MINUTES OF MEETING
CORAL SPRINGS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Coral Springs Improvement District was
Present and constituting a quorum were:
Robert Fennell President
Sharon Zich Vice President
Glenn Hanks Secretary
Also present were:
Kenneth Cassel District Manager
Edward Goscicki Co-Manager
Dennis Lyles District Counsel
Cory Johnson CH2M Hill
Sean Skehan CH2M Hill
Daniel Bohorquez CH2M Hill
Dan Daly CSID
Jim Aversa CSID
Doug Hyche CSID
Randy Fredericks CSID Drainage Supervisor
Kay Woodward CSID Accountant
Jan Zilmer CSID Human Resources
FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS Roll Call
Mr. Cassel called the meeting to order and called the roll.
SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of the Minutes of the April 14, 2008 Meeting
Cassel stated each Board member received a copy of the minutes of the
Mr. Daly stated on page 10, “IT Department” should be “UB Department”. The third paragraph on page 35 should read, “Ms. Woodward stated because we are in the capitalized interest period on the 2007 Bonds we are not allowed to report income in excess of the expense. If you look at the revenue you will see $494,539 as a separate line item and when you go down to the debt service you will see interest expense in the same amount. Any differential between actual interest earned and interest paid is charged to Construction in Progress.” On the top of page 36, ‘descent’ should be ‘percent’.
THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS Supervisors’ Requests and Audience Comments
There not being any, the next item followed.
FOURT ORDER OF BUSINESS Distribution of the Proposed General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2009 and Consideration of Resolution 2008-4 Approving the Proposed Budget and Setting the Public Hearing
Ms. Zich asked are we getting our raise?
Mr. Daly responded that is a question for Mr. Lyles.
Ms. Zich stated you put it in the budget so I thought you knew something.
Mr. Lyles stated that is a question for the legislature. While they did approve it, it was the Governor’s veto which took it away. At this point there is nothing staff can put before the Board to accomplish this short of going through the amendment process again with the legislature.
Ms. Zich asked did you look at the assessments? The prior year it was $187.70 and they are proposing it goes down, which I think is great because the price of gas and everything else is going up. I just want to make sure you guys noted that.
Mr. Daly responded the assessment level of $169.52 is staff’s idea of the minimum we should charge based on the known expenses we are going to have. The difference between $169.52 and $187.70 is where the Board has some leeway with regard to projects they may see coming up. We identified projects coming up we will need money for. Some of the things we budgeted for in the past we have not used. This year we brought about $200,000 worth of budgeted items, which went unused. The most prudent thing to do is to have a designated reserve category with a multiple list of items we are building a fund for; whether it be a new fleet or the rehabilitation of our pump stations in the next ten years again. Our budget this year was about $580,000 for the rehabilitation of two pump stations. With this and a few other items which would be in there, we suggest keeping the assessment level the same. It will give ample monies for the Board to direct some projects such as widening the canal, dredging some areas or canal bank maintenance if necessary.
Mr. Fennell asked how much reserve do we have now?
Ms. Woodward responded the reserve you have now is $874,499.
Mr. Fennell stated I think our goal is to have this amount of reserve in case we run into a hurricane. We know there are some issues as far as drainage out of these basins and we have been looking at this. There have been a few proposals for digging a new canal from one canal to another so we can drain from one area to another. Are you prepared to talk about this today? This may be the right time to talk about the canal issues. Let us hear what you have to say before we approve the budget.
Ms. Woodward stated $169.52 is the number on the bottom of page two of the proposed budget in your agenda package. Staff has identified several items we think might be considered by the Board and need to be a part of the fiscal year 2009 budget. These are items one, two and three. We have attempted to show you what we think the total will be for each of these projects and to give you a comparison as to how much this means per unit as far as the actual assessment level. We left a portion where it says Board directive and projects. This is the portion we have not identified any needs we think are critical. There is a differential between what is shown in the proposed budget and what last year’s budget was of $17.09 per unit. This is roughly $200,000 which needs to be entered into these proposed numbers.
Mr. Fennell stated there are already capital improvements budgeted.
Ms. Woodward stated that is correct. The $250,000 line item represents the items which were not part of what went out to bid on the two pump stations. It was not included in any of the items we have listed here.
Mr. Fennell asked what is it for?
Mr. Daly responded the two pump stations were big items in the initial engineer’s report. We put a lot more in last year’s budget. They both need some work.
Mr. Fredericks stated there are some design flaws in the existing pump stations.
Mr. Bohorquez stated we found out with our computer model that some potential areas will have trouble if we receive ten inches or more of rain. Our task was to study if something can be done to lower these levels. One of our recommendations is to add pipes to the drainage system or change the size of the drainage system. We can do it as a trench lift or an open trench. Another opportunity to help this area is to connect this area with this sub-basin. The 54 inch pipes will give us some relief. Our main concern is the east basin. There are other alternatives for the west basin, but we do not consider it a major issue at this time. Some of the programs’ prices are from last year.
Mr. Skehan stated this is relative to water pipes. I spoke with a contractor the other day. Any interim price increase for 2008 went into effect in May and it was 18%. This is interim. It is not even a full year.
Mr. Bohorquez stated something we consider important is to provide an alternative route for water to run from north to south with the new piping you saw in the previous slide. The cost for this package will be almost $3 Million. The total for the main improvements for the east basin will be approximately $17 Million.
Mr. Hanks asked does this do anything to address improving storage or anything like it?
Mr. Bohorquez responded no. This is just to improve the conveyance of the water.
Mr. Hanks stated one of the things we are trying to get with the SFWMD is to try to tap into their alternative water resource. There are some funds available to provide this. One thing we have to keep in mind with the increase in allocation for the nanofiltration, they are probably looking for us to go to the Floridian. One way is to increase the amount of storage. We may be able to get a double bang for our buck in that we are able to provide additional storage in the northeast area of the District. It will help to reduce the stages in that neck of the woods. It will help to provide additional storage for water use and help us stay out of going into the Floridian Aquifer. The $17 Million is just to address flooding. It does not consider any of these other things. I asked Mr. Daly to look at other ways to address some of these issues. One thing I think we can be faced with in the east basin is, are we prepared to say to the city, “Listen, we cannot support any additional increase in building square footage.” If you own a house out there, are we going to say you cannot expand on it? Are we in this position because we do not have any more storage to offer? One of the actions was to take a look at digging out some of our canals to expand them. We will have additional storage created. If people still want to expand on their single-family homes, they have the option of buying into and purchasing additional retention permits.
Mr. Fennell asked where will we get more storage?
Mr. Skehan responded what you will end up with in the eastern basin is the availability of the interconnects to fully provide additional storage is not possible. In the area of the Coral Springs well fields, the canals go dry this time of the year. The water levels are low. Potentially, with some additional interconnects, additional water can be moved which would otherwise be lost to tide and discharged to the major canal systems like Hillsboro Canal or the C-14. This will help keep more of the water within the basin.
Certain times of the year there is more water than is discharged. This is not the case during the dry season. Last year the South Florida Water Management District asked for NSID to be able to store more water before it was pumped out to the canal. This water could have potentially augmented better storage within the Coral Springs/Parkland area, which is part of a more regional basin; this particular vicinity working together will be able to store more water. What we will need is to potentially raise the water levels by some increments in the canals so the water will be mounted in the canal system within this small region.
Mr. Fennell asked how does this relate to us splitting the difference?
Mr. Skehan responded you have better connections and better flow to be able to move the water from one place to another place. With regard to the flooding situation, instead of holding the water it will be going out into the discharge.
Mr. Hanks stated it is not a question of storing it all in. We are going to be pumping; there is no question about it. We are also looking at the fact there will be head losses during a storm. If we make these changes, we will increase resistance to the flow. You get better flow. The top edge of the system helps provide additional protection to the existing facilities. The increase in the amount of storage we have will give you two benefits. On the smaller storms during the summer months it needs to go through the water rather than up and down to provide additional water quality because you are providing better treatment. You are able to hold more.
Mr. Fennell stated in order for us to increase our storage area we have to increase the land area.
Mr. Hanks stated there are some areas where we do have some right-of-way available.
Mr. Bohorquez stated I was looking at aerials to determine what the cross section of the canal is as well as the open area between the edge of the water and the property line. We need to have at least 15 feet between the property line and the edge of the water level 14-1. If we do this exercise in the main canals, we can get some storage area.
Mr. Fennell stated we have to talk about three different things. One is interconnecting the areas, which is desirable; particularly if we can do some kind of an agreement with the SFWMD areas. We will have some bargaining power. Two, we need to reduce our own risk of flooding. Three is to increase the storage and flooding capacity. Are these three things going to cost us $1 Million?
Mr. Goscicki responded in terms of today’s discussion staff has shown you from an operational perspective you have the opportunity to drop your assessments a little bit. Meanwhile, you are looking at a $16 Million improvement program as well as other unquantified improvement programs which can come up in the future. What you are looking at is whether you keep your assessments the way they are. The next step is for the Board, the engineer and staff to come back in a workshop format to look at the wish list and compare it with the assessments as well as other financial options. You can drop the assessments if you wanted to and we appreciate your desire to do this. This is why staff showed you these numbers. At the same time we also want to make sure you have a huge upside and potential capital improvements which you do not have the cash on hand for.
Mr. Fennell stated that would probably go out for a bond issue eventually to do all of this. Does any of this tie into somehow using our existing wastewater?
Mr. Goscicki responded not this piece of it.
Mr. Skehan stated at this point Mr. Hyche and I looked into the water use permitting. As part of the water use permit, if you are looking for additional capacity being taken from the surficial aquifer, the surficial storage might have an impact on some of this. We have been talking back and forth about water the Water Management District will be requiring various districts to do for their water use permits. We would like to avoid going through the expense of going to the Floridian Aquifer, which is more than a $ 1 Million effort. There is potential for some offsetting costs between building a Floridian Aquifer and something like this.
We had a discussion with the City of Coral Springs and talked about how we can do something cooperatively. A lot of this will tie into what the impact is going to be on what the additional uses are indicating right now when we are finished with the modeling. Coral Springs has indicated they will be apt to participate in part of the modeling effort. As Mr. Goscicki pointed out, a workshop arena is a good place to put a lot of this stuff on the table. It is fairly complicated as to what is on the table from reuse, what is offsetting from a reuse standpoint with the Water Management District and how it all takes place together.
Mr. Fennell asked when are we going to have this workshop?
Mr. Cassel responded we just have to pick a date.
Mr. Fennell stated I think it is a good idea because the water issue is not going away. We need to have as a Board a comprehensive policy we all agree to. We need to have a unified policy and we have to have good rational reasons for what we want to do. It may not end up this way, but we need to have a rational way to try to do this.
Mr. Skehan stated the timing for a workshop should be tied to, it is a better idea from a modeling standpoint, taking place with the groundwater. We need to have these dialogues with Coral Springs. We had similar issues with NSID because their water use permit is also on the docket with the Water Management District.
Mr. Hanks stated it is not like this is going to be impacting our general funds budgeting discussions. If we are looking at $1 Million or more for capital improvements, we are not looking at something to be handled by assessments. We will need to look at alternative financing.
Mr. Fennell stated there is clear and present danger with regard to the flooding issue.
Mr. Bohorquez stated we know a couple of things. We know what the potential areas are which can have flooding. We know how high the water can go. Why do we not evaluate those areas? We need to evaluate what the situation is and then start evaluating some solutions.
Mr. Hanks stated some of the risks we perceive may not be as severe as what is actually out there. Keep in mind, this is based on a comparison of the predicted model stages.
Mr. Cassel stated under the NPDES program, in theory, the City of Coral Springs should have been requiring finished floor elevation surveys on every house built and elevation certificates in their files. You should be able to cross reference and check without having to do a complete survey.
Mr. Skehan stated we might be able to go to the plats and see when the floor plans and seals were completed. We can go into the files and see what the elevations are.
Mr. Cassel stated NPDES was enforced from the late 1960s or early 1970s. They found some issues in Dade County where the county was not enforcing it like they were supposed to up to 1991, which made some major changes there. Before doing a survey let us check the records because there may be enough sample points within the existing records which already provide elevation information for us that is accurate.
Mr. Fennell asked when houses are sold are they surveyed again for elevation?
Mr. Cassel responded not generally.
Mr. Skehan stated they are generally surveyed for the corners of the property.
Mr. Hanks stated most of your mortgage companies require flood insurance. That is where you are getting it. Those surveys, as far as I am aware, never get filed with the city.
Mr. Fennell asked do you want to take it on as a “to do” item to figure out how to get this data before we go out and spend money on surveys?
Mr. Cassel responded we will figure out the least expensive way to get the information. What is on the table now is for the Board to leave the assessment at the level it is, as we are working through this information, which will provide you the ability to come back, between now and the time you have to adopt the budget, how much, if any, we are going to drop it as well as give us additional time to look at potential ways of funding some of these projects. When do you think you will have some of the information on the modeling done?
Mr. Skehan responded because we had this meeting a couple of weeks ago with the Water Management District we need an approval from the Board to move forward with the modeling and the work authorization, which will be brought forward for us to do this work.
Mr. Fennell asked is the elevation of the wet asphalt in the North Springs area a problem?
Mr. Goscicki asked do you mean SWCD?
Mr. Fennell responded from SWCD. Will they run into us or not?
Mr. Goscicki responded no.
Mr. Bohorquez stated the elevation of the berm is high enough when the canal goes through the 100 year flood elevation.
Mr. Fennell asked on the SWCD east outfall canal, forget the flood elevation for the CSID, is it higher or lower than the in water elevations for that canal?
Mr. Bohorquez responded according to the information we received from SFWMD, we are going to take the cross section of the east canal from SWCD to the C-14.
Mr. Fennell asked what happens when the C-14 is 10.5?
Mr. Bohorquez responded the actual condition of that berm is 11.6. The water can go up to 11.52.
Mr. Hanks asked what is the corresponding flood elevation?
Mr. Goscicki responded 12.4
Mr. Hanks asked what will happen if that berm was a 10? What will happen in that location?
Mr. Bohorquez responded the water will start coming in.
Mr. Hanks asked will it start coming into the District or will it start pulling out of the District?
Mr. Goscicki responded in this scenario it will be pulling out of the District.
Mr. Fennell stated there is one other aspect of this. As I understand there are other areas within the C-14 which are not pumped. Is this correct?
Mr. Goscicki responded yes, in Margate and Tamarac.
Mr. Fennell stated what can unfortunately happen to them is the water can flow back from the C-14. The only issue I saw, is the little bit of data we received out of SFWMD did show during the 1979 storm, the C-14 canal was 40% to 50% higher than the design flow. Has SFWMD ever decided to do anything about this issue?
Mr. Hanks asked what do they mean by design flow?
Mr. Fennell responded I think there was a maximum design flow they thought they were going to get and they went above it.
Mr. Hanks asked does “design flow” have a similar connotation to “design discharge”?
Mr. Bohorquez responded I will have to check.
Mr. Hanks asked has any time cap been made or information requested from SFWMD on how they are operating or how they plan to operate the C-14 canal under a 100 year storm condition?
Mr. Goscicki responded I had some conversations with the Broward County DEP on this issue. All the flood maps the county has configured, which dictate these elevations, is based upon the SFWMD’s statute. They start with their source point in terms of what the control elevations are that SFWMD intends to use on the control structures for those major canals. They look at the rainfall events. They look at the modeling which has been done in the individual regions and then they come up with these plans.
Mr. Fennell asked does SFWMD have a model on the computer for these types of things?
Mr. Goscicki responded not that I am aware of.
Mr. Fennell stated so these are the same plans they had 20 years ago.
Mr. Goscicki stated this is the county flood map which was compiled using information on control systems of the SFWMD.
Mr. Fennell stated you had a meeting with SFWMD. I saw the notes in here. To be honest, I am not sure I understand what the result of the meeting was.
Mr. Skehan stated Mr. Hyche, Mr. Peters and I went to the meeting. We were looking for approval from SFWMD to use a part of their regional model and use it for the work we are going to do here. This would incorporate CSID, NSID and Coral Springs. Before we even started with our presentation, SFWMD told us they were reluctant for us to use this model because it is a large complex model which extends from Fort Pierce all the way down to southern Dade County. It incorporates many different parameters than what would typically be a small localized model. The model that is there is a planning model. The difference between a planning group and a permitting group is a planning group does not communicate closely with the permitting group. The permitting group prefers we do not use this large complicated model. They prefer we develop a different model using a known model base, but it is specifically for this region between NSID, Coral Springs and CSID. This is what we left with. They said we can use this large model if we want to, but we have to update the data which is in their model from 1989. This means updating data which would incorporate places of Florida as far as Fort Pierce and as far south as Dade County. This does not seem to make sense. They are strongly against doing this.
Mr. Hanks stated they are responding to a lot of political pressure.
Mr. Skehan stated Coral Springs has agreed to participate in running the overall model. Developing a model is approximately $75,000. We think we should be able to have the information after running the model to be able to have us understand what the big picture is between all three of these areas. It boils down to about $25,000 for each participant in the share of costs.
Mr. Fennell stated we only have a surface water model for our area and NSID has one too. Does Coral Springs have one?
Mr. Skehan responded I am sure they do.
Mr. Fennell stated so we have some kind of model which as far as I know is the most advanced surface water model in the county. You went to SFWMD to find out what the water flow looks like underneath. They did say they want you to do your own. This implies if we do the data we can go back and tell them what we have. It is our data so we can make a good argument. It is not bad in that we can actually understand the model ourselves. I guess we can draw a line around our area.
Mr. Skehan stated we have fairly well defined boundaries we can use for the model. We have the Hillsborough Canal, the Everglades and the C-14. There are three known water users in this particular vicinity and this is what the interest of this model would be.
Mr. Fennell asked do you have the background to define the underground flow that easily?
Mr. Skehan responded yes. Data is available in the SFWMD data bases. We will have to go in and calibrate this new model we will pull together. There will have to be certain places where it will validate making known withdrawals from the aquifer or wells, taking those specific points and they will be part of the calibration of how the model is pulled together.
Mr. Fennell stated we essentially have a dam here. If we store water in our canals as opposed to not storing it, there has to be tens of millions of gallons of water.
Mr. Skehan stated one of the amazing statements in the meeting was when we suggested this may be beneficial to the residents of the Parkland/Coral Springs area as well as to SFWMD for storing water; their comment was this may not be what they are interested in. If we are not putting water out into the Hillsborough Canal for discharges or into the C-14, it is affecting someone else downstream between here and the Intercoastal.
Mr. Hanks stated you do not have anybody pulling out of the C-14 from here to the ocean.
Mr. Skehan stated there is not anyone pulling out directly. The impact may have some impact on the Pompano well field just by incident.
Mr. Hanks asked are we in a situation of what happens if a butterfly flaps its wings, does it cause a hurricane?
Mr. Hyche responded the only time we pump into these major canals is during storm events or rain events.
Mr. Fennell stated it sounds like we need to keep pushing forward on this.
Mr. Hanks stated it is time we start talking back to SFWMD. What is their mission?
Mr. Goscicki responded their mission is to curtail any further increases in consumptive use at the Biscayne Aquifer.
Mr. Hanks stated NSID has to provide 50% additional water quality treatment or 50% additional storage because they are within the Everglades restoration area. They approved a bond issue for SFWMD where they are purchasing all sorts of land and abut the conservation areas. They are doing pump stations in the Everglades and we are paying to help preserve the Everglades. I understand this, but what is this money being spent for? Why has it not worked?
Mr. Fennell responded I do not know, but there is obviously a rational approach we have to find with our own interest at heart. We have to become active in the overall political aspect of this. Decisions are being made, which are not necessary, on balance rational. There is conservation rationale, farmers’ interest rationale and our rationale. We need to have rational reasons to support what we want and then we go forward to push those things. We do need to do some improvements and figure out what we are going to do with the assessments. We need to put together a plan of action. We need to prioritize a plan on what is the most important things for us to do. Above and beyond that there is the rationale about the overall plan for the entire area, which is a strategic long term plan we need. We need to look at the things we need to do right away and then we need to look at the long term plan.
Mr. Skehan stated the unfortunate situation NSID has is they have an ample number of wells in the ground. They show they need approximately another 3 to 3½ MGD by 2025. Because their base is going to be established on what was used in April of 2006, they will potentially have to change their entire system.
Mr. Fennell stated let us get a solid rationale of what we need and what we want. Are there any other questions or comments on this?
Ms. Zich asked are we going to have a workshop?
Mr. Cassel responded yes. We need to have your modeling ready. You do not want to have a workshop prior to having the information to work with.
Mr. Skehan stated we can work out something so we can start the work in the near future without having to wait for the work authorization.
Mr. Cassel asked are we talking late July or August for a workshop?
Mr. Skehan responded that is probably appropriate.
Mr. Goscicki stated you have a motion and a second on the table to approve the proposed budget and set the public hearing. I think you will want to clarify for the record that the proposed budget is at the same level of assessment as the current fiscal year. As you go through the public hearing process you always have the option to reduce the assessment, but you cannot raise it once you set the public hearing date.
FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Change Order No. 1 for Project No. IH-2008-W, Potable Water Well Rehabilitation for a Net Increase in the Amount of $25,247
Mr. Hanks asked how are we finding out about these problems?
Mr. Hyche responded these are wells #6 and #7. They are the last two wells to be rehabilitated.
Mr. Hanks asked will we get this back to some kind of well maintenance program?
Mr. Hyche responded yes.
Mr. Hanks stated this way we are not caught by surprise. How much is this change order for?
Mr. Cassel responded $25,247. Because of past history staff anticipated and put into the budget $67,000 for this project.
SIXTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Discussion of Pension Plan Options
Mr. Cassel stated the Board had asked staff to bring this back at this meeting. Mr. Zilmer reviewed the information and, based upon discussions with staff, staff feels this time, with the economy the way it is, is not the time to address this. It is time to shelve this for a period of time until we start looking at the economy as a little bit better and bring it back at a future date.
Ms. Zich stated this is how I feel about it too. It is always nice, but sometimes you cannot afford to be too nice. With this economy I was concerned about it.
Mr. Cassel stated we will shelve it for now. Staff and management will look at it as economic conditions look better. We will come back with a plan, which really lays out where we think we can go.
Mr. Fennell stated what you can do is explain the 6% contribution because when I did my calculations it was not bad. I am not sure that we have actually gone through and said, “this is what you are getting.”
Mr. Zilmer stated I think we have. The plan the District had prior to 2000 was just money we pooled into a First Union account. It really was not looked at or addressed properly. There were many years where it really lost a lot of money. You have a lot of long term employees working here who feel they should have more money after so many years, which in theory is true. I think over a period of time the employees should see the plan is doing much better than previously.
SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Award of Bid for FMC Spray Pump Package
Mr. Cassel stated only one qualified bid was received.
Mr. Frederick stated the bid has been changed. The amount he gave in the bid included the shipping and handling charge. The amount of $7,459.99 is the actual price.
Ms. Zich asked is it normal to only have one bid?
Mr. Cassel responded it does happen.
Mr. Hanks asked did it meet the noticing requirements?
Mr. Cassel responded it met the noticing requirements. It happens many times with small districts. You can put out a notice for several weeks, do direct mails and still only end up with one bid.
Mr. Fennell asked does this look reasonable?
Mr. Cassel responded yes.
EIGHTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Settlement Agreement with Susan Walker
Mr. Lyles stated I believe we can advise the Board today we have a resolution to the lawsuit. You did provide us with the suit papers. We in turn transmitted them to our insurance carrier so we can comply with the policy requirements. They knew this was coming because we had to notice it in writing prior to the suit being filed. There have been some negotiations over the past few weeks.
You have a $25,000 deductible on your insurance policy which is applicable to an employment claim such as this one. As you can tell from the summons and complaint, the suit was also filed against NSID. They have a $15,000 deductible on their policy similar to yours. It is a different carrier, different petitions and a different deductible, but they also have insurance coverage for employment claims. In a series of discussions involving Mr. Cassel and Mr. Daly we all reviewed the situation. You may recall from a year or so ago there was some discussion of a severance package. After reviewing all of your rules as well as everything you adopted in terms of personnel policies and provisions, there was no authorization for a severance package.
What has transpired since this was filed is we have gone back and forth with the plaintiff’s counsel as well as our insurance carrier. Once this goes to full litigation, you will quickly go through your $25,000 deductible and after that you will be involved in this case as well as staff. There will be a great deal of expenses associated with the discovery process. The claims are for discrimination and violation of Florida Statutes for both districts. With management’s direction and after a couple of additional discussions with plaintiff’s counsel, we finally said we would take to both boards a settlement in a total amount of $40,000, which will result in general releases for the two districts and anyone associated with the management of the districts.
It was rejected. We sent it on and notified the insurance carriers to assign this to counsel, which they had done. Suddenly within a week we received a follow up communication indicating if we could get authority for the settlement, the case would be settled. We are here today outlining in summary form what has been a series of written and verbal communications at staff level. We are here today to tell you we think this is a settlement we can live with and recommend to you.
Mr. Goscicki stated we have gone back and forth. The original claims they were looking for double, triple and quadruple this amount. We had an earlier offer on the table for something significantly less, in the order of $25,000. We came to a much lower number than the middle. We came to a number that we as your management firm believe is a good business decision for this District to make. Do we owe the individual anything? No, we do not think we do. We think this District has done everything properly in the proceedings. You are at a point where this Board was considering a severance package in the past. We could not do it. We are looking at what the cost will be to litigate this and what the impact would be on the District.
Severn Trent can tell you it has been through a similar situation recently in another part of the United States. We went through litigation like this. It ended up going all the way to court even though we attempted to settle at numerous times. We won 100% in court. The plaintiff was given a $0 judgment and it still cost $300,000. We think it is a good business decision to settle this. We are looking at $25,000 from this District. We think NSID will be agreeable to paying $15,000 to clear this out.
Mr. Hanks stated this sounds like extortion. We had concerns about how that position was being performed. We had suppliers come in to our Board meetings and represent that they had posted invoices, provided them to us and they were not being paid. The person was not performing their job and we get hit with a lawsuit. It is appalling.
Ms. Zich stated it is terribly appalling, but it happens too often. The thing is if you fight it, you know what happens.
Mr. Hanks stated I understand this reality.
Ms. Zich stated $300,000 is terrible.
Mr. Lyles stated let me remind the Board your situation is somewhat different than what was described. We have insurance. Essentially, the financial bleeding is not going to be as severe; however, with everything else which goes along with this management thought the prudent recommendation to make was to cut our losses in terms of money, time and effort. I am not here telling you that you have a weak or indefensible position. I am telling you this is what is referred to in the litigation world as a business decision and not a confession of inadequacies in the part of the personnel policies or the reviews and the effort which went into the ultimate employment decision in this case. It is purely and simply a business decision if you want to approve it. I am also not suggesting you restrain in any way from exercising your judgment and discretion in this regard.
Ms. Zich stated Mr. Hanks I agree with you wholeheartedly, but I have seen this happen too many times. If we fight it, it will take a great deal of money to fight it.
Mr. Daly stated you are correct in there is evidence Ms. Walker was not doing her job. That is not the reason she was let go. It is hard to defend yourself when our position is she was not doing a good job, but we fired her because there was a lack of employment here.
Mr. Hanks asked are there ways we can change how we are handling ourselves in personnel decisions that we can take forward so we can protect ourselves better in the future?
Mr. Lyles responded there is now.
Mr. Fennell stated we brought on more staff and because of the way we rearranged things, there was less work for her to do.
Mr. Hanks asked if we would have fired her with cause, would it have avoided any motion against us?
Mr. Daly responded I do not believe so. She is a woman in her 40s and she has a great deal of protection.
Mr. Lyles responded she is in a federally protected group and those cases are difficult to defend. The vast majority of them are settled and of the cases settled they are generally settled at a figure higher than what we are suggesting to you.
Mr. Hanks stated so every unit within this District just kicked in $2.50.
Ms. Zich stated yes.
Ms. Zich asked could we not do a severance package because we are a unit of government and not because of our policies and procedures?
Mr. Lyles responded no. It is because of your policies and procedures. It is something which may come forward later once the litigation is resolved as I understand it from management.
NINTH ORDER OFBUSINESS Staff Reports
i. Monthly Water and Sewer Charts
Mr. Hanks stated help me out on the water loss chart.
Mr. Hyche stated the red line is produced water.
ii. Utility Billing Work Orders
This item is for informational purposes only.
iii. Project Status Report
Mr. Hanks asked do we know where we are at with the project status report?
Mr. Cassel responded it is in front of you. There is also one other issue. The Board will remember from last month we were supposed to meet with Mr. Daly to discuss the parameters of how we are going to function. We met and have gone through a number of issues. We narrowed some things down. They are specific enough to have certain things done, yet broad enough to be able to work together in a positive way. We will bring this back with a spelled out version at the next meeting for you to consider.
Mr. Daly stated there will be a staff meeting every Tuesday, which is great. We see eye to eye on many things. He has been really easy to work with. I think he is a great addition.
Mr. Cassel stated I would like to compliment the staff the department has. They are picking up on a lot of information. In front of you on the table is one of them that Mr. Daly and I had talked about. I believe Mr. Frederick was the first one who came up with it. We are going through asset management and insurances to make sure they have logs and tables cataloging all of the assets of the District so we know what we have, what was put in place and how long it will last. Again, this is part of the long range strategic planning for the District to make sure we know what has to be replaced. The fact your staff is taking ownership of this in a big way is encouraging to me as I am coming into the District. They are doing a great job.
One of the things we are going to be putting together, for Mr. Daly’s use on a daily basis and my use overall, is we will create a compliance sheet so we can put all of these projects in boxes so we know exactly where we are; both on engineering costs and job costs. We can use it as a planning tool to make sure we are getting done what we said we were going to get done in a timely fashion. Some of this stuff I am trying to wrap my hands around . It is a little disjointed. People who have been dealing with the projects overall have a better sense for them. We are trying to consolidate it into something we can pick up as a couple of sheets and know exactly where we are with these projects. Mr. Skehan, do you have anything on these projects? I do not see anything serious or significant on your report at this point in time. They are all progressing well.
Mr. Skehan responded I think that is fairly accurate. There are brief updates on a couple of items. I already talked about the water use permitting. One significant item is the landscaping. The landscaping project is out for bids. It went out for bids last Friday. There is a two week period on this. We should be receiving bids by June 2, 2008. The city is tough to get information from when you want to get information from them. I am trying to make sure we are getting this landscaping done. We want to get confirmation on the trees we have selected. They said they want Live Oak in a specific area and they will accept alternatives in other areas.
Mr. Cassel stated getting up to that decision was probably over a four week period of time after they agreed on a site meeting.
Mr. Hanks stated the city will ask to have a lot of different stuff out there which is not required by code or is really not the right tree for the location. I have been in situations where they insisted on having Live Oaks in the bottom of retention areas. Are you comfortable with the selection and the places?
Mr. Skehan responded we are comfortable with where they are going. They are not on top of the berm. They are going to be facing the berm. The Arecas which will go along the top of the berm are the best for coverage. They are not allowing Fichus.
Mr. Fennell stated at the last meeting we talked about a $60,000 item on the landscaping plan for an irrigation system.
Mr. Skehan stated it is broken into three different components; the landscaping itself, the irrigation and an alternative for reshaping the berm which is out there now so it is tied into where the pipelines are as well as bringing the elevation down.
Mr. Fennell stated I could be wrong, but my memory is there was $60,000 and there was a question at the end as to why we would spend $60,000 if we are going to abandon it 60 days down the road. I was under the impression this $60,000 would go away or be greatly reduced.
Mr. Cassel stated I went through a number of emails regarding this after our discussion trying to figure out ways so we do not have to spend this money. There is a Catch-22 in the permitting process and in the city’s requirements. If you had xeriscape, you would not have to. The problem is they would not let us xeriscape so you are forced to put in an irrigation system. It cannot be a temporary system. It has to be a permanent system. It is one of those loops they ended up waltzing us into as a District. Again, I understand your thing. Believe me; from now there will be tons of pushback to any regulatory agency. I instructed Mr. Skehan to find the alternative which meets it at a better price for us. We will be finding ways to not have to do what is not good common sense for the District and our rate payers.
There being no further items to address, the next item followed.
i. FPL Transformer Schedule
ii. Water Use Permit Update
iii. Landscape Update
iv. Summary of Alternative Water Supply Meeting with SFWMD
v. Summary of Monitor Well Permitting Issue with FDEP
vi. Bond Issuance Engineering Report Amendment
Mr. Skehan stated in the next two to three weeks it looks like the new standby generator will be coming online. We will be load testing it. Once the load testing is completed FPL will come back to us with a schedule for transformer replacement. The plan is to use the standby generator to be able to power the building as well as the facilities needed when the transformer work is being done. The transformer is currently not adequate for everything out there.
Mr. Fennell asked what about the monitor well permitting issue?
Mr. Skehan responded this is the ongoing work for the retention well system. The permitting and design work is moving forward. There is a minor permit law which is going to be requested that the DEP has approved. This will move forward fairly quickly. A design package will be submitted to them within the next two weeks.
Mr. Fennell stated bond issuance engineering report amendment.
Mr. Skehan stated when we did the bond report in the fall there were a certain number of reiterations we had defined in the original work authorization. There were three reiterations in the bond report we said would be generated recreating the bond report. Additional money was spent due to the additional effort which went into this. It is all tied to fine tuning the bond report every time the numbers changed. There were nine revisions to the original draft.
Mr. Goscicki stated nine reiterations of a bond feasibility report is not a usual number. One of the issues I recall is we were originally looking at doing a short term financing followed up by a long term financing. We had one hold set of work done around that scenario. We realized then we could combine the two and get it out quickly enough, which created another set of scenarios. There were a number of scenarios. It was a very dynamic process. The issue to the Board is whether or not the Board is willing to entertain approving this amendment today and the work authorization for an additional $15,000.
Mr. Hanks asked what was the original work authorization for?
Mr. Daly responded $35,000 and it came out to $36,522.
Mr. Skehan stated there were a number of meetings held. There were a number of reports generated. A number of different people were involved to be able to regenerate those reports.
Ms. Zich asked how long ago was all of this done?
Mr. Skehan responded it was last fall.
Ms. Zich asked why are we getting these late bills?
Mr. Skehan responded this had been on the agenda a number of times.
Mr. Goscicki stated we had pulled it off the agenda a couple of times because of other more pressing issues the Board had. Do not fault your engineer. They wanted to bring this up several months ago.
Ms. Zich stated I hate it when things come up late.
Mr. Hanks stated you have a not to exceed amount without authorization. You have 100 hours. If you take one person working on it, it is two full weeks of someone working on it. At this point you have to know. Is CH2M Hill not managing themselves carefully enough so they do not know they are going to be exceeding a contract amount by 40%? I understand this was pulled from our agenda.
Mr. Goscicki stated the reason this was never placed on the agenda is because the work at that point was already done. It was not a matter of asking the Board to authorize more work prior to it being done. The work was already complete. Mr. Skehan came back after looking at their records. They spent more money than was authorized. To clarify for the record, the authorization was for $32,231. We were looking at the wrong authorization. The question you raise is legitimate. CH2M Hill entered into a work authorization for $32,231 not to be exceeded without Board authorization.
Mr. Hanks asked were these revisions and scope changes generated because of internal errors or because of an actual change in the scope?
Mr. Goscicki responded these were not internal errors. These were changes in the financing structure we were looking at. What was going to be in the bond issue and what was not going to be in the bond issue. How much we actually applied. If you may recall, there was an April 2006 cutoff date we wound up negotiating with the bond issuance that anything prior to this date we could not include and after this date we could. There were a number of situations which took place in formulating this bond structure which required the engineer to go back and rework these numbers.
Mr. Cassel stated I did not get the actual scope document until after the agenda package was prepared and sent out so it was not included.
Mr. Goscicki stated the Board can take this up next month and we will provide you the documentation.
TENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of Financials and Check Registers
A. Projected Cash Flows
B. Summary of Cash Transactions
Ms. Zich asked what is the status of the SBA?
Ms. Woodward responded the SBA just sent everyone a letter who participates in these funds. They will be freeing up some funds in June and in September. As those items are freed up we go in and transfer those funds into the operating fund.
Ms. Rower stated a lot of people have gone back to using them because they feel it was a situation with management and the management has changed. They are having monthly update meetings. Many cities and districts feel the problem has been addressed by the management company.
Mr. Fennell asked was there ever a state investigation into what happened?
Ms. Rower responded not that I know of. I do not know if it was a case of being mishandled or being overly aggressive in what they purchased.
Mr. Fennell asked did The Senate, The House or anybody investigate what happened here?
Ms. Rower responded not that I know of. I can look into this and report back to you next month.
Mr. Fennell stated this was not just a case of being aggressive. I know what aggressive funds look like and they are better managed than this. To just have this whole thing blow up like this and have no understanding of what happened. Is it because the same people also manage the Florida retirement program, how come it did not come under the same scrutiny?
Ms. Rower responded the largest portion of the problem we have with Fund B were the CMOs they invested in. They feel they will not being taking on any losses from what they are looking at. This is why they have not liquidated these funds as they are maturing. I can get you a list of what is sitting in Fund B and when they are going to mature.
Mr. Fennell stated there should have been some kind of resolution on this. Somebody should have come in and said, “here is what was wrong and here is what was right.” Counselor, have you heard of anything that came out?
Mr. Lyles responded I cannot tell you there is not a public statement or a committee report of some kind. I am not aware of an investigation of the type you requested in your letter to the Senator. I understand why you are so puzzled. It sounds like nobody asked any questions at all about this. I think the suggestion from Ms. Rower is a good one. Let her see what documentation may exist now that the session is over. Let us see what is there before we leave you with the impression that nobody even asked the question.
Mr. Daly stated we have an area here, across from the school, where something happened during the hurricane clean up. Unfortunately it was not noticed. A contractor damaged a pipe. It was all signed off on so it is something we have to own now. Mr. Hyche and Mr. Frederick got together with some crew members. They are able to fix it for approximately $1,000. These are some of the initiatives they have taken with regard to spending money to get things done.
Ms. Zich stated I was looking at maintenance under the general fund report. We budgeted $238,000 and there is a $128,000 variable. Are we doing the amount of maintenance we need to do?
Ms. Woodward responded in the current version of the proposed budget, this has been split out into three lines. The two parts of this, which have not been spent this year, are the culvert inspection and cleaning budgeted for $150,000 and the canal dredging maintenance which was budgeted for $50,000. This $200,000 is not scheduled to be done before September 30, 2008. It is my understanding staff does not believe it is needed to have this work done. This is being moved to your fiscal year 2008 budget. Those funds will be available because it will not be expended.
Mr. Hanks asked did we reach any agreements or an understanding as to our responsibilities for canal bank restorations?
Mr. Lyles responded this task is still a work in process. It is proving to be more difficult than we all imagined going in; partly because of the many different kinds of records as well as the different sources for the records we need to thoroughly review in order to take a position. What I want to make clear is the Board’s policy that you are not responsible for maintaining those private sources of property issues where we have normal wear and tear erosion, hurricane damages and things of that nature, continues to be the policy.
What I am being tasked from management is to explore everything that would impact upon this; the permitting from SFWMD as well as the city and the nature of conveyances. Homeowner’s documents have proven to be an issue as well. In some cases we believe we are going to find a homeowner’s document mandate maintenance by abutting homeowners of the areas at the rear of their private property. We have to do quite a bit of title and record searching to have a definitive overall position on this. It is something we are working on. More than one attorney is involved and Mr. Cassel has taken a big role in this as well. I do not think you can raise enough money and I do not think any other district or governmental entity budgets to maintain all the waterways within its jurisdiction if there are problems. We want to make sure we have the right answer with the right support. Some of it is buried at SFWMD. Some of it is buried at CH2M Hill. We are still piecing it all together.
Mr. Hanks asked do we have any more information on the Coral Springs Animal Hospital? When we approved the permit we had a representative from the animal hospital here. We had their attorney here. We had their architect and engineer here. As recorded in the minutes, it reflected they were doing minor modifications to the building. They left four walls standing and busted out all that was remaining of the existing building. We approached the permit issuance as saying, “Well, you are doing minor modifications to the building and not changing the building. Go forward.” I feel like we were sold a bill of goods and it was not what they were intending to do. Do we have any ability to go back and reconsider the permit?
Mr. Lyles responded yes. The power to issue a permit includes the power to rescind the permit if you find either misrepresentations were made at the time the permit was requested or the project has gone beyond the scope of the original approval. I reviewed those minutes. They did indicate they were talking about a 700 foot additional parking area. This was the cause of the approach and there was nothing really happening with the building itself. If the Board is in a position where it feels the true nature of the work was a misrepresentation, you can bring this up. It has to be a misrepresentation and not just a little error which is not substantive or material. It has to be material. If you want to bring this back up, you can. You can rescind the permit if you find these things have occurred.
Mr. Hanks stated I want CH2M Hill to develop regulations for redevelopment. Many cities have a requirement if you are going to destroy, demolish or tear down more than 50% of the value of the structure that is not conforming, you have to demolish the rest of it and build it to current standards. When you take a look at it from that standpoint they are not conforming. They are not providing water quality and they are not providing quantity, which are both regulations we have. Are they really keeping enough of the project to qualify as non conforming?
Mr. Lyles responded your question is a good one, but the standards are going to be different. Unlike a city or a county with police power as well as zoning and land use power, which is where the non conforming 50% rule generally comes from. We have limited focus power related to our ability to issue permits for discharging into our water management system. The materiality of the variation will need to be something relevant in terms of our legislatively approved powers in terms of water management.
Mr. Hanks asked can we go and inspect the work?
Mr. Lyles responded I think we typically would do some sort of look at the change to the way the discharge is going to be handled into our system. I assume there is something more than just runoff, but I do not know. I do not know much about the project or what is going on. I was asked if there is the ability to rescind a permit that you already voted to approve and my answer is yes, based on those things we talked about; material changes to the project relevant to our permitting authority.
Mr. Fennell stated but we have the ability to inspect it.
Mr. Lyles stated sure we do.
Mr. Fennell stated let us do it.
Mr. Lyles stated there are two problems. You did not have a lot in writing submitted and a lot of engineering review when this came up. You had a lot of verbal representations by project representatives as well as some give and take on the nature of the modifications. The other thing is we do not have a target, threshold or a standard for when we do require the project, similar to the 50% you are talking about; there is something I think we would have the ability to adopt which is analogous to that. In terms of how much of the building they are going to change, it is a zoning issue for the city to take up until we adopt a standard providing a threshold.
Mr. Cassel stated we will make sure staff and I get with the city to make sure we are all on the same page to accomplish what their intent of their code is as well as what our intent of our operating standards are.
Mr. Fennell stated I was wondering if you guys have thought about whether we still need Mr. McKune’s services?
Mr. Cassel stated I had discussions with Mr. McKune and he has had discussions with CH2M Hill. I am waiting for him to bring his proposal back. He will be operating more in an as needed basis on historical type issues. Beyond that he is not going to be as involved as he was in the past.
ELEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Adjournment
There being no further business,
Glen Hanks Robert D. Fennell