a sale on certain professional services staff did not have the authority to enter into and did not have the authority to sign. It was with the understanding it would be brought to a meeting for your consideration.
Mr. Austin stated they made a decision because of the allegation of fraud and corruption and now they are now trying to push me out.
Mr. Petty stated I would not have any qualms considering payment of services rendered to date as long as it was a reasonable amount on an hourly basis. I cannot recommend to the Board the signing of a contract with an outside company when you have an onsite District Engineer.
Mr. Fennell stated the problem is you are talking about something we do not know anything about. We have not even seen anything or discussed this matter among ourselves.
Mr. Austin stated I was going to talk to the District Attorney when all of this first happened and he refused to meet with me. I contacted your engineer to tell him about the corruption and he refused to meet with me.
Mr. Petty stated I had a meeting scheduled with you, the attorney and the engineer, which you never showed up for.
Mr. Fennell stated Mr. Austin’s letter says, “possible corruption is occurring at this time with the CSID. The District’s Manager consulted Ground Source, LLC, the contractor that is in the City of Coral Springs Piggyback Agreement…” So far you do not have an agreement with anyone. Is your concern the recommendation coming from our staff to us?
Mr. Austin responded the truth was misrepresented. Mr. Hyche contacted Mr. Maslin before the kickoff meeting. I made the arrangements through FEMA at the kickoff meeting to have Ms. Debbie Morgan there to discuss their canal program. On two different occasions, I was asked to invest my own time to give them a contract.
Mr. Fennell asked what is your job with the company you work for?
Mr. Austin responded I am the Director of Construction Services.
Mr. Fennell asked is your job to get business?
Mr. Austin responded either to run the jobs or get the jobs. We provided them with a copy of our contract.
Mr. Fennell stated your hope was to get some business yourself.
Mr. Austin stated they requested our business to facilitate the contracts because we are familiar with the FEMA process. We were under the pretence this contract would be signed at this meeting. Not to give information on how someone can take our business away and learn as they go. The District Engineer has no prior experience working with the Federal Government.
Mr. Fennell stated the agreement with you was to act as a consultant for a set amount of money.
Mr. Austin stated at our hourly rate.
Mr. Fennell stated you were hoping this would lead to a contract with you.
Mr. Austin stated Ground Force was originally asked to give that contract and provide those services.
Mr. Hyche stated they were only asked to provide a bid.
Mr. Petty stated this cannot be possible. If they ever dealt with a government agency, they certainly know a public works officer cannot sign this type of a contract. It must come before this meeting for approval.
Mr. Fennell stated we can go up to $3,999 without going out for bid. Therefore, this amount can be paid. However, this does not imply you are going to get $100,000.
Mr. Austin stated it implies we have the knowledge, skills and ability to perform the task we were asked to perform. We only asked them to perform services such as the mapping, GPS services, etc. The items that were not their expertise such as dealing with the Federal Government the engineer would learn from us. FEMA is not the only Federal Government entity you need to apply for funding.
Mr. Fennell stated you were hired as a consultant for $3,999. Is the issue you are not going to be paid the $3,999?
Mr. Austin responded the first part of the issue is they did not even want me to come to this Board meeting and threatened to have the police arrest me because of the fact they did not want me to talk about any of this and Mr. McKune would get another contract.
Mr. Fennell stated so the $4,000 is not an issue.
Mr. Austin stated no.
Mr. Hanks asked what are we getting for this amount?
Mr. Austin responded we made the initial appointment to get FEMA out here. We were also at the meeting where FEMA said they have no money for you. We basically got you to the point where you can run this on your own.
Mr. Fennell stated but this is what you were paid to do. How do we bid for this?
Mr. Austin responded there is no bid. You are using an in-house engineer on something he has no prior experience of.
Mr. Fennell stated he knows more about our canals than anyone else.
Mr. Hyche stated we are going to do the emergency work under the NRCS, not the FEMA portion, which is what Ground Force would have been involved in.
Mr. Petty asked should we put this out for bid? If so, there are specific requirements the state mandates such as asking for a Request for Qualifications. This will be quite a process. You certainly would not do it based on your Operations Manager coming into contact with someone at a city meeting and signing a less than $4,000 bill.
Mr. Fennell asked what was the scope of work for this contract?
Mr. Austin responded it is in your documents. The engineer copied our scope of work.
Mr. Fennell stated if Mr. Hyche gave you the money for an evaluation, it becomes the property of the District. Was there a non-disclosure agreement?
Mr. Austin responded no.
Mr. Lyles asked was any product delivered by Mr. Austin?
Mr. Hyche responded the knowledge and the contacts to call for FEMA.
Mr. Lyles asked was any report produced?
Mr. Hyche responded no.
Mr. Lyles asked is there a contract?
Mr. Hyche responded no.
Mr. Lyles stated there is an agreement in the amount of $3,999, which is below the $4,000 bidding threshold. There is nothing associated with this number, which makes it a binding agreement on behalf of the District and this Board to be negotiated by a staff member. There is no contract. I think I heard Mr. Austin say he was happy to be out there and discuss matters with people at this meeting and give them the benefit of some of his experience. Someone believed there was a contract in conjunction with our cleanup problem, but there have been no negotiations or agreement. There is no obligation on the District to pay for anything. The production of some thoughts, ideas and some phone numbers to call FEMA is not what we normally enter into a contract with someone to provide. This information is in the public domain and we did not need an expert for.
Mr. Austin stated you set me up in an office in your facility for a certain period of time.
Mr. Lyles stated my understanding is someone on your staff had some discussions at a city meeting with someone on our staff who wanted to get a contract in place with the District to do some work. I received a phone message from Mr. Austin insisting upon a meeting prior to today’s meeting. Not knowing what he was asking about or what was involved, I spoke to Mr. Petty about what was occurring and he indicated he had meeting scheduled with Mr. Austin for last Thursday morning. Since I was out of town for a couple of days, I had my associate attend this meeting but I heard it did not go off as planned. I am hearing all of this from Mr. Austin today for the first time. What I heard from staff is there have been some discussions; some hope for a contract but no signed contract and no one was authorized to enter into a contract on behalf of the District. We are going to talk back and forth about who said what to whom and when and I suggest you let Mr. Petty and staff give a report on this matter at some later time after they can sort out all of the details. It is NOT a matter to take up with the elected Board. You are going to continue to hear this until a contract is entered into with this individual.
Mr. Austin stated we have a signed work authorization for work we already performed by sitting in an office provided by you. This $3,995 is where our service ends. There was supposed to be a signed agreement today to facilitate this contract. Your District Engineer or facilitator can perform the part of the contract under his expertise but there is other expertise needed, which needs to be facilitated through this Board because of the client’s best interest, not a way for someone to make more money off of the District. This money is owed for time spent in your office working for this District facilitating the information and going forward.
Mr. Fennell stated thank you, Mr. Austin.
Mr. Petty stated we are looking for approval so we can do the work in-house and utilize the District’s Engineer for oversight of such work. You already approved us going out and contracting for the work with NRCS, subject to the limits. When we do the contract inspection, we are looking for authorization to ask the District Engineer to submit a work authorization.
Mr. Fennell asked who is the engineering firm?
Mr. Petty responded CH2M-Hill.
Mr. Fennell asked who is going to do the accounting work to keep track of all of this money?
Mr. Petty responded this is part of what you pay the District Engineer to do, other than to pay off invoices signed by the engineer, which is a fairly simple process. If it is signed off by the District Engineer, it is very easy to cut the check from the funds we have made available.
Mr. Fennell asked who is doing the work in-house? We seem to be straining under our current financial capabilities. We plan to spend several millions of dollars that have to be carefully accounted for. What is our plan for making sure this money is monitored?
Mr. Petty responded the engineering firm has an accounting of the exact cost of each invoice and what was due and payable on each invoice.
Mr. Fennell stated I am more concerned about the in-house accounting. Someone has to be sitting there saying, “here is how you contract”, “here is the money we received”, etc.
Mr. Hanks stated I agree with Mr. Petty. It is the engineer’s responsibility in this situation.
Mr. Petty stated we are going to cover all of your concerns, other than the in-house project, discussed at length at the last meeting but this is not the first time this matter has been discussed. I have a great deal of faith in the system as it exists to be able to handle this item and feel Ms. Walker is more than capable of handling this item without difficulty because of such good oversight by the engineer. It makes the payables so much simpler. I think we are going to do just fine. You can always come after the manager if you think this is not going accordingly since manager is supposed to be responsible for motivating individuals into doing an excellent job.
Mr. Fennell asked who else is with us today?
Mr. Terry Hodges responded I am here with my brother Mr. Bill Hodges and we represent Arbor Tree & Land. We are the contractors for the City of Coral Springs for all of their tree trimming and debris removal. We worked for this District and Gee & Jenson on the large canal separating Margate from Coral Springs.
Mr. Bill Hodges stated we do work in Broward County and West Palm Beach. Our site is at the high school at the Sawgrass Expressway and Sample Road.
Mr. Petty stated they are one of the firms we can use if we decided to piggyback the city’s contract as the best alternative. They have been number one in canal clearing with SFWMD.
Mr. Bill Hodges stated we met Mr. Austin the same way Mr. Hyche did and found he has a wealth of knowledge.
Mr. Terry Hodges stated all we are asking is for you obtain bids from qualified contractors who are requesting the amount of money you are asking for. Furthermore, you need to use a company who has accomplished multimillion dollar canal cleaning contracts.
Mr. Lyles asked do you suggest looking for a record of past projects?
Mr. Terry Hodges responded yes.
Mr. Hanks asked how do you get big trees out of the canal?
Mr. Terry Hodges responded we have specialized equipment. We also use barges and excavation equipment. I have been doing this work for 28 years. If you call SFWMD and ask them who is their most productive and qualified company to do this type of work, they will tell you we are. We have worked with them for years.
Mr. Hanks asked do you have any specialized licenses?
Mr. Terry Hodges responded we are a licensed boat captain and general contractor.
Mr. Fennell asked what action do we need to take?
Mr. Petty responded the Board needs to authorize the engineer to prepare a work authorization and provide oversight of the contract for emergency debris removal with NCRS.
Mr. Lyles stated CH2M-Hill is your District engineer pursuant to a CCNA process. They are currently under contract to do everything required both in the past and with respect to the emergency situation you are facing. What you have typically done when there is an additional task before you is to receive a work authorization from the engineer, which is what you act upon. We do not need formal action by the Board. They just need to be aware of the process Mr. Petty is outlining. You are not going to get a proposal and work authorization today anyway. It will come before you at your next meeting. Is that correct?
Mr. McKune responded yes.
Mr. Lyles stated therefore, we will go ahead with the program outlined by Mr. Petty, part of which will include a task order and work authorization to be presented by the District Engineer at the next meeting. In the meantime, I am sure he will handle everything he needs to under his appointment as District Engineer.
Mr. Fennell stated you are correct. We already have a contract with CH2M-Hill for certain amounts of money.
Mr. Petty stated I just wanted the Board to understand we will start this work at an hourly amount the Board already approved.
Mr. Fennell asked can you explain to me how we get to FEMA and when?
Mr. Petty responded we are currently working with a FEMA officer to change their position from “no” to “maybe”. FEMA would not process the application because we already received funds from NCRS. The way it has been reported to me by staff is “they are not going to hand out second helpings until everyone has been fed”.
Mr. Fennell stated I would like to know Mr. Hyche’s opinion to the NRCS Agreement.
Mr. Hyche stated Mr. Petty is moving fine on the emergency portion. However, when you get to the FEMA portion, you will need to go to bid.
Mr. Fennell asked what does it take for us to go to bid?
Mr. Petty responded I am looking for quantification of the debris before I ask the Board for any action.
Mr. Fennell asked when will you have this quantification?
Mr. McKune responded in 30 days.
Mr. Austin stated before you go out for bids, you need to make sure your engineer knows how to apply for the grants from FEMA after the fact because it is not under the same requirements. Just make sure the person handling this for you knows the phone number of the person to call in order to get FEMA to pick up.
Mr. Hanks asked are you comfortable with this, Mr. Petty?
Mr. Petty responded FEMA is not hard to work with. Working with bureaucracy is my life. These are engineers who are doing this as a secondary or part-time income and are usually very easy to talk to. Of course they talk about specific quantities and reimbursements, which is why I want an engineer to work with them. I am very comfortable meeting with Mr. McKune when he talks with FEMA.
Mr. Fennell stated in 30 days, we will have a report. What will the report say?
Mr. Petty responded it will quantify the extent of the damage and an estimate of the costs.
Mr. Hanks asked when you see a project come out for bid, what will it be based on, the diameter of the tree?
Mr. Terry Hodge responded it will be based on access/ingress, how much material, where it is going, how it will be removed without tearing up the surrounding areas, whether the material will be floated out or will tear up the neighbor’s property? You also have to look at power lines, underground lines, etc.
Mr. Hanks asked how do you quantify the amount?
Mr. Terry Hodges responded I will count the trees. I can tell how much work a tree needs for removal.
Mr. Petty stated the engineer will be working with us and the NCRS and/or FEMA estimator. If FEMA gets involved and they have funds available, they will do a work authorization. They will send down an estimator who will work with your engineer and the engineer has the opportunity to argue their case. They will both sign off on the estimate. After the evaluation, the engineer will be an expert, compared to what FEMA is offering to pay.
Mr. Hanks stated we are basically coupling Mr. Petty’s expertise with the operation of the stormwater management system and the FEMA estimator’s resources and experience.
Mr. Petty stated even though FEMA is not available to talk to us yet because we have qualified for the NCRS Grant, we are going to see if we can get FEMA to allow us to use their estimator, should funds become available at a later date.
Mr. Fennell asked is the estimator a person?
Mr. Petty responded there are two people in Broward County that FEMA uses. We have their names and phone numbers.
Mr. Hanks asked are they contract employees?
Mr. Petty responded almost all FEMA employees are contract employees. Very few are permanent.
Mr. Hanks stated it is possible to contract with them independently.
Mr. Petty stated I hope to contract with them to help our engineer quantify the next step, if I can get funds from FEMA to do so. Let them at least do the estimate. I am hoping not to be billed.
Mr. Fennell asked how much money do we have? We could run into a cashflow problem fairly quickly.
Mr. Petty responded one of the few benefits you are able to see from Severn Trent is utilizing Ms. Janice Larned. We are developing several different short term financial instruments which this District can take advantage of. Currently we are looking at an interest rate of 3.8% for a short term note. We are doing well on our worst case scenario and providing some liquidity. Closing costs to secure such a note for a short term period of two years is $5,400, which is based around FEMA applications, offered by the Association of Counties and administered by Bank of America. We are not engaging you in this debt but making sure we have it available should you need it.
Mr. Fennell stated I would like a cashflow analysis for the next meeting, projecting the costs we will be paying and reporting on what happens if we have slow input as well as a statement of how much money we have in our account should FEMA not pay us anything.
Mr. Petty stated we will make it a living model. Even though FEMA is committed to paying upon invoice, NCRS is not. Were we paid for last year?
Mr. Hyche responded Sunshine is still waiting to be paid for $300,000. CSID received reimbursement.
Mr. Petty stated you have to be able to flow with it. Before taking money from your Reserve Fund, which limits your reaction to any emergency this summer, I will recommend using a Letter of Credit or other short term instrument.
Mr. Terry Hodges stated you could use a contractor who will fund the operation or piggyback the city’s contract and all other FEMA guidelines and start the project tomorrow. My company could fund the entire project with a percentage over 30 days, which could be equivalent to what you would pay now minus $5,000.
Mr. Petty stated I think this is a generous offer and something we can consider once we have quantified the job and scale and received an estimate. Therefore, when the contractor says he will do the job for $4,000,000, our engineer can opine whether he thinks there is great value in this offer.
Mr. Austin stated you made a few points about accountability. You are going to have an in-house accountability problem to address on your own. No matter how great your accounts payable/accounts receivable person is, they will spend 25% to 30% of their time dealing with this. This is something the District and consultant will have to look for as an extra burden coming back to you. If a company offers to finance this for you because of your situation, you may want to ask them for a monthly billable amount to compare to the City of Coral Springs. Vegetation on these canals is more abundant and you will eat up your estimate of $400,000 in a month and a half. Furthermore, you want to piggyback Coral Springs because the cost is based on cubic yardage. If you lump sum it, you are going to leave a great deal of money on the table for someone to walk away from as his profit.
Mr. Fennell stated from an accounting standpoint, this is beyond bookkeeping. We are a $600,000 firm and we are talking about spending millions.
Mr. Petty stated your net worth is probably closer to $30,000,000.
Mr. Fennell stated I am talking about the operating budget.
Mr. Petty stated you are talking about consumables. The state quantifies you to define yourself on the books.
Mr. Fennell stated we can spend $600,000 in three to four months. However, we have other options because this is a taxing District and we have a benefit in that we have paid off all our bonds for the canals.
Mr. Petty stated we would be glad to put all of this into the analysis.
Mr. Hanks stated we should look at our capital improvement plan to see whether we need to incorporate a bond issue.
Mr. Petty stated in response to Hurricane Wilma, you saw the need for greater diesel storage capacity.
FOURTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Report from Mr. Eissler on District Accounting Procedures
Mr. Eissler stated due to some unusual circumstances, I am going to have to postpone my report until the next meeting when I will have a written report that will cover everything in detail. However, I met with CSID staff and some outside consulting firms and before we get carried away about a new District Manager, in view of Mr. Pete Witschen leaving us, I suggest we wait until the January meeting.
Mr. Fennell asked is there any way you can send out this material ahead of time for us to review?
Mr. Eissler responded yes. I think our next meeting is on Martin Luther King’s Birthday.
Mr. Petty stated we have not moved it yet. We can move it today.
Mr. Lyles stated I think it is scheduled for January 9th.
Mr. Eissler stated I will provide the report to the other two Supervisors and the manager by January 4th. We currently do not have a manager.
Mr. Lyles stated you have a management company. Mr. Petty announced Mr. Witschen is not here today due to a conflict with his schedule. Therefore, there is no need for the Board to take any action today and this matter can wait until the January meeting.
FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Correspondence from Doug Hyche to Publix Super Markets
Mr. Hyche stated Publix offered to give us some food after the hurricane since their freezers were down. We sent over some of our people and they loaded us up with some food. We cooked for everyone who was involved in the cleanup. This was just a thank you note to them.
Mr. Fennell stated the Board would like to express their appreciation to Publix. We thought they did a very good job during the storm in getting their operations back up.
Mr. Eissler stated we were going to discuss some type of compensation, not for the hourly employees but to those managers who worked overtime during the storm. Mr. Hyche was supposed to come up with some ideas.
Mr. Hyche stated we prepared a proposal for reimbursement to management for those employees working over 40 hours. The proposal had some suggestions such as converting hours over 40 hours to vacation time or having a lump sum payment as a bonus (cash only). Employees included in the plan were Mr. Hyche, Mr. Ward Cromley and Mr. Nick Schooley. Non essential employees with the City of Coral Springs were paid for two days during the storm and employees who worked overtime were given up to 116 hours comp time for reimbursement. Exempt employees were given cash bonuses ranging from $500 to $1,500 depending on the amount of hours worked. Non-essential employees with the City of Tamarac were paid for one day off during the storm and any additional was taken as vacation. The employees who worked were awarded one day comp time. City Managers and exempt employees were awarded cash bonuses, which were to be provided at the employees Christmas party.
Mr. Petty stated working for the District is different than working for a municipality. Our motivation and dedication is slightly different. Our ability to work on multiple projects is certainly different than a municipality. In my opinion, it is a better to work here than a municipality where you may get pigeonholed for your entire career. I think staff here did a great job during the storm. I was so proud of us being only one of three utilities not going down after the storm. I was here in 1990 when the utility was not run very well and the improvement is vast. You had guys who put their families to bed and came to this facility and locked themselves inside for the storm, which was the policy. This is why the utilities did not go down during the storm and why they were here the next morning before the sun came up and were ready to look around. I feel they deserve this monetary amount in line with the municipalities and much more. However, I would give it to them in some type of awards ceremony or luncheon. You should be celebrating the commitment the people have for this District because the people who work here have shown a great deal of commitment in their actions during the storm.
Mr. Eissler stated I was thinking of giving them a one time bonus. There are only two people involved, Mr. Hyche and Mr. Cromley as Mr. Schooley is with NSID. However, Mr. Hyche and Mr. Cromley are shared between CSID and NSID and it might be detrimental to talk to NSID and do something between the two of us.
Mr. Fennell stated I am in favor of giving them a one time bonus of $1,000.
Mr. Eissler stated I suggest talking with NSID and coming up with a number. I am sure they would go along with anything we do.
Mr. Lyles stated the Board is talking about having some additional compensation for a substantial amount of additional work, time and effort during the hurricane crisis. This is truly a bonus in the sense of a gift. If the motion mentioned this was additional compensation for additional work provided by the two employees, I would be more comfortable from a legal standpoint.
Mr. Fennell stated the money is only part of the recognition. I would like management to put up a plaque in memory of the events taking place during Hurricane Wilma with the names of those individuals who worked additional hours to get the plant back into operation.
Mr. Petty stated I would be proud to.
SIXTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Staff Reports
There being no report, the next item followed.
1. Monthly Water & Sewer Charts
2. Utility Billing Work Orders
The charts and work orders were presented and will be included as part of the public record.
Mr. Fennell asked what is Mr. Witschen’s current situation?
Mr. Petty responded Mr. Witschen is still with Severn Trent, but has some personal issues in his life. He asked Severn Trent to bring someone in to work with him on the current hot topics affecting both CSID/NSID.
Mr. Fennell stated please give us some information on your background.
Mr. Petty stated I have been working with the Districts since 1982. I started with a West Coast District named Pelican Bay, which was part of the Westinghouse Triangle, including CSID and Spring Lake. I worked in utilities and became a Director of Field Operations overseeing street lights, landscaping, drainage, aquatic plant maintenance as well as utilities. I transferred here in 1990, working with Mr. Gary Moyer on special projects, evaluating operations and developing various training techniques and management directives. I also worked with Ms. Rhonda Archer and Mr. Jim Ward. I worked on the old conservation rate study for CSID, which has been modified twice since then. I have worked with your operational staff and finance people as well as your utility rates. I also worked with Mr. Moyer on other Districts and created the business plan for the Disney projects.
Mr. Fennell asked where do you live?
Mr. Petty responded in Coral Springs, just north of Royal Palm Boulevard at the intersection of Coral Ridge Drive and Sample Road. I spent a great deal of time working with the founders of the company, particularly on financial matters. I wrote a feasibility study for one of our larger districts, Indian Trace in order for them to become a city and walked them through this process and the concept of going to contract services versus bureaucracy. I was working on municipal services until two years ago when I was brought back into working for District operations. I would be thrilled if you would allow me to work on a month by month basis to replace Mr. Witschen for CSID.
Mr. Fennell stated we have had four different managers in 11 months.
Mr. Petty stated I understand and apologize. This was not the intent. Before this time you had Mr. Moyer, Ms. Archer and Mr. Hans as your District managers. It is my intent to go back to the old way.
Mr. Fennell stated we are looking for more real management leadership.
Mr. Petty stated I did not want to bring a proposal before you of what I thought the best alternative was. However, what I wish to offer to CSID is different than what you have heard thus far. CSID used to always have the assets of Mr. Moyer’s firm onsite and available for the purpose of rate studies, cost analysis, cost efficiency and rate sufficiency.
Mr. Fennell stated that is not a big deal. Our big deal is on-site leadership.
Mr. Petty stated which Mr. Moyer or Ms. Archer did very well in their time.
Mr. Hanks stated lately initiatives and direction have been coming from the Board members. I want to see more initiatives being brought from management.
Mr. Petty stated hopefully I have given you the impression that I am capable of giving you direction.
Mr. Austin stated as an outsider looking in, CSID does not have a management company but neither does the city. Your management team is sitting on your staff. You do not want to pay a 3.7 multiplier to tell someone else what the problem is and not have anyone on the hook for the responsibility. If you look at any governing body around here, this is how they set theirs up and not have five different consultants billing you for services they are not rendering.
Mr. Fennell asked what do we need to do today?
Mr. Eissler responded nothing.
Mr. Fennell asked who is signing checks in Mr. Witshen’s stead?
Mr. Petty responded Mr. Witschen is around and has been talking with various contractors and residents who had issues including Goldcoast Tires. I would like for you to allow me to sit in his place.
Mr. Fennell stated I think we should allow him to do so.
Mr. Eissler stated not on a permanent basis. I would like to discuss this issue further next month.
Mr. Fennell stated he would only serve on a month by month basis. I want to make sure we have someone in place who can make decisions.
Mr. Eissler stated we need someone who has a good financial background. I have a report on what Severn Trent does for us and what we do for ourselves. It will be quite an eye opener when you see it in writing.
Mr. Hanks stated I look forward to seeing your report.
Mr. Petty stated I request the Board designate me an Assistant Secretary to sign documents on your behalf.
D. Complaints Received/Resolved
Mr. Fennell asked how are people holding up with all of these trees in the canals?
Mr. Hyche responded we received many complaints.
Mr. Petty stated the residents want closure.
Mr. Hyche stated I received many emails from the city offering to put something on their website.
Mr. Petty stated the big issue is not so much us not removing the trees but not being able to tell them what our plan is. What we have discussed at other Districts is putting a notice on a sign saying “this canal will be cleared by CSID” with a phone number, like we used to do when we applied chemicals in certain areas for irrigation. If there is an orange code, the clearing will take place next week.
Mr. Fennell stated it sounds like we need a work authorization. We should have a statement saying what our intentions are such as contacting with the Department of Agriculture. The next step is contracting with FEMA. The first step is to clear out any emergency drainage.
Mr. Petty stated I request we work with your office. Whenever you put out a work authorization, we always like to leave approval to this Board who will see the final draft before it goes out.
Mr. Fennell stated you are correct.
Mr. Hanks stated I would like to see a copy of the work authorization before it goes out.
SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Supervisor Requests and Audience Comments
There not being any, the next item followed.
EIGHTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of Check Registers
There being no questions or comments,
NINTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Adjournment
Mr. Fennell stated I would like to thank everyone for showing up tonight, all of your interest and comments.
Glen Hanks Robert Fennell
CSID Notes for December 12, 2005 Meeting
• Agenda Items for Next Meeting
1. Report from Mr. Eissler on District Accounting Procedures.
• John Petty
1. Provide a report to the Board quantifying the extent of the hurricane damage and estimate of costs
2. Prepare a cashflow analysis for the next meeting, projecting the costs the District will be paying and reporting on what happens if there is slow input as well as a statement of how much money is in the District’s account should FEMA not pay anything.
3. Obtain a plaque in memory of the events that took place during Hurricane Wilma with the names of those individuals who put in extra hours to get the plant operating after the storm.