MINUTES OF MEETING
The regular meeting of the
Board of Supervisors of the Coral Springs Improvement District was held on
Present and constituting a quorum were:
Bob Fennell President
Glen Hanks Vice President
Sharon Zich Secretary
Also present were:
John Petty Manager
Dennis Lyles Attorney
John McKune Engineer
Jean M. Rugg
Janice Moen Larned
Randy Fredericks Field Supervisor
Doug Hyche District Staff
Mr. Fennell called the meeting to order and Mr. Petty called the roll.
Mr. Fennell stated at this time, we will take audience comments on the tree removal issue.
Mr. Richard Gaunt stated I live on NW 2nd Manor. The difference between the canal and my boundary is fairly small. I am concerned because there is 12 feet between my flower bed and the water line. I constructed a wall, which I received your permission to do. I am concerned you are going to remove my flower bed.
Mr. Fennell asked did you receive a letter in the mail from us regarding what we are going to do?
Mr. Gaunt responded yes.
Mr. Fennell stated we did not have
much of a chance to explain in detail what we are doing and why we are doing
it. I have lived in Shadow Wood since
1979, which is the eastern part of
Westinghouse did a good job by bringing in an engineering group who looked at both the east and west basins. We are surrounded by canals on all sides and are dependent upon a pump station and a certain area being built up so we can get flow to the ground. Then we hope we do not get much rain while we are trying to pump out the water. There was a model from 30 years ago when there was nothing here but a plan. Since that time, the community was built out and we have less area. All the trees next to the canal grew very tall and are now a hazard. With Hurricane Wilma, we had a good demonstration of what can happen in a wind storm. We came back and had our engineers run a computer study on what will happen to our areas if we have a 10 year, 15 year or 100 year rain. We performed some “what-if” scenarios such as what happens to the water if a tree falls and blocks these canals. The engineers came back with some surprising answers. It turned out we have to be careful about anything falling into these canals and blocking the right-of-way.
They also found out not just the canal area was affected. The city and others have permits in private areas. There is also drainage under the road CSID is not responsible for. However, if they get blocked we can be in serious trouble. We came back with a strong recommendation from our engineering company who said, “We need to make sure these canals are free, ready to flow and do not get blocked”. At Mr. Hanks suggestion, we brought in an Arborist to tell us about these trees and where they should go. After we removed the trees, the Arborist surveyed our area and looked at what we still have.
The Arborist came back and said, “If the tree is going to have a chance standing up in a hurricane, the root ball has to be big and wide as it is high and deep.” Unfortunately for most of the area around here you can plant it wide but not deep. You also do not want any imbalances around the root ball. One way to get this is to plant a Mango or Cypress Tree next to a canal, which can absorb the water. Any other tree than those trees, the roots will die. I saw a tree fall backwards off the canal and onto a house. This was because the tree did not have even roots. The third problem is all of our banks are made of coral. There is no dirt for the roots to adhere to and the canals are made so the high water mark goes to the top of the canal. This is how these drainage canals were designed. When this happens, the water comes in and becomes supersaturated. His recommendation is not to plant trees in the canal right-of-way because they not only block the canals but are a danger to the homeowners. Despite the problem we normally have with trees, they are even a bigger danger than we thought. You may get some advantage by the fact the canals often angled and hope they fall in the water but there is a real issue if the roots are not there. A real weak point for the tree is growing backwards towards the property owners house.
Arborist gave us some recommendations for trees good for
Mr. Hanks asked what does the city say about maintaining property owned by a homeowner?
Mr. Fennell responded in the past, the landowner is supposed to maintain their property down to the water’s edge and keep it to the shape of where water will flow.
Ms. Linda White stated most of our homeowners take impeccable care of their yards.
Mr. Hanks asked are you in the Oaks?
Ms. White responded I live on NW 2nd Manor.
Mr. Fennell stated we have some troublesome areas such as the commercial property. In some cases, in the commercial areas there was supposed to be a tree barrier. However, instead of planting the trees on the commercial property side, they planted the trees along the canals and never maintained them. We had an amazing amount of difficulty from them. We also have homeowners who tried to maintain their property as well as they could, but were not aware of some of these issues such as how dangerous the trees are.
Ms. White stated all it takes is common sense.
Mr. Gaunt stated the majority of homeowners are looking for selective removal.
Mr. Hanks stated at the last meeting, we approved the removal of trees listed on the city’s exotic invasive or pest species list such as Maleaucca’s and Australian Pines. If you were building a new house, under city code you have to remove those trees. We are just trying to remove the bad species of trees identified as pest plants. They are either identified as a pest because they have weak wood or aggressive roots. We also wanted to take a look at native and ornamental species trees within the District right-of-way. If your Firebrush Tree is located on private property, we are not touching it.
Ms. White asked where does the District right-of-way from the edge of the canal go to?
Mr. Hanks responded it varies depending on the location of the subdivision.
Ms. White stated we purchased our home five years ago and lost a couple of feet in our backyard in the last five years. As every year goes by or there are more storms, we lose more property in our backyard. We want to do the same thing as our neighbor, which is to build it up slightly so we have more of a buffer zone.
Mr. Hanks stated we need to take a look at the plat for your area to see what lot you are on and where the District right-of-way is. Hopefully we have some indication of where the canal is.
Mr. Petty stated this certainly is a way we can check it, although any requests from homeowners do not incur costs by the District to do the survey work. We refer them to the Property Appraiser. You can measure from the back of your house but we certainly can do it.
Mr. Hanks stated if you have a reference point within your property, you could measure it out.
Ms. White stated we would like some piece of mind. I think I speak for everyone when I say you are bringing in a bulldozer to go all the way around the canal and remove all trees that could potentially fall down into the canal.
Mr. Petty stated we have been talking to the city about this matter because they are more politically sensitive than we are and the residents receive a broader response. We understand the residents need to understand why we are doing this and what is occurring. We are going after these non-ornamental, nuisance or exotic trees, which are the Australian Pines, Florida Holly or Brazilian Pepper Trees. We are seeking a permit to remove the Ficus Trees at the same time under this current contract. We have many old Ficus Trees in the commercial areas we want to remove.
Mr. Glen Dworkin asked commercial or residential?
Mr. Petty responded mostly commercial but some residential within our right-of-way. There are going to be guys back there with chain saws and large equipment. The right-of-way is for our access. If I need to get a piece of equipment through an area you planted in, we are going to drive through there. This is part of the reason why the right-of-way is as big as it is and the water is only a certain percentage. This first phase is not to take down everything but as we bring in equipment to maintain the canal, we are going to drive over some of this material, even though the tree is not on your property. This is the only way we can get in.
Ms. White stated you explained this fairly well in your letter.
Mr. Gaunt stated you are losing land and will encroach on our land to get to your right-of-way.
Mr. Fennell stated this was an issue the engineering firm brought up and one of the reasons why; it was not a question of us cutting down trees. We actually had significant issues with these trees because when they fall over, they take part of the bank with them. Another way to remove them rather than pulling them out, is to flat cut them the best we could so they will not tear up the bank. You are correct. Erosion is an issue and is becoming a problem. It is something we are concerned about, although we are not to that point in Shadow Wood where we have this issue. However, this may be an issue in the older part of Coral Springs. We will actually have to go back and re-dredge those canals and rebuild the banks. We will do this when necessary.
Mr. Dworkin stated Mr. Petty said Phase 1 was to remove the nuisance trees. What is Phase 2 and will there be any other phases?
Mr. Petty responded the intention is to clear the canals of anything dangerous to the drainage system which can cause flooding. This is our intent.
Ms. White asked anything under the water?
Mr. Petty responded anything that can hurt the hydraulic of the water. We have a model for blockage in the pipes.
Mr. Hanks stated first we have to obtain a permit from the City of Coral Springs for removal of the non-evasive trees. Then we have to look at them on a case by case basis to decide whether or not they are a danger to the flow. Would we have to do anything to compensate for the loss of those trees?
Mr. Petty responded we are talking with the city about “what if” scenarios. Mr. McKune is working on the current phase, which is an application for the trees not requiring a permit or compensation or mitigation, with the exception of the Ficus Trees which have some value.
Mr. Fennell stated we ran hydraulic models and the engineers told us what the problems were going to be and what flooding issues we could run into if in fact we blocked off any of these canals. There are some real issues here. We have two Drainage Districts. University Drive is the dividing line to Royal Palm Boulevard for the east side, which is one Drainage District. There is another Drainage District on the west side. Each one has separate basins with different and unique problems. The west side has more going for it because of Lake Coral Springs, which is a place to store more water. Our canals run down to a pump station. Where I live near the park there is a street and if you block the water flow through Shadow Wood to Ramblewood and into Royal Palm Boulevard, it will flood the entire area. Not only do we have problems with trees but we need to go back to see if we need to do reconstruction of the canals. I would love to talk to SFWMD about how much water we can pump out but we are legally bound by how much water we can draw out of the canals during a flood situation. They will only permit us to take so much out. At this point, it is a race between the water rising and local flooding.
Another problem is some pipes are not being maintained for 30 years. If a pipe gets blocked, you will have 100 different little floods all over the city. Our hydraulic Study showed us we have a clear and present danger for flooding. Furthermore, our Arborist informed us planting trees in the canals is the wrong place to plant them as they do not survive well.
Mr. Dworkin asked when did you determine you had a problem with flooding? Was it recent?
Mr. Fennell responded the area built out and there are three places where the water drains. One place is where we store water. This is what prevents us from flooding and the fact we have canals around the area. Some canals run sideways like the C-14 or some drainage canals come down from the areas north of us. If those caved in, we also flood. Up until now, the dangers we had during storms have not been very bad. We had a few trees in the water, which our crews removed. The city had more of a problem than we did. This last storm showed us for sure the canopy grew out of control and was too big. We wondered whether this problem actually happened and how come it never happened before. This is when we commissioned a study to do a complete hydraulic modeling of both areas in our District to find out what would really happen. When it came back, it gave us a surprise.
Mr. Dworkin stated in all the time I have been living here, you never sent the residents a letter for cutting down plants. We request selective removal of the trees.
Ms. White stated not just a blanket decision to take everything out.
Mr. Gaunt stated in other words, if you can drive a pickup truck along there, it should be enough for you to manage.
Mr. Fennell stated you need to make sure these trees do not fall in the water. Can you guarantee it?
Mr. Dworkin responded we can handle them ourselves. We took care of the lake in the southeast part of Coral Springs ourselves.
Mr. Hanks stated another reason we want to maintain more than just a 12’ strip is to address the erosion problem. Eventually at some point we recognize we are going to have to get back in with heavy equipment to do some bank restoration. It all comes down to time and money of when we do it and where we get the money. Restricting heavy equipment to a 12’ area is going to create some problems in the future as far as maintenance activities.
Mr. Gaunt stated in my case, if you remove more than 12’, you will be on my property.
Mr. Hanks stated if you have a five foot strip of District right-of-way between the edge of water and your property, this is all we are going to be able to touch.
Mr. Fennell stated a couple of canals were cut back. You are referring to the areas north of us. They came in a couple of years ago and finally cleared out the canals. So far, the reactions have generally been strong and prevented cutting in the past. It has not been balanced enough with the inordinate danger to us all. The worst thing happening to us is we flood out. We can take a lot of wind damage and trees down but if each of us has six inches of water in our house, all of the carpet will be gone and you will have to rebuild. If you are looking at the greater damage, this is probably it. This is because it is in the flood plane.
Mr. Hanks stated if you flood out, you are going to have sewage mixing with the flood waters.
Mr. Gaunt asked can we get a guarantee before they start work that someone will knock on our door and say, “We would like to remove some of your trees”?
Mr. Hanks responded you addressed some specific concerns.
Mr. Petty stated it is the District’s responsibility to handle flooding. While I understand your need to want to know more, we will certainly take your name and contact information and tell you when we have a public meeting. We plan on having two meetings to discuss this matter further. We would be happy to talk to you any time you have a concern. We put out door hangers and plan on putting out additional door hangers when our contractors are nearby. We cannot make any guarantees. We have to be able to do our job when the need arises, whether or not we can get a hold of you. I will make sure you receive all the information we have.
Mr. Gaunt asked is there any way to get someone on-site at the time they intend to do the work?
Mr. Petty responded our engineer is going to be on-site with their crews and behind them a couple of our field employees will be doing customer service. Watching this contractor will be two sets of eyes. If you have an issue, they are going to try to answer your questions. However, by the time the contractor gets out there, there will not be any time for you to move things around. This is why we sent out the door hangers.
Mr. Hanks asked are they going to come through the first round to take care of the exotics?
Mr. Petty responded yes.
Mr. Hanks stated they will not touch the native species.
Ms. White asked will there be general notification of the time and date you are planning to be back there?
Mr. Petty stated responded we intend on putting out another door hanger when the contractor is nearby but I cannot put it out within 24 hours with a guarantee. He may go out and come back because of weather and mechanical problems.
Ms. White asked will you automatically notifying everyone in the area when there is another public meeting to discuss any other issues regarding this matter?
Mr. Petty responded yes. It is our intent to advertise a meeting in the Sun Sentinel in the public notices section of the newspaper. We are hoping to have the meeting at a library or hotel. The schools are not answering their phones because it is the first day of school. We are looking at five locations including the City Center if they will cut us a deal because it is somewhat pricy. We are hoping to have two public hearings so residents understand this issue, particularly planting anything on the slope. Everything on the slope is going to fail, no doubt about it. When I raise the water table, and I will, every root ball is going to try to hold itself up in a bowl of water.
Mr. Hanks stated we have been lucky with the last three storms as they were dry storms. The problem is with a wet storm dumping 10 inches or more rain.
Mr. Dworkin stated now you are saying everything on the bank is at risk of being removed irrespective of where our boundary line is.
Mr. Petty stated the right-of-way line goes past the top of bank. Your land goes up to your building pad but when we dug the canals we stopped at elevation 10.5’ and your pad is typically 12’ or higher. We consider this to be top of bank. By design, the water management system is supposed to let water rise in the canal until it gets to this level. This is the maximum storm we can handle with our pumps. Everything planted from 10.5’ down will fail. Eventually it is going to fail by design.
Mr. Dworkin asked where is the water line today?
Mr. McKune responded it depends on the water but usually it is 6.5’ to 7’.
Mr. Dworkin stated I have lived here for 25 years and have not seen it happen.
Mr. Petty stated we received 17” of rain with a no name storm, which raised the water table all the way up. The engineer can tell you under these design criteria with the hydraulic model we built on the computer, it does everything but hand calculations but gives you the ability to say, “What-if”. The report talks about the speed of the water and other items which are probably useful to you as well.
Mr. Dworkin asked are you saying everything slanted along the bank goes to 20’ to 30’?
Mr. Petty responded everything goes to the elevation of control, which is 10.5’, the elevation above sea level. Everything below 10.5’ is part of our system, which will be inundated with water by design at some point. Any trees planted in there will fail.
Mr. Hanks stated if a great deal of water is dumped during a storm and your ground becomes saturated, the soil becomes weaker. If you ever walked across muddy ground when it is wet, if you jump on it, it flattens out in one place and feels spongy. As a tree blows and starts hitting roots, at some point it will fall over.
Mr. Dworkin stated this is why you need selective removal. A Cypress Tree will not do this. Not only that, Cypress Trees keep the soil from eroding as they grow roots at the bank.
Mr. Fennell stated they have one big flaw, which is they rot from the inside out. I had three Cypress Trees in my yard. They are not very strong and actually end up with a hollow core.
A resident stated we are tying to get a definition of the easement. If we get to 10.5’ and the erosion is bad, the water can go anywhere from 12’ to 20’ to get to the 10.5’ elevation level. What is the maximum?
Mr. Hanks responded the maximum does not change. It is whatever the right-of-way is specified per the plat or deed. Where your property ends on your deed is the end of your property and rest is District property. It has nothing to do where the water level falls. This is my understanding.
Mr. Dworkin asked in Phase 2, are you going to clear out everything in the area?
Mr. Petty responded Phase 2 has not been decided and is still under discussion. We hope to have public meetings to talk to the residents about our concerns and get their feedback. The Board has not made a decision.
Mr. Hanks stated keep in mind, we are trying to balance your desire to save your tree with the need for providing flood protection to the overall community. This is what we are trying to strike a balance on. If we do not do anything and we have another hurricane, all of the trees will go back into the canals and we will have another horrendous bill for hurricane damage.
Mr. Fennell stated we are going to have to double our assessment this year just for this reason.
Mr. Dworkin stated in our subdivision, the homeowners took care of their own trees.
Mr. Petty stated for the homeowners who did that after the hurricane, thank you very much. We were very appreciative of those homeowners who understood their responsibility. However, the damage was so extensive it was beyond so many people’s capabilities.
Mr. Fennell stated the area around the corner towards the mall was a disaster.
Mr. Hanks stated when you get Australian Pines 30’ to 40’ high, it is a disaster.
Mr. Petty stated that is precisely why this Board decided to go after the ones that were a priority. We wish to take public input and evaluate the situation again. A second phase has not been decided on. Our concern is still the same regarding whether or not we are going to cause a flood concern. Right now, we want to see what the impact is. This is why our contractor is taking out those species. We consider Ficus Trees to be an additional concern for us because after the storm we saw so many of these trees down and the damage they caused to the bank was unbelievable. It took 500’ to 700’ of bank away.
Mr. Hanks stated we do not have a target set on your Cypress Trees. I prefer we make every effort to preserve what we have. We lost so much already. We value your input but we are also looking out for the overall community and what we can do to protect everyone.
Mr. Dworkin stated the selectiveness issue seems to be fairly vague. What concerns most of us is who is going to be doing the selection, what are the guidelines at that time and day of the week, etc.?
Mr. Hanks responded as far as the first phase of removal, my understanding is we are going after only those trees listed on the city’s nuisance species list, which is listed in certain sections of the city code. You can contact the City Forester to find out if there is a certain species list.
Mr. Petty stated the selective part was requested by the residents. You did not hear this from us. We are not selectively removing trees. We are going after non-ornamentals, referred to as nuisance or exotic trees. There are four varieties; Maleaucca, Florida Holly, Australian Pine and Ficus Trees. We want to hold at least two Town Hall style hearings. This is our intent and what this Board instructed staff to do. The Board is continuing its discussions with the city and it’s Arborist on their own.
Mr. Hanks asked as we go through the first phase, will we be recording which trees are native or ornamentals falling within the area of concern?
Mr. Petty responded getting back in there may cause some trees to be removed. Therefore, the impact has to be after removal of these trees when the engineer will re-evaluate and tell the Board what its exposure is on, whether there is 10 to 20 percent left. We are currently estimating 50 percent of the trees there before Hurricane Wilma were still there after the storm.
Mr. Hanks asked how many trees are on the nuisance species list?
Mr. McKune responded the majority are Ficus Trees. This is the problem we are currently having with the city. After the nuisance trees are removed, they have been keeping records of each property and what those remaining trees are you may want to save. When we are done with this phase, hopefully we will know what is on each property.
Mr. Dworkin stated saving them is not a concern because it does not meet the criteria of nuisance trees. Are we cutting trees that are no longer nuisance trees?
Mr. Fennell responded we might. If they are in a right-of-way, it is probably our responsibility to remove it.
Mr. Dworkin stated I spent $1,200 removing what I considered to be nuisance trees after the hurricane.
Mr. Fennell stated there was a big discussion about who should be paying for those trees. Frankly it is for the greater good of the community. Some people are saying, “He knew better than that to plant it there”, “Why are you and I paying an extra $100 next year to help him remove a tree he should have removed”. However, we have been able to put this aside. There is a real safety issue. It is not just speculative. Frankly we are going to go over it again in the models. There is a real danger. I think there was a lesson learned in New Orleans. Why do you think New Orleans flooded?
Mr. Hanks responded due to bad design.
Mr. Fennell asked did they know about it?
Mr. Hanks responded yes.
Mr. Fennell asked did they fix it?
Mr. Hanks responded no.
Mr. Fennell asked did they have local Boards like we have as well as the Army Corps of Engineers? They could have done something but for a variety of different reasons, whether aesthetics or something else, they did not do anything. You and I are in this same position. As the area built up the drainage problems became worse and these trees keep growing every year. These are not the small trees I planted in front of my yard in 1979. One tree came down on top of my house and caused $3,000 worth of damage to my car. When you are talking about canopy, no one talks about the city getting destroyed or a tree coming down on top of your house.
Mr. Hanks stated in 1995, SFWMD went through a complete building code revision. You cannot build your home the same way it was built in 1975. There is a whole new building code because lessons were learned as a result of Hurricane Andrew. Now they are looking at the code saying, “We have to improve the code due to Hurricanes Frances, Jeanne and Wilma”. I am not looking to take out everyone’s trees. I do not want to do it. I love trees but we need to improve how we operated in the past.
A resident stated after Hurricane Andrew, nothing was done.
Mr. Fennell stated actually the South Florida Building Code was improved because of Hurricane Andrew. Unfortunately the northern part of the state, which believed itself to be immune from hurricanes will not establish the same laws. They do not have the same laws and they need to. There is nothing to say a hurricane cannot hit Jacksonville. It certainly can. Rather than react to New Orleans and try to rebuild infrastructure that is not there, we are trying to determine the best thing we can do to ensure a close call teaches us some lessons. You are actually better not having the canal. The problem is the concrete proof does not come until after you destroy the city. We are trying to now say, “We saw some things that told us we should have been more rigorous in the past.” Perhaps we should have been clearing these trees beforehand and working closer with the city to make sure the trees are planted in the right spots and are the right type. I agree with you. In the future, we will periodically be sending pamphlets to each resident in the District regarding what types of trees need to planted, where they need to be planted and what to look out for. Frankly, it is not just the canals that are in danger but your houses are in danger too. The debris coming from my Black Olive Tree, which was 40’ to 50’ blew across my house.
Mr. Hanks stated which is not a native tree.
Mr. Fennell stated it was an approved tree yesterday.
Mr. Hanks stated the residents need to plant more Red Maples or Cypress Trees, which live in the water.
Mr. John Sirko asked have you engaged a contractor for Phase 1?
Mr. Fennell responded we have two contractors.
Mr. Sirko asked were they paid and if so, how were they paid? Are they paid by the volume they remove or what you tell them to remove? In other words, will they be aggressive in taking out the trees because they are going to be paid to do so.
Mr. Petty responded they will be authorized to remove everything designated by our engineer. Our field staff will be on-site as well.
Mr. Sirko asked will the engineer identify the trees and tag them with colored ribbons?
Mr. Petty responded we will hold the contractor responsible. If an ornamental tree is removed, which is not on the nuisance list, the contractor will be held accountable. We will be held accountable by you the homeowner and we will hold our contractor accountable for the contract. If you are looking for anything better than this, I do not know if I can offer it to you.
Mr. Sirko asked are they paid by the volume of trees?
Mr. Petty responded no.
Mr. Fennell stated the contractor we are using is the same one who removed the trees the first time around. He also took care of the streets in the south part of Coral Springs. This is a known contractor.
Mr. Petty stated Stiles submitted the lowest bid on this project; however, Arbor Tree did the clearing. Our engineers are monitoring the job to make sure it is in compliance. In order for them to be in compliance, they must go after the four species of trees I referenced earlier.
Mr. Sirko stated you are also clearing away anything in the way of getting to those species.
Mr. Petty stated correct.
Mr. Sirko asked are you going to take pictures and measurements?
Mr. Petty responded no, but certainly feel free to do so and do whatever you need to in order to protect your property. If you have any special concerns, please call the District Office. Staff is going to be on-site and we will be watchful. I do not live on a canal but if there is something you want us to watch over, please call us and Mr. Fredricks and his crew will be happy to talk to you.
Mr. Sirko stated as long as the trees are going to be tagged prior to their removal so we can see what is being targeted, I am satisfied.
Mr. Petty stated they are not going to be tagged.
Mr. Dworkin asked how do they know what to remove?
Mr. Petty responded they have an Arborist on staff.
Mr. Hanks stated the Arborist will be identifying the trees.
Mr. McKune stated there are many people who do not want red “x’s” on their trees. They may or may not come out depending upon the final negotiation with the city based on the permits we receive. When the nuisance trees are removed, we are instructing our people to locate each tree in regards to its distance from the edge of the water on each property, the size of the tree and the type of tree. When we are done, we are going to know what is there.
Mr. Dworkin stated I am worried about the ornamental trees.
Mr. McKune responded those are the only ones that should be left when we are completed with Phase 1. The question remains is whether I am too close to the water.
Mr. Hanks stated if you look at your survey, you will see set back lines from the rear. Use a tape measure and you will know whether or not you are too close. Typically the city did not allow residential construction right up to the rear property line. Therefore, there is likely to be at least a 15’ set back from your structure to your rear property line.
Mr. Petty stated unless your structure has a screen enclosure around the pool.
Mr. Dworkin stated it does.
Mr. Hanks stated this would also fall within the set back requirements.
Mr. Petty stated the city gave some exceptions in the early years in order to sell the lots.
Mr. Dworkin asked how big is the easement?
Mr. Hanks responded we are not talking about the easement. We are referring to District property.
Mr. Dworkin asked how wide is the District property?
Mr. Petty responded it varies according to the street. We do not have the blueprints with us. Your survey gives you better information than most and is available online.
Mr. Dworkin stated on my property I have an easement but beyond the easement there is a District right-of-way.
Mr. Petty stated in many easements, there will be telephone and cable TV lines. This is the easement they are referring to.
Mr. Fennell stated in closing, we are trying to balance public safety against the aesthetics of the city. We should have been more rigorous about this in the past. I think we need to do more education and sharing of information with residents of the District regarding where they should be planting and what type of trees to plant to prevent these problems in the future. We are one of the few people who have a hydraulic study. When this problem came up, I said I would call SFWMD to find out what is going on in my area and what our real probabilities of flooding are. The answer came back that no one knew anything. They asked us who originally designed the property and when we said Gee & Jensen, they said, “This is where we obtained our information from”. No one looked at it in 30 years. All the other agencies had not either. We actually have one of the best studies around currently. Our goal is to keep our area beautiful. We will be having additional meetings.
A resident asked are Palm Trees a native plant?
Mr. Fennell responded it depends on where they are located.
Mr. Hanks stated they are not on the exotic list.
Mr. Fennell stated keep them away from the edge of the bank.
The resident stated I have a Pine Tree 17’ to 18’ from the water’s edge.
Mr. Petty stated this is a fairly strong plant according to Arborist.
Mr. Hanks stated there was an article in the Sun Sentinel about the six worst and best trees. Queen Palm was among the six worst trees for hurricane resistance.
Mr. Petty stated mine went down.
Mr. Hanks stated Sabal Palms and Foxtail Palms are listed among the six best.
The resident stated I have two 20 year old Queen Palm Trees but they are 17’ to 18’ from the water’s edge. Will they be removed?
Mr. Hanks responded they may or may not.
Mr. Fennell stated we need to do something about this. The engineering study and the report from the Arborist recommended keeping trees away from the water. There is a small drain flowing out to the C-14 Canal. We are limited by SFWMD on how much we can drain out. Then there is a question of how much water the canals can hold before water will overflow the banks. The system was designed for the water to rise up to a certain level in a 10 and 100 year event. If we go beyond the 100 year event, we are in trouble. However, we found out we are in trouble at the 10 year event. It depends on the area you live in. We are all in trouble if these canals do not flow, as we could have significant drainage problems. We never had this problem 20 years ago because there was nothing to get in the way and now there is. In the future, we may have to look at some of the streets, especially some of the areas around 2nd and 3rd Street as the culverts are small. We may have to build bigger culverts or some parallel paths. We are going to try to mitigate as much as we can. Be prepared in the future to re-design these canals in a way to give us a better safety margin than we currently have. I live in the east District and I am not happy with the safety margin we have.
Ms. White stated we will take measures to protect ourselves at this point.
Mr. McKune stated what Mr. Fennell mentioned about plugging the culverts is true. The culverts need to be clear. If you picture the palm tree near the water, aerodynamically it will withstand the wind but the fronds falling into the canal will go downstream and block the culverts. Even though the tree will stay, the fronds will not.
Mr. Petty stated we are looking at an engineering answer to try to mitigate these types of blockages. We are doing more than just clearing the banks of nuisance species. We are also looking at hydraulics.
Mr. Fennell stated thank you very much for coming. We understand the interests you have and appreciate it. We have the same interests. This is our number one concern.
Ms. White stated we just want clarity.
Mr. Petty stated thanks for taking the time. It is nice to have guests.
SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS Organizational Matters
A. Appointment of Supervisor to Fill the Unexpired Term of Office (6/2007)
Mr. Fennell stated we have a couple of people here today to volunteer to serve in the unexpired term; Ms. Rhonda Calhoun and Ms. Sharon Zich. We are familiar with Ms. Calhoun from her City Counsel days. We will give them five minutes to explain what they can bring to the Board.
Ms. Zich stated I have lived in South Florida since 1970 and in Coral Springs since 1978. I have a degree in accounting and worked for one of the major builders in Coral Springs as an accountant. This position ended in 1986 when they were purchased by Lennar. I worked for a CPA for a few years and then for Ameripath. I have always been a numbers person and an accountant all my life. I am currently unemployed by choice as my children graduated college and I decided to take some time off. I live in Shadow Wood off of Riverside Drive and went through the flooding of 1979 when the entire area was under water. I had only moved in a few months before and thought there was no way we were going to flood but my garage was under water. It is amazing we have not had flooding since then. Water has always been of interest to me with the hurricanes. I am not an engineer but my experience is in accounting. My children grew up in South Florida and I have been married for 35 years. When I heard about this opportunity, I thought I could help as I have the time.
Ms. Calhoun stated I have lived in Coral Springs for over 20 years. I live in Glen Isle on a canal. It was interesting to hear some of the earlier discussion. I have recently completed 12 years of public service on the Coral Springs City Commission, which I believe is an asset to this Board as I have relationships with key people within the city. I think this will help me be a good ambassador for CSID. I am now employed by the Broward League of Cities as an Assistant Executive Director. I will be taking over the Executive Director’s position when the Executive Director retires in September of 2006. When I served as a Coral Springs City Commissioner, I was a relationship builder. There are many issues the District needs to look at, not only hurricane issues but mandates coming from Tallahassee as well as water quality issues. I am familiar working with the legislatures on some of those issues. I have 12 years experience working for a high performing fiscally conservative Triple-A Wall Street municipal corporation and have familiarity with budgets, bond issues, RFP’s, public hearings, etc. I am wondering whether I want to do this again but then I watched what Mr. Fennell did when everyone left. Everyone laughed and had a good time and I appreciate that. If you are going to be doing public service, you must enjoy what you are doing.
I like working on a pro-active basis. I have a basic understanding of the customer service requirements and the standards of the Coral Springs residents in regards to what they expect from any governmental agency they work with such as how to communicate with them. Education is key and finding the right way to get to the residents of Coral Springs. I worked with the residents in good times and bad. Sometimes they were screaming at me and then six months later they loved everything we did for them. The goal is working on a partnership basis with the residents. They certainly appreciate it. I am crazy about public service and this will be a good way for me to give something back to my neighborhood and to a smaller community within the City of Coral Springs.
Mr. Hanks asked how do you feel about the city’s recent activity on absorbing Special Districts?
Ms. Calhoun responded the hurricane caught everyone off guard. From the city standard, there were many years of taking care of the canals and making sure they were clean but there was a disservice to the residents. In regards to the resident who asked how they could allow those trees to be planted, the city is not allowed to go into the backyards of residents homes. I have been off the City Commission since March 12, 2006 and have not been privy to any public conversations between this District and the City of Coral Springs. There was non-responsiveness with one of the Improvement Districts, but not this one. Mr. Fennell came to the Coral Springs City Commission when I was still on the Board and spoke to the Commissioners and he answered their questions. This District was not part of the bill filed in Tallahassee. The city tried to meet with the Board but the Board did not meet.
Everyone in the city thinks their entire tax bill goes to the City of Coral Springs. We are trying to educate the residents that we only receive 16 percent of the money with only 30 percent going to the county. Only so much goes to the School Board. When people were having a problem with their canals, no matter in which District, when they saw the trees several months later, they called the city. All the calls went to the city because they did not know who to call. There was a level of frustration.
Ms. Zich stated I am interested in everything occurring with the canals.
Mr. Hanks asked as a citizen, do you think the city should take over all the canal and drainage services?
Ms. Zich responded we have to cut down the trees. When I worked for the builder and looked at the trees we planted, I was aghast at the trees planted in my own yard. I have since removed almost every tree and replanted new ones because they have been such a problem for so many years. Many trees in the city need to be removed from the canals. I feel sorry for the people who have them in their backyard but they have to think of the city as a whole. After the hurricane there was debris from those trees in everyone’s yards and canals. They have to be removed.
Mr. Fennell stated there are consolidation issues. I thought about running for the commission a couple of times. I looked at the city budget and under utilities I saw the city was taking 10 percent off a publicly owned utility.
Ms. Calhoun asked are you talking about the Water and Sewer Fund?
Mr. Fennell responded yes.
Ms. Calhoun stated we have not raised taxes in 13 years. The money has to come from somewhere.
Mr. Fennell stated we should be 10 percent cheaper because the 10 percent you expect to pay back to an owner, we give back to our owners. Maybe there is something more the city can bring to us as far as better management. They had significant problems with their water and one time came to us and asked us to take over their facilities. We are getting bigger and our management resources are spread out. I found out the size of their tanks and the structures they build tend to be of standard size. If you have those kinds of standard sizes, there is replication. I realized this is a business the residents own.
Ms. Calhoun stated the Board has a fiduciary responsibility to the people they serve. In the last 12 years, conversation has gone back and forth between the city and the CDD. There was other management here 12 years ago. In the past year, everyone has been caught off guard and there is a lot of frustration involved.
Mr. Fennell stated it actually did not have anything to do with water and sewer. It had more to do with drainage. These Districts can stand alone. The city does not bring any real expertise to water drainage. If you wanted to consolidate, you have to obtain approval from SFWMD who sets how much water we get, how much we can discharge and makes the rules. The city does not bring anything to the table as far as drainage. I wish they could but there is nothing of management value. They did not give NSID money when they were rebuilding their canals and did not co-sign the bonds. From a business standpoint as owners in this area, I have a hard time with this. I think we need to change how we get elected.
Mr. Lyles stated we discussed this issue before and there are a couple of ways; one is through a special act amendment through the local legislative delegation, which will only affect CSID. You can pursue this independently. The other way is to consider an amendment applying to the chapter of the Florida Statutes governing Special Districts across the state, whether it is a Special Improvement District like this CDD. An amendment to the overall chapter allows the District to have the flexibility to change its system of elections to increase the size of the Board to perhaps an electoral system as opposed to a landowner system. The problem with the system we have currently is through our Special Act, we are bound by the Florida Legislature requiring a petition or referendum. This is a fairly complex, cumbersome and somewhat expensive process to get the necessary signatures on the ballot, have a referendum election and then have the election. Several different districts in South Florida are looking at this issue. Some members of the legislative delegation have expressed interest.
The fairest assessment I can give you at this moment is there is going to be a relatively inexpensive and comprehensive and therefore even handed way of achieving this somewhere in the next year or two coming forward as a bill. This is my prediction. If you want to do this on your own, you can always do this through an amendment to your Special Act, which was recently codified. I am sure the reception would be positive. As part of your budget process, the manager prepared for legislative matters in Tallahassee if it comes to that. Those are your options.
Mr. Fennell stated at this time, we need to make a decision on which candidate will serve on the Board.
Mr. Petty stated I suggest you ask both of them to serve as there is an existing seat open. Two seats will be opening in June of next year. When you have interest and they are willing to serve, I would not let one out the door. You can choose one candidate to serve now and ask the other to come back in June. This job is a lot of work. As you know, there is no “thank you” at the end of the day. There is barely recognition. You serve in this post until you are relieved. If we have people who are interested, keep them hooked in.
Mr. Lyles stated as you point out, there is a vacancy on the three member Board. It is within your power as the remaining members of the Board to appoint a replacement supervisor by motion for the remainder of the term.
Mr. Fennell stated both of these candidates are interested. They have very different strengths. Frankly, we can use both of them.
Mr. Hanks stated I am wrestling with whether we need political or accounting fire power.
Mr. Fennell stated I nominate Ms. Zich. The reason why I am doing this is because Ms. Calhoun is going to be back next June.
Ms. Calhoun stated I will not run against an incumbent.
Mr. Fennell stated we will be going out for a bond issue and need to get away from our engineering background and have a stronger accounting background on the Board. However, we certainly have some other issues.
Mr. Hanks stated I nominate Ms. Calhoun because she brings a certain political savoy to the mix. We have nine months until the next election.
Mr. Petty stated there is nothing requiring you to vote today.
Mr. Fennell stated we need to make a decision and get the Board established.
Ms. Calhoun stated congratulations and good luck. If you need me for anything, please give me a call.
Mr. Fennell stated thank you very much for coming. We appreciate it. I wish there was a way we could put you to work. Thank you for the offer.
Ms. Zich stated I am looking forward to serving. This is something I have been interested in for a long time. Working for a builder, I know the lot and block of every house in Oakwood, Shadow Wood and Ramblewood.
B. Oath of Office of Newly Appointed Supervisor
Ms. Rugg, being a notary of the State of Florida, administered the Oath of Office to Ms. Zich, a signed copy of which will be made a part of the official record.
The record will reflect the meeting was recessed at 5:30 P.M.
The record will reflect the meeting was reconvened at 5:35 P.M.
Mr. Petty stated I provided a couple of documents to Ms. Zich. If you have any questions, please call Mr. Lyles or me. Mr. Lyles is District Counsel. Ms. Rugg and I work for Severn Trent and we are the contract managers and administrators for this District.
C. Election of Officers
Mr. Fennell stated typically we appoint the newest member of the Board as Secretary.
THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of the Minutes of the July 24, 2006 Meeting
Mr. Fennell stated each Board member received a copy of the July 24, 2006 minutes and requested any additions, corrections or deletions.
Mr. Fennell stated I request Ms. Zich receive agenda packages from the past six months.
Mr. Hanks stated on the bottom of page five, Mr. Petty stated, “Special Districts put out bonds equal to $4,500,000,000.” Is this statement correct?
Mr. Petty responded yes, however, the next sentence is not. It is not still available.
Mr. Fennell stated on the bottom of page 20, the sentence, “It was due to the wrong tree in the wrong tree” should be “It was due to the wrong tree in the wrong place”.
Mr. Hanks stated on page 29, Mr. McKune read the letter into the record, not Mr. Hanks.
FOURTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Resolution 2006-6 Rescheduling the Public Hearing on the Adoption of the Water and Sewer Budget for Fiscal Year 2007
Mr. Petty stated at the last meeting, the Board asked whether there was enough time to advertise the public hearing and we said yes. We spoke with District Counsel who said he checked with staff and there was enough time. However, our discussions with the newspaper lasted several days and our time period shrank. We are now asking you to reschedule this public hearing now that our negotiations and discussions with the newspaper have become prevalent. Our notice can be placed in the newspaper in a timely manner. Therefore, we request you formally adopt the resolution rescheduling the public hearing on the Water and Sewer Budget for September 18, 2006 at 4:00 P.M. at this office.
Mr. Fennell asked do we have a choice?
Mr. Hanks responded you can go after September 18th.
Mr. Petty stated this is a formality because of the notice requirements. We apologize for the delay. In due honesty, it was mostly due to the business atmosphere and not lack of preparedness. We were ready.
Mr. Fennell stated the resolution needs to be corrected to reflect the new Secretary.
Mr. Rugg stated the resolution was prepared prior to Ms. Zich being placed on the Board.
Mr. Fennell stated this will give Ms. Zich a chance to review the budget.
FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Questions and Comments on Proposed Water and Sewer Budget
Mr. Petty stated this is a standard item for every meeting between adoption of the preliminary budget and final adoption for discussion on any items the Board wishes to bring to the attention of staff or staff wishes to bring to the attention of the Board.
Mr. Fennell stated we need to have a better way of getting information out to our customers and residents. Our biggest flaw and what the city criticizes us for is we are not communicating enough with the residents in our District about what is needed, where we are going, who we are and how to contact us. From this standpoint, we need to set aside some money. Most of the time when something happens we are fine but we need to do something better than what we are doing.
Mr. Hanks stated I do not know how feasible this is but I suggest each Board member have their email address posted on the website so if citizens have a concern, they can approach us. It is not as intimidating as coming before the Board.
Mr. Fennell stated good idea.
Mr. Petty stated this was an item we wanted to include in the budget through management services. As discussed, Severn Trent has a public relations service it can provide. We do public relations for specific clients, typically site specific, full time applications. We did not think it was applicable here so we recommended an outside company. We looked at their pricing and recommend to the Board that we budget a line item in the Water and Sewer Fund budget of $17,500 for this purpose. If all we are doing is printing a newsletter every other year, this is what we have been doing and we can continue to do so. The issue is more of putting a face to the District. We have been efficient for 30 years and our assessments show it. We just increased our assessment from $80 to $150 a year because of a hurricane. This is the best signal of efficiency I can possibly think of. This was the biggest construction project in the drainage system since we built it and all we did was raise assessments to $150 per unit per year. The efficiency of this District is unparalleled.
Mr. Hanks stated efficient does not equal warm and fuzzy.
Mr. Petty stated the residents still do not know us nor understand the value of what we provide. I do not think we can continue to live in the background. We must get customer appreciation and satisfaction and their input on how we do our jobs. We have a full-time Communication Specialist through our management firm for the City of Weston. The cost for this position is $100,000 with salaries, perks and expenses. We do not wish to create a position here and are not recommending this to the District as we feel you can get economies of scale with the sister districts we share facilities with. The firm I am recommending is known in Tallahassee and was recommended to us by the Florida League of Cities who is a client of theirs. We are looking for similar recognition and for them to help make peace with our neighbors and other local governments in Broward County, which is a significant task to do at this time. We are looking for someone who can help us communicate and rebuild our relationship; we believe this is the firm who can do so. This is a very economical price for this type of guidance.
Mr. Fennell stated a good public relations firm should tell you how to communicate successfully, how to communicate truthfully, determine what is in your best interest of how you communicate, who you communicate with, what channels to use, how to write it so people can understand what you are talking about and determine how to make sure you are filling in those channels.
Mr. Hanks responded it sounds very much like what our attorney does.
Mr. Fennell stated on occasion. A friend of mine is involved in public relations. Sometimes it is related to the advertising but mostly it is determining the right way to communicate with people. There are things we need to have in a memo stating who we are going to communicate with, what channels we are going through and how it is going to be handled. This is what a good PR firm should be doing for us. Probably the weakest point we have is the governmental body. This is what Ms. Calhoun would have recommended.
Mr. Petty stated this is the amendment we wanted to add to the budget.
Mr. Fennell asked can you give a brief overview of the budget?
Mr. Petty responded yes. Our budget is broken into two pieces; the General Fund for the assessments and contracts, which was adopted and the Water and Sewer Fund, which is supported by user fees. We will provide Ms. Zich with copies of the General Fund and Water and Sewer Fund Budgets. We will be happy to answer any questions at any time on this issue as we have excellent people on staff. Ms. Larned is our Chief Financial Officer and comes to us with a plethora of experience in this regard.
The Water and Sewer Fund budget is broken out into different revenues. As you can see from your budget, the main revenues are going to be coming from the water and sewer billing in the form of capacity and commodity charges. Capacity represents the fixed costs and commodity represents the variable costs of a water bill. This is where we get most of our revenue. Line connection fees do not generate a great deal of money because we do not have much construction left. Facility connection fees remain the same. Meter fees are what we charge to install meters and/or replace or rebuild them. The rest are old rates that are still hanging around. Delinquent fees and processing fees generate some revenue because of the shut-offs from people not paying their bills for a variety of reasons. There are some fees for turning the system off and turning it back on.
The next item of significance is the Technology Sharing Revenue. This represents a computer hardware and software system for doing the governmental accounting and utility bills. CSID is the owner of this equipment and is selling this service to its sister districts in Coral Springs or Parkland, which are NSID, Sunshine WCD. and Pine Tree WCD. In this District, we also have the General Fund paying a portion since they also use the computer system but are co-owners. CSID owns the computer, the software and gets economies of scale by offering those services to its sister Districts and others on a cost recovery basis. They also provide this same service with some contract personnel. This particular building belongs to CSID, yet it rents space to NSID, Sunshine and Pine Tree. Its field and administrative personnel also provide services to those districts, which provide good economies to CSID.
We also do utility billing since we have such a great computer system for utility billing. We offer our software and personnel to six or seven outside Special Districts in the State of Florida. We hope to bring a great deal of the cost recovery for CSID’s expenses on its computer and software system to bring a benefit to the CSID residents.
Under expenditures is the Debt Service Fund for the outstanding bond issues, such as the principal and interest for the 1992 and 2002 Series. Then we get into the breakdowns of administrative, salaries and wages. Owning all of the personnel for this service is $488,000, which was not an increase from last year. It is a difference in how we budget. This year they became solely owned by CSID, whereas in the past they were shared with CSID as a paternal partner. CSID is the strength and the other districts get cost economies by sharing on a cost recovery basis.
Mr. Fennell stated we set up substantial debt. How much do we have now?
Ms. Larned responded $16,000,000.
Mr. Fennell stated we paid off the canal bills but we have not paid off the water and sewer. We do quite a bit of debt service each year. We incurred $1,300,000 this year. It is a good paying job. We are going to start getting aggressive with some of our facilities.
Mr. Petty stated of interest, under administrative, we are changing the pension plan from an RA style to a State of Florida program.
Mr. Fennell asked are these defined benefits?
Mr. Petty responded yes.
Mr. Fennell stated it is interesting to see the country went away from defined benefits. It has not served people well.
Mr. Petty stated there were a couple of concerns with the Florida program 15 to 20 years ago when we told the District’s not to do it. The State of Florida corrected this years ago. They have a very good program now and tiered the units they could not get rid of and went to a newer, smoother operation which is self-sustaining. It is done by calculation based on the dollars.
Mr. Fennell stated you can go one way or the other.
Mr. Petty stated our personnel will be given this choice because some people will be retiring before they become fully vested. They can participate in their old RA program until they do. We hope to offer this because we feel the employees deserve it and in order to maintain our competitiveness. As housing costs increase, it is difficult for us to maintain the median income worker. Our water plant operators are median income workers and so are our field personnel. We have people who come here to train, get their licenses and then move on to more competitive surroundings offering better benefits.
The next item is legal fees. The increase is nothing more than us anticipating Mr. Lyles having to submit some codification changes to Tallahassee. Our sister district suggested we send codification changes to help them in their purchasing authorities and pay allocations for its Board members. There are some economies we may have by joining with them. There is money allocated for Mr. Lyles under this line item because he would have to supervise any and all work going up to Tallahassee.
Mr. Hanks stated health insurance increased quite a bit.
Mr. Petty stated this is for ownership of the employees versus the shared personnel. It did not increase much.
The next item is the decrease in Project Management Services from $42,000 to zero. This was a fee to Severn Trent for having an engineer on-site. We will now be doing this with a new engineering firm, which we believe will be Mr. McKune. I cannot compete with them.
Special Counsel Services will be for our lobbyist in Tallahassee if we intend on doing any codifications, which you may wish to do this year. There are two new items. The first item is Transaction Overlay, which is the result of a special audit we did in the accounting sector of the District. We have an experienced person doing the accounting but it is a singular person. One of the glaring defects of the system is if this person gets hit by a bus, we would not know where we stand and how long it would take us to rebuild what had been done to date. My firm supplies oversight in the form of Ms. Larned but she is not doing data entry or overseeing the accountant. She has a strong financial background and is looking at it from that avenue. The transaction overlay is a double entry accounting system or purchase order system in the form of a transaction. Every transaction is written down as a purchase order so it can be re-billed and retraced. One handles revenue, another handles all purchases and yet another handles all corrections. It gives us a way of managing our cash. It is something our managers have asked for a very long time. This system is being built specifically for CSID and its sister districts.
The other new item is the electronic document storage, which is a document management system. Ms. Rugg has a great deal of experience in this operation. She collects our documents and stores them electronically under the contract you have with Severn Trent for management services. This is not only to handle those documents but the vast amount of documents our field staff uses such as blueprints, plans, drawings, submittals, etc. We have file cabinets to handle these documents both in large, standard and electronic formats in order to be able to take them offsite during emergencies but have efficiencies of retrieval by staff on a daily basis. This completes the overview on the administrative items. The line items are as you see them and are self explanatory. Electric is increasing from $556,000 to $720,000 due to FP&L increases. The remaining items are standard operation items, which are evolving. Field Operations include all the costs off this utility site and the distribution and collection system of our water and wastewater lines and staff.
The meter replacement program is something we are bringing back. Last year we adopted it but it was cancelled for nine or ten months out of the year. We think it is important to keep such a program and implement it. This is for the accuracy of our meters and is how we get our revenue. If you do not replace your revenues you lose revenue. They are by design. As meters wear, they record less of the water going through, not more. For us, this means we lost revenue so we put it back in.
Mr. Fennell stated every once in awhile you come up with an idea of having electronic meter reading.
Mr. Petty stated the cost of installation is rather high and are usually proprietary. There has been a great deal of discussion over the years about the value and payback period. The payback period for the installation is typically beyond the lifespan of the meter. Therefore, I cannot justify such a system to you. Most people cannot but others want to take the leap. I cannot tell you from my experience whether this is worthwhile at all nor has your staff been able to do so.
Mr. Hanks asked why would cities like Boynton Beach require electronic meter boxes?
Mr. Petty responded to handle meter complaints of incorrect readings and billing issues. We have trained our own meter readers. We find if we train people properly and send them out there to do a good job, this works well. However, if you hire people from a temporary service, you do not get good meter readers.
Mr. Fennell asked if you are going to replace a meter, is this an opportune time to make this change?
Mr. Hanks responded are you referring to the cost differential between a plain meter and a fancy meter?
Mr. Petty responded there is a 50 percent increase in cost between a standard meter and an electric meter. Secondly, the meter volt itself typically gets changed as well as the spacings but normally they will fit in the same slot. The issue is not so much the meter but the hardware and software to read the meter. Let’s say I choose the Sensus Meter which replaces the Neptune Meter we have been using for 25 years. It is possible their proprietary system may stop in five years and I would be at 51 percent conversion or even bought out. If it is proprietary, most operators and managers will recommend a universal system across the board. If it is non-proprietary in nature and can scan the numbers on a standard meter such as optical character recognition, we already have the backpack computer systems. All we need is the transmission to do the reading and we are fully automatic. I am looking forward to having something like this versus a proprietary system or universal adaptation.
Mr. Fennell stated this gives me something to think about.
Mr. Hanks stated we are cutting into our surplus by $350,000.
Mr. Petty stated we started doing a rate sufficiency analysis in-house to bring to the Board because of this concern. We still have our heads above water but in speaking with the engineer about the capital improvement program and the age of the facility in the future, we will be doing a rate sufficiency. We would be happy to bring this back to you at the first part of the fiscal year.
Mr. Fennell asked when will we be seeing a long term capital plan?
Mr. Petty responded it is part of this year’s budget, which is being worked on even before this fiscal year starts. We are going to push Mr. McKune to give us this program as soon as he is able. I would like to make it a standard part of the agenda so we can have discussions each month until it is complete.
Mr. McKune stated between Mr. Hyche, myself and Mr. Petty we hope to have it next month but there are no guarantees.
Mr. Fennell stated it does not have to be all in one month. You can just come and say, “Here are the major areas we are looking at”. I would like to see the big vision.
Mr. Petty stated this is what he is offering to you. There is no way he will have all the details.
Mr. Fennell stated it may be time for a site tour.
Mr. Petty stated good idea.
Mr. Hanks stated with the rate sufficiency study, I am concerned about dipping into our surplus.
SIXTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Acceptance of the Audit for Fiscal Year Ended September 30, 2005
Mr. Lyles responded the audit was provided to the Board last month.
Mr. Petty stated this is what is referred to as a clean audit, meaning we passed the requirements of the State of Florida. There are no matters to report back to you on other than we are happy to have a clean audit. Ms. Larned can answer any specific questions since she is familiar with this process.
Mr. Fennell asked do we have to accept it at this meeting?
Mr. Petty responded we would like for the Board to accept it either at this meeting or the next one so we can provide it to the Auditor General’s office in a timely fashion.
Mr. Hanks stated I would like to review it next month. I need time to review it.
Mr. Fennell stated maybe we can have Ms. Zich take a look at it.
Mr. Petty stated we are supposed to provide it to the Auditor General within a year of the closing date. We can wait until the next meeting.
SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Right-of-Way & Surface Water Management Permit for Construction along SR 817 (University Drive) to the Canal L-104 Bridge Crossing
Mr. McKune stated DOT is considering resurfacing and improving the drainage along University Drive from the south end of the District to the city. This is going to involve rather extensive drainage modifications to our storm sewers. They are re-doing most of outfalls into the District canal systems. This permit is asking for our blessing to allow them to do this work. We reviewed the plans and found some items need to be corrected. I provided to the Board the standard letter recommending approval with standard special conditions. There are several notable exceptions unique to this type of project. We recommend approval.
Mr. Fennell stated you were talking about making changes for drainage.
Mr. McKune stated this will not affect it.
Mr. Fennell stated this is the golden opportunity to move something from one place to another since they are going to be digging up the roads anyway.
Mr. Petty stated they are not going to be digging up the road. They are improving the drainage, which is outside of the road. If there is an advantage for us on a crossing, we will definitely take advantage but we do not see any advantage, nor have we been able to assess any advantage from the blueprints. This is mostly the peripheral drainage of the roadway itself from the street flooding you occasionally get on the road.
Mr. Hanks stated you are referring to the roadway south of CVS and the Auto Mall. This is one location and there are periodic locations throughout the city. There is a condition where no headwalls are allowed. Why?
Mr. McKune responded we had headwalls many years ago and they tend to get undermined and collapsed. They damaged the pipes. When we installed concrete pipe, the same thing would happen.
Mr. Hanks stated my concern is there is a narrow canal on University Drive south of the Auto Mall and I do not know how deep it is. I am picturing it will be piped from the south to the north. How far do you have to extend the pipe north to clear the bottom and will you be putting it close enough to the north side creating an erosion problem? I am wondering whether in this situation it makes sense to take the risk on the headwall. We may want to pull it back because we do not want to undermine the bank and cause it to cave in.
Mr. McKune responded I can look but I do not know the answer.
Mr. Petty stated on certain matters we will have a pipe coming out of a three foot drop and a concrete bottom for the pipes sticking out rather than a headwall. If a pipe is too close to an exterior wall, we installed concrete, more rip rap than anything else as a diversion wall for any heavy flows coming up from an outfall pipe that may cause erosion.
Mr. Hanks asked is the recommendation calling for reinforced concrete into the bank?
Mr. McKune responded corrugated 40 feet is the standard.
Mr. Hanks asked do you understand what my concern is?
Mr. McKune responded yes.
Mr. Hanks stated I will approve this subject to further review by the engineer to consider using headwalls in certain situations.
Mr. McKune stated it will be a year before this work is underway.
EIGHTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Reconsideration of Drainage Permit Request for Chick-Fil-A Located at the Corner of Shadow Wood Boulevard and University Drive
Mr. Hanks asked do we have answers from CH2M-Hill as to whether or not we need this land for drainage mitigation?
Mr. McKune responded we looked at the property and even if we were to use the entire property, which is approximately an acre for some form of mitigation, whether it be for additional storage areas, the effect on the entire east basin is diminimous. They are going to provide their own exfiltration trench. I think this permit should be approved as presented.
Mr. Hanks stated the application represents 2.9 acres versus 161 acres. However, when you add up the different components they listed, it does not add up.
Mr. McKune stated .15 acreage is a portion of roadway, which was omitted. I had the same question.
NINTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Selection of Surveyors to Provide Professional Land Surveying Services
Mr. Fennell stated this came about when we were doing our hurricane and water studies. It turned out no one surveyed the canals to see how high they are. There is one berm coming down from a canal north of us that is three feet off of the berm. We felt this could be a serious problem and wondered if there were any other issues where suddenly developers decided to flatten things out. As a result, we decided we needed a surveyor to get up to date topographical maps. Who do we want to hire?
Mr. Petty responded we are waiting to hear from the Board. We advertised for surveyors in accordance with the engineer’s evaluation of qualifications. We do not have any preference.
Mr. Lyles stated the process we are under is the Consultants Competitive Negotiation Act. District staff and the manager obtained proposals and made a recommendation through the District Engineer for the top three firms. However, the Board either needs to ratify and accept this recommendation or re-rank them. At this point, we authorize staff to negotiate a contract with the top ranked firm. Failing this, staff will negotiate with the second ranked firm.
Mr. Fennell asked are we ranking based on cost?
Mr. Petty responded we are ranking based on qualifications at this time. You should choose the firm with the greatest qualifications of benefit to the District. We will then negotiate with them what we consider to be a fair price for the Board to approve.
Mr. Fennell asked can we ask the top three to submit a bid?
Mr. McKune responded this was advertised to be a rotating assignment.
Mr. Lyles stated then we advertised wrong. I did not see the notice but we have to rank the firms in order of background and experience of qualifications in order to engage surveyors, similar to an architect or engineer. You can come back with some other arrangement after you go through this process.
Mr. Petty stated when we started this process, the intent was to do what municipalities and counties do which is to have a number of engineers and surveyors available to them and rotate the work accordingly so you do not have reliance on any one group. This is what we hoped to do. We were following a model from the county when we did this and this was the intent so the District has the best available resource from qualified firms in the area. We have the luxury of having more than one qualified surveyor locally. The ratings were close. The only reason why we chose the number one firm was because they have site specific knowledge. These are competent firms, which we feel the District will benefit from by being able to rotate these as necessary.
Mr. Fennell asked what is the next step?
Mr. Lyles responded assuming the Board does not have any further questions regarding the proposed rankings, all you are required to do today is to make a motion to rank them one, two and three. Staff can work on the details because you will not be awarding the contract today. All you are doing is authorizing the negotiations.
Mr. Hanks stated I worked with everyone on the list. However, I am not working with anyone currently. Does this present a conflict?
Mr. Lyles responded no. Past professional relationships that are not current and do not inure to your financial gain is not a conflict.
Mr. Hanks stated it is not a contractual relationship. We happened to be on the same team.
Mr. Lyles stated then there is no conflict. However, any information you have, which may be more pertinent than something staff came up with, because they are not privy to this information, is relevant now. As long as it is directed to the qualifications we asked them to submit in the bid package.
Mr. Fennell asked would you cross anyone off of the list?
Mr. Hanks responded each one has a different reputation. A great deal depends on which survey crews are out there. They are all professionals and licensed by the state. Mr. Brewer has a great deal of experience.
Mr. Fennell asked which ones can take more latitude?
Mr. McKune responded all nine firms can. The reason why Mr. Brewer was ranked number one was because he has done all the surveying on this site for 25 years and has the blueprints.
Mr. Fennell asked would you make any changes to the ranking? I will personally go with staff’s recommendation.
Mr. Hanks responded I am going to leave it to staff. I would hate to be in staff’s position to cross off any one of those firms because they are all qualified.
TENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Staff Reports
Mr. Petty responded stated the money has started coming in from NRCS. It is arriving in fairly large chunks. We are happy.
Mr. Fennell asked how much money have we received so far?
Mr. Petty responded $800,000 for CSID alone.
Mr. Fennell stated we submitted a reimbursement for $1,000,000.
Mr. Petty stated we expect to receive our full 75 percent share. We have not heard from anyone who received the last 15 percent from the state. We feel NRCS is going to honor the full 75 percent.
Mr. McKune stated plus 100 percent of the engineering.
Mr. Fennell asked do we have the money in the bank yet?
Mr. Petty responded we have the full $800,000 in the bank. We just submitted our final pay estimates, it is being processed and we expect payment before the next meeting.
Mr. Fennell stated part of the reason we were able to get this money back was because we went out for bids. We saved a considerable amount by doing so. By having a clear plan on what we were going to do, we were able to get the money back. Job well done for clearing the canals and getting the money back.
Mr. Hanks asked where do we stand on the generators?
Mr. Hyche responded they will be delivered to our supplier on August 25th. The contractor needs three days to fit them with the apparasses we need for our lift stations. We should receive them by September 5th or 6th.
Mr. Hanks asked do we have enough people to bring those generators to the lift stations?
Mr. Hyche responded yes.
Mr. Hanks stated it makes no sense to have the generators if we do not have the people. Something else to consider is this building was not built to withstand hurricanes.
Mr. Petty stated not this building but the building next door can.
Mr. Fennell asked what about the underground tanks?
Mr. Hyche responded they will be included with the next wastewater expansion.
Mr. McKune stated they are currently under order.
Mr. Petty stated the contract was awarded and the contractor is building the system as we speak. He already purchased the tanks but we are waiting for delivery. When will we start digging on-site?
Mr. McKune responded I have not heard about the latest delivery on the tanks. It is probably going to take 10 to 14 weeks for the equipment. This is standard.
Mr. Fennell stated this means we are not going to have them for this hurricane season.
Mr. Petty stated probably not.
Mr. Fennell asked what is plan B?
Mr. Petty responded to have redundant suppliers of oil or cash in a safe so we do not have issues with people not being able to use their MasterCard machine or purchase orders. We are making sure our tanks are topped off at all times.
Mr. Hyche stated in the event we receive word a storm is going to hit us I will make sure we have some portable tanks. I will also make sure I have at least 5,000 gallons of extra gas on-site.
Mr. Fennell stated make sure you have a way to tie them down.
Mr. Hyche stated we will put them in the garage.
Mr. Hanks asked does it make sense to line up a supplier from Georgia?
Mr. Hyche responded the difficulty with this is you are going to have to leave the tank on-site. They will not come down and deliver the gas. You are talking about having a 10,000 gallon tanker and we do not need this much. They will not come down to give us a small amount.
Mr. Petty stated some cities had contracts with Mobil Oil at the gas station across Alligator Alley and after Hurricane Wilma, they had to keep their tanks full and could not give gas to anyone else under preferential treatment. In other cases, the stations sustained damage and were shut down for six months. They could not fill the tanks because there were safety issues. We had the same issues here. If we have direct damage to our tanks, regardless of what he has done, we are down. We can only do the best we can. We have enough gas to handle our trucks. Now our focus is on how susceptible we are to injury on any of our components.
Mr. Fennell stated there was an issue discussed tonight on canal bank restoration. Is erosion of the banks an issue?
Mr. McKune responded I do not believe it is.
Mr. Petty stated when they said they lost two feet, we have lost two feet. As you described, we are cutting into the coral to get to the canal bank. It is such a short cut to where the dirt is, which is approximately two feet in. You are going to see it drop to its stabling point which is where it is going to have a solid wall of coral stone.
Mr. Hanks stated you may also see situations where you had an upper layer of cap rock, then a layer of sand, layer of rock, etc. It depends on the thickness of those various layers. What you may be seeing is a situation where you have to cut vertically to get through this rock. Then what happens is sand comes out from underneath and this rock loses its stability and caves in.
Mr. Petty stated in our water management program, we have some experimental use of structural elements we have been discussing with the engineer. We hope to have some trials in place in the Drainage District. We do not plan on doing anything large scale. These are small scale experiments to see how it works and what the benefit is. There are areas where you can appreciate the aesthetics of the canal because you have straight lines and nice banks. There are some architectural elements you can put in to stabilize the well. We are going to be trying this out.
Mr. Hanks stated we received a nice stormwater report but I feel we should obtain a letter from the engineers addressing a couple of issues related to the design and subsequent permitting of the District. We should receive confirmation on whether or not design assumptions as originally presented are sufficient to provide flood protection.
Mr. Petty stated these are solid questions. We are almost asking for an as-built of the facility but in advanced data for 30 years. I think this can be done.
Mr. Hanks stated they need to say whether we need to make any changes to our Permit Criteria Manual and whether the original assumptions were followed. With these new modeling techniques, we need to see whether or not the initial assumptions provide flood protection. Then they need to provide a recommendation as to what changes will be implemented to our Permit Criteria Manual or remedial action if necessary.
Mr. Fennell stated I was thinking along those lines only I was thinking of a letter to the city stating we need to make sure our permits for trees include keeping trees away from the bank and the types of trees. We never told the city what they should be doing. We have been talking to them back and forth but we never actually put it in writing.
Mr. Petty stated I have seen several letters asking for such things but they have always said, “Enforce your ordinances”.
Mr. Fennell stated I think we want them to change their ordinances.
Mr. Petty stated we are planning to update it. We need to continue our talks to the best of our ability.
Mr. Hanks stated we should consider putting in our budget implementing a procedure by which we send a mower down the right-of-way once a year.
Mr. Petty stated your suggestion is well taken. We actually have some monies in the General Fund for us to start taking ownership of the banks and mowing them. In the past we always tried to work with Code Enforcement but I can show you several canals that were walled off by the residents either with fences or other means and you have 20 to 40 feet of bank with nothing but overgrown brush. We need to take ownership of this and start taking care of this property to the best of our ability because there are concrete walls between these homes and the canals. There is no way they can get back there to maintain them.
Mr. Fennell asked how much are we talking about?
Mr. Petty responded we are only talking about starting the program because we have mowers at one of our sister districts, Pine Tree Water Control District, which we have access to. We also have two very large bush hogs. We would like to go out there to see how tough the job is.
Mr. Fennell stated one problem area is the canal by the Sawgrass Expressway. We had issues there all along. All the trees along the canal are nuisance trees.
Mr. Hanks stated one advantage of doing a bush hog once a year is you are not going to get any of these long tier trees. You are not going to have them reach a stage where they become a tree as defined by the City of Coral Springs. They get cut in their early stages.
Mr. Petty stated we are going to start bush hogging the main outfall canals. Some of these canals need specialized mowers. We are in discussions with the contractor doing the construction along the Sawgrass Expressway because they exceeded their boundaries. They actually pushed dirt onto us. We do not have a maintenance platform for this canal bank. It is such that once you plant Wedelia, you are going to let it go and hopefully the Wedelia will be the predominate species because it has good stabilized material or else natural species are going to push in. As long as something is growing there, we are thrilled because we do not have erosion. It is not maintainable other than jumping out of a boat and crawling up it. We do not have access from the Sawgrass Expressway due to the installation of the concrete wall. There is going to be a three to five foot wide walking path on our side of the wall but you may have to walk three miles to get to this site specific location. We are currently working with them to repair all of the areas damaged from removal after the storm. I suggest doing this now before they install the wall. They are working with us with our due diligence.
Mr. Fennell stated we are planning to have a meeting in two weeks.
Mr. Petty stated we are hoping to schedule a town hall meeting for August 25th. This will be an informational meeting on the tree issues we are concerned about. We will have presentations, state our concerns and take resident questions and comments. In doing so, we hope to educate the residents to our worries and bring back those comments to the Board so they can make a decision on the next phase after going after the four species we discussed today.
Mr. Fennell asked what is going to be on the agenda?
Mr. Petty responded there is going to be a PowerPoint presentation. We were hoping since we made specific arrangements for the 25th around Mr. Fennell’s schedule that, you would make a presentation.
Mr. Fennell stated I can prepare a speech. Mr. Petty should play more of a role. We should talk about where our water area is, what the basins look like, the residents should have an understanding of what the canal situation is, what happens under rain conditions and what problems we perceive.
Mr. Hanks stated we should have big maps showing lot and blocks of the entire District so people can point out their houses.
Mr. Petty stated we have self standing maps.
Mr. Fennell stated bring in some examples of the cleanup from Wilma.
Mr. Petty stated we can bring visual aides.
Mr. Fennell stated we should also have a presentation from the Arborist. When they walk out of the meeting they should be saying, “Here is what we should be planting in our yard”.
Mr. Hanks stated we cannot suggest any particular firms for tree relocation. Most of these people are not going to know what to ask for.
Mr. Petty stated we can refer them to the city and the city can refer them to a licensed certified Arborist in the community.
Mr. Fennell asked has the city provided any money for tree mitigation?
Mr. Petty responded no. We are still amenable to talking with them on this subject but we have not heard anything. However, this does not stop us from considering the matter.
Mr. Fennell stated we should put some limits on this.
Mr. Petty asked would you like for us to bring something back to you at your next meeting?
Mr. Fennell responded we cannot do it tonight. They should walk out of the meeting knowing what we are going to do.
Mr. Hanks stated Mr. John Sutton said it will cost $400 to $500 to replace the trees and install native species of trees.
Mr. Fennell asked what is the city doing?
Mr. Petty responded offering up to $200 per home.
Mr. Fennell stated let’s match what the city does.
Mr. Hanks stated keep in mind we also have to abide by city code, unless they are going to relax it.
Mr. McKune stated or you will pay the city $800 per tree.
Mr. Fennell stated the city does not have anything to do with the backyard of residents homes.
Mr. Lyles stated neither do we. It is beyond our jurisdiction.
Mr. Fennell stated they are not going to give us money to plant trees. They have to plant the trees someplace else.
Mr. Petty stated this is why staff worked with you during our discussions with the city on participation in the program under us voluntarily cooperating with them on their canopy requirements. Implementing this in-house was going to be difficult.
Mr. Hanks stated unless the city gives us a tree for tree requirement or species not on the nuisance species list.
Mr. Petty stated even though we have not heard from the city, they are amenable to accepting funds from this District for a tree replacement program or participation in their existing canopy program.
Mr. Hanks stated it is still going to come down to the cost per tree to the city. I bet it is going to be around $500.
Mr. Petty stated I think the cost is going to be much lower. We will be happy to find out. The dollar value stated earlier of approximately $200 per home, we can work out to the number of homes generally impacted. I do not know how we can approve it without knowing the sum total before the next meeting. Other than saying at the meeting on the 25th we hope to have an additional program.
Mr. Fennell asked could the Board approve up to a certain dollar amount?
Mr. Petty responded yes. If you make a decision today, regardless of whether or not the program is in-house or participating in the city’s program. Do you see an issue, Mr. Lyles, for participation with the city?
Mr. Lyles responded we have to comply with the city’s mitigation program if we are going to remove trees from our right-of-way. At the same time, we are attempting to work with residents and have some of them remove the trees on a voluntary basis. If we seek a permit to remove a non-nuisance species, my understanding is we have a lesser mitigation requirement as a government entity than a private, corporate or residential landowner has. I believe the city has a relaxed requirement for us.
Mr. Petty stated I suggest we have voluntary cooperation. Instead of saying, “I must comply”, I would rather say, “I voluntarily cooperate”.
Mr. Lyles stated the code says what it says. What is it we are proposing to expend District funds to do other than removing non-nuisance or non-exotic species from our right-of-way?
Mr. Hanks responded when we are budgeting for the removal, we should be budgeting for the potential mitigation requirements.
Mr. Petty stated if you follow the permitting functions of the city, you are.
Mr. Fennell stated if you are going to mitigate moving a tree, you are going to put one back someplace near where it was. The fact is the tree was in the wrong location in the first place and it is wrong to put it back.
Mr. Lyles stated mitigation means in a proper spot. The trees are not going back in our right-of-way. They are going somewhere else.
Mr. Hanks stated just like if you are doing a development parcel, if you have 10 trees to come down, you are not going to find new homes for those exact 10 trees on your site. You have the option of relocating trees on your site to keep them in place. You also have the option of planting additional trees at selected locations to provide the mitigation or the option of paying into the city’s tree fund.
Mr. Petty stated this is a good idea.
Mr. Hanks asked would you rather have these trees be replanted in Betty Strading Park on Wiles Road or in CSID where the citizens can enjoy the benefit of them? I am almost of the opinion we should find a way to assist the homeowners who are affected by removal of materials from the right-of-way.
Mr. Fennell responded if the people are happy, the city has no complaints. We can make the city happy by giving free trees.
Mr. Hanks stated the city gets the credit for providing the trees. We are not improving our image.
Mr. Fennell asked can we remove trees from our right-of-way and give it to someone to put in their yard?
Mr. Lyles responded we can do this under the heading of maintaining our right-of-way in an effort towards hurricane preparedness mandating the removal of some trees from our right-of-way. It has a cost associated with it. If the closest residential lot is willing to accept the tree and move the tree as opposed to cutting it down, which triggers the mitigation requirement, then we could participate in the cost of removing the tree from our right-of-way so it goes into this resident’s backyard in some way shape or form.
Mr. Hanks stated we are still faced with this general cost but we can break them up into components.
Mr. Petty stated if you are going with the city program and obtain a permit for removing Ficus Trees from our right-of-way, by the permit standards they are going to charge a mitigation fee for the replacement thereof, which means you satisfied this issue. In addition, if you have a program to add to the canopy in Coral Springs for “x” number of trees on this site, this is adding to the canopy. This is exactly what we wanted to do. We wanted to increase the canopy in Coral Springs after Hurricane Wilma. You will be planting trees in areas so as not to cause harm to the system.
Mr. Hanks asked did you say we are paying a mitigation fee to the city?
Mr. Petty responded yes. There will be a fee. Mr. McKune spoke to the city and the issue he is currently waiting for is for them to calculate what they will charge.
Mr. Hanks asked is this a permit fee?
Mr. Petty responded no, a mitigation fee.
Mr. McKune stated we have a permit with the city for 175 Ficus Trees along the Auto Mall.
Mr. Petty stated the city said they will work with us because we are a government agency in partnership with them.
Mr. Lyles stated the city code for utilities specifically excludes a canopy or diameter replacement value. It is a tree for a tree program. You can cut down a 24 foot oak and because we are a utility, we will replace it with one tree. Please do not let the City Forester try to tell you otherwise.
Mr. Fennell stated the city through their code can force people to put trees there. Are we going to have to cut them down and pay the city?
Mr. Hanks responded we have to mitigate for it.
Mr. Fennell asked is the money going to the city?
Mr. Hanks responded I would like to see it go someplace else.
Mr. Fennell asked after they put new plants in?
Mr. Petty responded yes.
Mr. Hanks stated if we can provide a mitigation option, it may mean we take more time on the removal of these non-exotics or non-invasive species. Let’s put together a plan. We can provide some of these trees in one of our parks. I believe we have title to some parks because according to the plat, CSID owns a number of parks.
Mr. Lyles stated I am not aware of the District maintaining park property.
Mr. Petty stated the District maintains water retention areas. For example, the city maintains a huge water retention area in Cypress Park.
Mr. Hanks stated I suggest we look carefully at what the District owns by plat. If we have not given it away to the city, let’s tell them we are going to put the trees there.
Mr. Fennell asked can we get the city permit in order for us to cut down the tree and put it on our property?
Mr. Hanks responded the city may not have a permit but it does not matter. The tree is there. It could be a natural tree or someone planted it voluntarily.
Mr. Lyles stated someone could have gone to Home Depot, purchased a tree and planted it 10 years ago. It does not matter how it got there. It is there. If it is going to be removed, there is obligation on the city code to permit the removal and do the reduced mitigation we are entitled to as a utility. If we join this cooperative program, it may be something different from the reduced mitigation.
Mr. Hanks stated I am not so sure I want to join the cooperative program because the city will get the tree for free.
Mr. Fennell stated I was hoping the city will provide some money. This is just a deal to get more money out of us.
Mr. Petty stated so far this is what is happening with the next phase but we are not at the next phase yet. We are currently in Phase 1. The only item we are asking for is for removal of the Ficus Trees. Because it is not on the list, we are requesting the city come back with a bulk rate mitigation cost, which we will consider and bring back to the Board.
Mr. Fennell asked is the money going for any other purpose like a new Art Center?
Mr. Lyles responded it is a segregated Enterprise Fund dedicated to a tree canopy. It is city wide, unless we negotiate something different.
Mr. Hanks stated we need to figure out a way to keep the residents happy. There is a perception they are being harmed.
Mr. Fennell stated it sounds like we need to put together our own concrete mitigation policy.
Mr. Hanks stated and present it to the city for approval.
Mr. Fennell stated a great deal of work needs to be done on this.
Mr. McKune stated it will help to have it quantified, which we will be able to do when we are through with Phase 1. We are recording the numbers of trees, type of trees, size of trees and which lot the trees are on.
Mr. Hanks stated we still have 175 Ficus Trees to deal with.
Mr. McKune stated we have more than that. There are 175 Ficus Trees behind the Auto Mall.
Mr. Petty stated we are trying to get a feeling for how the city is going to react to this request because we expected Ficus Trees to be on the list. It was on the list but Broward County recently took it off the list and because the City of Coral Springs did not update their website it caught us both by surprise. We are working with the city to try to find out if there are any impacts to the District. We need time to obtain this information.
Mr. Hanks stated on new permits, we need to add a standard condition for all stormwater permits to perform the clearing down to the edge of the water at their cost.
Mr. McKune stated let them get the permit.
Mr. Hanks stated they are pulling the tree removal permit but since they are developing a site, they should take care of it.
Mr. Petty stated we had a suggestion from the Board to update our Plan Submittal Manual, which we will consider and bring back to the Board at a future date.
Mr. Fennell asked does there need to be a motion?
Mr. Petty responded no, we can take direction from the Board.
Mr. Fennell stated we are going to have a meeting on August 25th.
Mr. Petty stated correct. We do not have a location or time but are hoping to have it at the City Center at Mullins Park. If you recall, the city offered this as a site and to assist us. We asked what the fees were and were provided a cost of $1,400 plus cleanup costs for a total of $2,000. We decided to call the people we know at the city to see if they will donate the facility to us.
Mr. Hanks stated we can have it at one our parks.
Mr. Fennell asked can you give a list to the attorney of the parks we own?
Mr. Hanks responded we own the Maplewood Park on 19th Street. I will provide a list to Mr. Lyles.
Mr. Lyles asked are you expecting Board members to attend the town hall meeting? Are you going to notice it in the normal fashion in case two or more supervisors attend?
Ms. Rugg responded yes.
Mr. Petty responded it will be a workshop since no decision is being made and will be informational in nature. We are trying to get this scheduled in a timely fashion but we may not be able to get both Supervisors to attend.
Mr. Fennell stated at this meeting, we will have the engineer and Arborist make presentations. We should have a pamphlet for the residents of our recommended plan. Unfortunately I do not know if we will be able to come up with a mitigation policy.
Mr. Hanks stated August 25th is in 10 days. Do we want to push this out so we are better prepared?
Mr. Fennell responded part of the deal with the city was pushing us to do this.
Mr. Petty stated people will perceive it as we are stalling. We already sent the door hangers out to everyone.
Mr. Lyles stated they need to limit their agenda so items are not discussed the Board is not ready to discuss.
Mr. Fennell stated we are still discussing removal of the nuisance trees. We still have a lot of work to do on the mitigation policy.
The record will reflect the meeting was recessed at 7:00 P.M.
The record will reflect the meeting was reconvened at 7:05 P.M.
Mr. Fennell asked are you going to be able to enlist some help from your PR firm?
Mr. Petty responded yes, on the graphics and brochure. We will be happy to work with our associates on a policy.
Mr. Fennell stated since we are to inform the public, we should make sure we have a pro guiding us.
ELEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Staff Reports
A. Attorney – Update on Lake Coral Springs Issue
Mr. Lyles stated I have nothing additional to report on legal activities this month. Due to vacation schedules with our firm and counsel for the Lake Coral Springs Association, this is still a work in progress. We have not finalized the agreement we reported on last month but we expect it to be completed within several weeks now that people are back in town.
Mr. Fennell stated they own the area around the lake. Do we have a right-of-way?
Mr. Lyles responded no. We have a flowage easement through the lake and the master declaration requires an agreement with the association to make sure there is quality control being done on the aquatics and lake maintenance. This is all we are trying to comply with at this point. Now that we are not going to be in the business of towing out beach boats or coconuts, they are not so concerned and they are happy to go forward with the agreement. It is only to make sure whatever chemical or processes are used is one we approved. Keep in mind, we are going to do our basic level of maintenance in this lake because we have a flowage easement and it is paid for with the general assessments. If there is something additional Lake Coral Springs residents feel like they want or need, they are going to pay for it, not us and clear it with us so they should talk to us. This is all this agreement is going to provide. I predict it will be business as usual for the foreseeable future.
B. Engineer – Consideration of Hourly Rate Increase
Mr. Petty stated the engineer submitted to you an hourly rate increase.
Mr. Fennell asked are these 10 to 20 percent increases?
Mr. McKune responded these increases come out to five percent per year.
Mr. Fennell stated $138 to $161 is not five percent.
Mr. Petty stated he is saying five percent per year based on three years of not raising rates. Is that correct?
Mr. McKune responded yes.
Mr. Petty stated therefore it is a 17 percent increase overall. They are going backwards in time.
Mr. Fennell stated if we do this, the Federal interest rates will slow down inflation and this will throw us into a recession because it will cause great harm to the economy.
Mr. McKune stated this letter was also sent to the other Districts based on corporate costs to date being absorbed by CH2M-Hill.
Mr. Petty stated while they may be competitive with rates around the state, this is not a take it or leave it scenario. If you feel the rates of 10 percent are more applicable, I am sure CH2M-Hill would like to hear our response regardless of what our opinion is. Instead of keeping the rates as they are and tell them they cannot have an increase or accept what they are proposing, we can suggest an alternative. In this case, if they have not raised the rates for three years, I see no reason to give them three years worth of raises. If you would like to look at it as what is material to doing this type of work now and give them a rate increase of five or six percent, which is a one year increase, this is something we can send back to them.
Mr. Fennell asked have the engineers received these rates?
Mr. Petty responded no.
Mr. Fennell stated then I fail to see the need to raise them.
Mr. McKune stated you need to speak to the corporate accountant. This is largely an overhead increase.
Mr. Fennell asked if the engineers, clerk or technical representatives are not getting these types of raises, where is the money going?
Ms. Larned responded to pay off the debt from the acquisition.
Mr. Fennell stated too bad. I also watch engineering rates and for the last five years, these rates are better than what Civil Engineers are receiving. Furthermore, the rates for engineers in general in the US have not significantly increased over the last five years, which is certainly less than the cost of living. This is more than the cost of living.
Mr. McKune stated you are exactly right for the pay rates you are addressing but this corporate rate includes insurance, healthcare and those items increasing well in excess of the cost of living.
Mr. Petty stated this is a very nice way of saying they included everything. This is not a take it or leave it deal. What you think is fair and reasonable is also a standard in the industry. There are a bunch of rates encompassing the zero to five percent rate increase as well.
Mr. Hanks stated I would like to find out what each engineer is being increased to. For example, what is Ms. Jane Early known as?
Mr. Petty responded she is a principal.
Mr. Hanks asked is Mr. McKune Senior Project Manager?
Mr. McKune responded yes.
Mr. Hanks asked who is Mr. Ed Flavin?
Mr. McKune responded Senior Engineer.
Mr. Petty stated some of the people are worth the increase. The question is whether they are getting the money. I think we just answered this question by saying this is not relative to the talent we are getting but to a corporate allocation of costs.
Mr. Hanks stated the other side of this is whether Mr. Flavin was getting billed at $161 an hour. Mr. Flavin is a good engineer but he is not principal level.
Mr. Petty stated this is one of the reasons we asked for a Capital Improvement Coordinator to oversee just this issue. We have someone in mind and are going out for an RFQ to see if there is anyone else we can match with. We will bring this back to the Board at the October 1st meeting, which is the beginning of our next fiscal year. Hopefully we will make the award in this month. In the meantime, a modified position is more realistic.
Mr. Hanks stated I think we should look at other engineering firms and get competitive bidding. Under our contract with CH2M-Hill, are we obligated to provide them with our work for the full year or do we have the option of going out for RFQ‘s at any time?
Mr. Lyles responded you can go out for RFQ’s at any time.
Mr. Petty stated we serve at the pleasure of the Board.
Mr. Hanks stated we can say, “We do not have a problem with these rates but we are putting it out for RFP”.
Mr. Petty stated remember the RFQ process is based on qualifications and then you negotiate a fair and reasonable price. We are watching CH2M-Hill and paying attention. Maybe this will wake them up. I would like to see this myself.
Mr. McKune stated up to this point, all of CH2M-Hill’s work has been paid on an hourly basis. We may end up with engineering fees for capital projects based upon a percentage of construction constant in the industry, which provides 95 percent of all billings under this percent of construction. The remainder will be an hourly rate for miscellaneous items. Regardless of the hourly rates, the percent of construction will not change.
Mr. Fennell stated good point. What is his official position?
Mr. Petty responded District Engineer.
Mr. Fennell asked do we have an engineer on our payroll?
Mr. Petty responded we have a Quality Control Specialist or CIP Coordinator for engineering in next year’s budget. This individual would do quality engineering. His fees are pulled from percentage performance criteria. This is what we proposed for next year. I think we answered the question you are looking for which is cost effective engineering starting on October 1st. Whatever you are asking for in this last 30 day period is not a big deal. We can hold this matter.
Mr. Fennell stated it is not so much the changes in the firm. The firm was purchased by another company. Frankly, there comes a point where we need some good competition and stir things up a bit. Maybe we need the option of having one more than one engineering firm. We are talking about having more than one surveying firm. I would also like to see our own records, which other firms can have access to.
Mr. Hanks stated keep in mind they are our records.
Mr. Petty stated by contract they are ours and Mr. McKune knows where they are.
Mr. Fennell asked are they his records?
Mr. Petty responded no.
Mr. Fennell stated we definitely need competition. We also need to look at different engineering firms to see how they conduct service going forward. Frankly engineering firms change from time to time and get bought out. We need to look at ways of continuity for our services other than just through one firm.
Mr. Petty stated your direction is not to approve the engineer’s request for hourly rate increase and direct staff to put out an RFQ for engineer.
1. Meeting Dates for Fiscal Year 2007
Mr. Fennell stated we always have a problem in February because of Veterans Day.
Mr. January 15th is Martin Luther King’s Day and February 19th is President’s Day.
Mr. Lyles stated in prior years, when other governments are taking a holiday, you have been taking it as well. Both of those dates changed last year.
Mr. Petty stated I suggest you change those dates as the public may not be able to attend.
Mr. Hanks asked when is our Water Use Permit up for renewal?
Mr. McKune responded in a year and a half.
Mr. Hanks stated I spoke with Mr. Don Eckler who suggested we perform a Feasibility Study.
Mr. McKune responded we had to do this study to renew our Operating Permit for the sewer plant six months ago. We showed them it was feasible but too expensive. It will be part of this overall capital improvement program.
Mr. Petty stated we will address this issue.
Mr. Hanks stated we have to look at the alternative sources.
Mr. McKune stated this is why we want to start early.
2. Monthly Water & Sewer Charts
Mr. Fennell stated I would like to discuss the July hydrant flush.
Mr. Hyche stated it should not be included.
Mr. Hanks asked what is super chlorination?
Mr. Hyche responded it occurs at least once a year, sometimes twice a year. If you treat by four means, you sometimes form a biofilm inside the pipes. We have to clean them out periodically with a free chlorination.
Mr. Petty stated it is a standard in the industry. Total chlorination is not as effective as free chlorine residual. Iron reducing bacteria, which happens in everyone’s distribution system where they have exposed iron to some degree or another, can create nodules where the iron bacteria will create a colony. They can actually grow in such magnitude as to reduce the size of the pipe. You super chlorinate to make sure this does not happen at least once a year to clean the pipes out totally.
Mr. Fennell asked do we have iron pipes?
Mr. Petty responded most are cement lined up to iron or PVC.
Mr. McKune stated we clean them out with iron fittings.
Mr. Hyche stated you start getting more odors when a cleaning is needed.
Mr. Fennell asked how did we do?
Mr. Hyche responded we are done.
3. Utility Billing Work Orders
Mr. Petty stated there is nothing out of the ordinary.
4. Complaints Received/Resolved
Mr. Petty stated there are very few complaints. Most of these had to do with the tree notices.
TWELFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Supervisor Requests and Audience Comments
There not being any, the next item followed.
THIRTEENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of Financials and Check Register for July
Mr. Petty responded you are not required. We ask you to approve them so we have a record of your approval. It is also utilized as a budget amendment as we change our expenditure levels. This serves as a way for us complying with our requirement to modify the budget.
Mr. Fennell stated I see $800,000 in the checking account. Have we paid our bills?
Mr. Petty responded the vendors are paid.
Mr. Fennell asked did we pay for the trees already removed?
Mr. Petty responded we submitted paid invoices. We anticipate participating in this monthly process more so in the future. When we get into the transaction overlays, we will actually do this on a cashflow basis, which will be more understandable.
TWELFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Adjournment
There being no further business,
Sharon Zich Robert Fennell