MINUTES OF MEETING
PINE TREE WATER CONTROL DISTRICT
regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Pine Tree Water Control
District was held on
Present and constituting a quorum were:
David Rosenof President
Margaret Bertolami Vice President
Donna Benckenstein Assistant Secretary
Paul Brewer Assistant Secretary
Mimi Bright Ribotsky Assistant Secretary
Also present were:
John Petty Manager
DJ Doody Attorney
Warren Craven Engineer
Randy Frederick District Staff
John McKune CH2M Hill
FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS Roll Call
Mr. Rosenof called the meeting to order and Mr. Petty called the roll.
SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of the Minutes of the March 2, 2006 Meeting
Rosenof stated each Board member received a copy of the minutes of the
Mr. Craven stated the word “leaps” in the last sentence of page eight should be “mates”.
ORDER OF BUSINESS Discussion
Mr. Petty stated we received an update from Mr. Laystrom. It was too late to include it in the agenda package. Mr. Laystrom has done preliminary work, which he feels is pertinent. This is his way of minimizing any costs to the District. A survey of the area was performed and he looked into getting the FPL easement assigned to the District. The trees were removed.
Mr. Rosenof stated tell me how it happened. How were they able to remove the trees from within the easement?
Mr. Petty responded I am unaware of how he was able to accomplish it.
Mr. Rosenof stated I assume it had nothing to do with us.
Mr. Petty stated no sir.
Mr. Rosenof asked can you give me an update on payments up to date?
Mr. Petty responded the counselor submitted a check to the District. The check cleared and it is for the attorney’s work. We were waiting for today’s meeting to discuss whether or not we will go forward and to what degree we will work with this group on any amounts required up front before starting. After becoming aware of what happened at the last meeting, Mr. Laystom came up with these items to address a positive forward look.
Mr. Rosenof asked what about Mr. Craven’s cost?
Mr. Petty responded Mr. Craven has not submitted any bills.
Mr. Rosenof asked were we going to establish a fund going forward?
Mr. Petty responded part of this will be discussed tonight. It appears they wish to go forward. They still wish to discuss this with us. At a previous meeting we discussed this will require considerable work for the District to do without having the assessment approval process done. We were more comfortable having staff review this if a set fee was provided by this group, showing their ability to pay. This is an HOA. One of the reasons they are asking us to do this is because they have been unable to do it themselves through their fee based process. I do not know how much money they will be able to raise through the HOA to prepay these costs.
Ms. Ribotsky stated she said they had money from a reserve. At one point we threw out an amount of $20,000 and she said they had money in reserves or they can move numbers around when they do their budget.
Mr. Rosenof stated I do not remember a specific amount, but I do remember her saying she had a budget for it.
Mr. Petty stated I do not believe we can do this for a long period of time before they hit their ceiling because they were not able to do this in the past.
Ms. Ribotsky asked what do you mean?
Mr. Petty responded they were not able to maintain their area through the fee based system of the HOA.
Ms. Ribotsky stated I know, but they know there will be incremental costs. At this point they are only asking for an assessment. They are going to put money in an escrow account. We were going to spec out what is needed, how much it will cost and hold a public hearing to see if there is interest before we move forward. We need to tell them how much money we need in escrow through your fees to spec out the program, Mr. Doody’s fees, and Mr. Craven’s fees to make sure everything is okay.
Mr. Rosenof stated it can be a monthly thing. It does not have to be an entire estimate. Is it really escrow or can it be on account? Does an escrow need to be set up?
Mr. Doody responded you can set an escrow amount. They can establish a separate bank account. Were they not going to report back to us on whether or not their HOA was amenable to the assessment process?
Ms. Ribotsky responded I do not believe they can do that until they have the estimate of what everything is.
Mr. Rosenof asked what kind of action are we looking to take tonight?
Mr. Petty responded you are looking to ask your attorney to come up with an estimate of fees for any additional reviews he anticipates. We cannot ask him for a not to exceed amount because we do not know. We would ask the same from the engineer. Those are your two primary bodies. Your manager does not work by the hour. It is part of the workload.
Mr. Craven stated you had a chance to visibly observe this when we had a field examination a month ago. In regard to the engineer estimate, there are two ways you can approach this. You can refurbish and redo what they had before or you can go to a closed culvert system. It does not appear they have any desire to go along with what exists there. When they cleaned it up they put hedges, bridges and everything else in. A culvert is going to be obscene in cost. It will be difficult, if not impossible, for me to justify the cost involved with a culvert.
Mr. Rosenof asked is it $500 a foot?
Mr. Craven responded it can be anything.
Mr. Rosenof stated we should not be making the judgment for the HOA if they want it and they are willing to pay for it.
Ribotsky stated we mentioned it to Ms. Yousefi at the workshop. She said they know. People have been spoken to. They have received code violations from
Mr. Brewer stated we will have to go back to them and tell them they can fix it for an estimated cost of this much. If they want to fight, it will be this much.
Mr. Rosenof stated we cannot do it without doing some homework. We cannot get around it. We are going to need to spend money on our attorney and engineer to give them an estimate. They made the commitment of wanting to pay to get this estimate. We can make judgments all day long that they will not want to do it, but we made the commitment to help them. We should move forward to do it.
Mr. Rosenof asked a scope of work for what?
Ms. Ribotsky responded to get to the point of what it will be. Whether it be a survey or evaluating costs between a culvert and a ditch.
Mr. Rosenof asked how is this different than what Mr. Petty was saying we need from the attorney? It sounds like the same thing.
Ms. Ribotsky responded we need to put it in writing and give it to them.
Mr. Petty stated what everyone is trying to get to is addressing the wishes of the people in the community of Butler Farms. We have not been able to meet with the people in Butler Farms to tell them we are looking at two issues; an open swale design and a culvert design. We talked about the problems with the culvert and the lack of space. Everything is so tight it will be against their backyard. The culvert system has benefits, but it comes at a high cost. They need to give us direction so the engineer and the attorney can give an estimate of cost more clearly. It is currently an open book.
Mr. Rosenof stated we are just asking for an estimate of cost for creating the RFP. I do not know if we need to go through all of this just to tell them it is going to cost $20,000 to put an RFP together. It sounds like we are mixing the two tasks.
Ms. Benckenstein asked are we not talking about an engineer’s report which will give the differences between a culvert and an open swale?
Mr. Rosenof responded in the feasibility of the project in general. In order to do the project we are going to need to get X, Y and Z. The task of what we need to do to get to an RFP is the first task. We will then need an RFP to find out what the costs are. They may be willing to spend $20,000 to get an estimate, but they may not be willing to spend $2Million to do the project. It sounds like you are mixing the two tasks together.
Mr. Petty stated I am adding a task I know I will have to do, which is the financial analysis. For me to give you and the people at Butler Farms an accurate financial analysis, I will have to know what the fixed costs are. It will tie the engineer to a specific design.
Mr. Rosenof asked are you saying both tasks must be done simultaneously?
Mr. Petty responded for them to give a good consideration they will need to know the cost. I will have to do an evaluation on funding, whether it is long term or short term, on the assessment model, what the overhead costs of the funding mechanism are and how it gets applied across the unit.
Mr. Rosenof asked how do you suggest we move forward?
Mr. Petty responded you assign a committee or staff to talk to Butler Farms to get a clear definition.
Mr. Rosenof asked are you talking about a sub-committee of this?
Mr. Petty responded if we are going to take public comments from the Butler Farms HOA, which may have 25 to 50 people at the meeting, it may be appropriate for a member of the Board to be part of this committee.
Ms. Ribotsky asked is it necessary for us to be part of their meeting? Why do they not come up with a vote on it and let us know what they want? Do we not need an engineer’s report to show them how much it is going to cost to fill a culvert and how much it will be to have it in the open?
Mr. Rosenof responded we cannot know without doing homework.
Ms. Benckenstein stated I remember them saying they did not want a culvert. They realized how much it was going to be and they wanted something which was going to work and not cost much.
Mr. Rosenof stated they want something which will work or they want it restored to its original grandeur. They may be mutually exclusive things. It never worked before.
Ms. Benckenstein stated I thought it worked when it was clean.
Mr. Rosenof stated it was not a class four rapid. It is a ditch.
Mr. Petty stated we met with their representative, Mr. Laystrom. We met with the city staff who tried to help them work out various issues. We were able to clear many of the issues the city had which had to do with code enforcement. We brought it back to the Board as a drainage request. Your engineer has explained to you the difficulties of access and limited space. He explained the two general engineering criteria as well. To come up with a scope for either is a large ball park. If you want to work with this, we can start. If you would like to take public comment from the HOA to get direction from them, you will go past the representative and to the people in the community.
Mr. Rosenof stated we should delay this until we get answers. The worst thing to do is to stand before the public without answers.
Mr. Craven stated they never had a problem until Coral Springs Code Enforcement cited them.
Mr. Brewer asked what will it cost for you to put together a number?
Mr. Craven responded your access is going to be critical. He is working on it. If you go to a culvert, you are going to have earth moving to do because there is not enough dirt; $10,000 to $25,000 will be more than adequate.
Mr. Brewer asked for design or for preliminary studies?
Mr. Craven responded for a report of what the pros and cons are as well as cost estimates.
Mr. Rosenof stated to do an engineer’s estimate.
Mr. Craven stated I will have to talk to a couple of qualified contractors.
Ms. Ribotsky asked how much will it cost for you to prepare a report on an open swale? Will it be the same amount of money?
Mr. Craven responded no. We will still talk to a contractor. The problem is you are in tight confines. You have no place for the equipment to do the work. You cannot work from both sides. You have to work from one side. There will be restrictions.
Mr. Rosenof asked what is the estimate of your scope of work to get to this point?
Mr. Doody responded I will try to do the best estimate and it will be based on an hourly basis. I will have to talk to Mr. Craven to see what involvement he anticipates me having. I would be guessing right now.
Mr. Rosenof stated tell us how to proceed.
Mr. Petty stated we need to get ballpark construction estimates from our engineer. I would do a financial analysis one third below it and one third above it.
Mr. Rosenof stated let us stand back. Before he starts his estimate, do we need to go to Butler Farms and say we will need $10,000 to $25,000 as well as money for Mr. Doody? How do we go about this process? How do we say this is the pocket money we need to spend in order to get to this point? Even if the project gets abandoned or Mr. Doody has to spend more money, they are committed to doing this. How do we get to that point?
Mr. Petty responded you arrive at a guesstimate and relay it to them. If it is more, they have to put in more. If the work stops or it is less, they get the money back.
Ms. Ribotsky stated it is a letter of agreement. It does not have to be a contract.
Mr. Rosenof stated the letter will come from the Board. Our first task is to draft a letter of agreement saying in order to come up with an estimate it is going to cost no less than $25,000 and if it is more we will need approval. If they say it is too much money and they want to stop, it is there prerogative to do so. You can draft a letter to Butler Farms. Is this a good first step?
Mr. Petty responded you will be able to test their commitment to the project and their ability to address the financial burden.
Mr. Rosenof asked can you draft a letter?
Mr. Petty responded yes sir. I believe the amount you stated was $25,000.
Mr. Rosenof stated Mr. Craven was saying $10,000 to $25,000. If he is $10,000 to $15,000, it is no less than $25,000 and no more than $50,000 unless he gets the authorization to go higher.
Ribotsky stated I am stuck on how high the prices are. We are doing a survey at the City of
Mr. Rosenof stated we are asking these guys to throw out a number.
Mr. Craven stated I would rather tell you it might cost $25,000 and it end up costing $7 than telling you it will cost $7 and it costs $25,000.
Ms. Ribotksy stated $25,000 is on the high end.
Mr. Rosenof stated it is their prerogative to say no.
Ms. Ribotsky asked is there a time frame you are thinking of? Is this something you are committing yourself to do within a month?
Mr. Craven responded you will probably get this within two to three days.
Mr. Rosenof stated you cannot go until we get this agreement drafted and approved. Let us put a time on what we want to get to them.
Mr. Craven stated do not get hung up on $25,000. This is going to be done based on information available at the present time. No field work is anticipated.
Mr. Rosenof asked do we have clear direction?
Mr. Petty responded yes sir. Staff will put the agreement together and pass it on to Mr. Laystrom to bring to the HOA. If they agree to it and deposit the funds, we will contact the engineer.
Mr. Rosenof asked how much of the funds will we ask them to deposit? Will it be the entire amount?
Mr. Petty responded yes sir.
Mr. Rosenof stated let us make sure we understand the parameters. We are going to give them a time date certain of 60 days from acceptance for delivery of it.
Mr. Petty stated that we anticipate the work being done.
Mr. Rosenof stated we anticipate the work to be done within 60 days. We are going to put an estimate of $25,000. If they hit a threshold of $50,000, they have the right to tell us to stop.
Ms. Ribotsky stated I want to make a suggestion. I do not know how many HOAs have that much liquid. You said they have a line of credit. We should ask for 50% of the payment to start and then 50% after 30 days. Within the first 30 days we will know if we have to ask for payment of the other 50%. It is a great deal of money to ask on one check if we know we might not spend it.
Mr. Rosenof stated we should have payment terms per mutual consent. I am trying to put this in staff’s hands so we do not have to look at it every month. If we are going to help these people, let us go help them.
Mr. Brewer asked could you not do it where if you received a $25,000 deposit and it went down to $5,000, you would say you need an additional $10,000? You will progressively hold some of their money and when it gets to $5,000 you ask for $10,000 more. Some of the governmental agencies we work for do this. They say the account can never be less than $1,000. If you give them $3,000 and they spend $2,000, you have to give them more.
Mr. Petty stated in summarizing what the Board is talking about, you are looking for a letter of agreement with a deposit of approximately $25,000, or possibly half of this amount, for the HOA to pay to the District for the engineer to evaluate options. More money may be needed and the agreement should specify they are responsible for any additional costs. It should also specify they will get back any money not spent. We should have this evaluation within 60 days of the deposit.
Mr. Rosenof stated the evaluation will be discussed with them in an open forum.
Mr. Petty stated I will put in language, unless you tell me otherwise, we are not responsible for providing any product other than an evaluation. It will not commit us to doing the work.
Mr. Rosenof asked do we have a motion?
Mr. Petty responded I can take direction from you.
Mr. Rosenof stated so directed.
FOURTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Discussion of Management Services Proposal
Mr. Doody stated I believe you received them. We received proposals from five different firms. They were Federal Expressed to either your offices or your personal residences. I look for your direction at this point. I do not know if you had a chance to review them.
Mr. Rosenof asked what was our time frame when we originally discussed what we were going to do?
Mr. Doody responded I gave you additional time. I gave you until June for interviews. I did not know if we were going to have a meeting every month. There are periods of time when the Board does not meet. The RFP provided a two month time period of review and then an interview for selection in July or August. You will have someone come on Board in time for the fiscal year.
Mr. Rosenof stated we can elect to have a meeting and have 15 minute proposals. The one thing I wanted to get from this process was to verify interest. We have interest from all five firms.
Ms. Ribotsky stated aside from having presentations, we might want to divide and conquer for references. Each of us might want to have an idea of what questions we want to ask for references. I can take two companies and call them.
Mr. Rosenof stated there are a few different phases. There is a proposal, a presentation, an interview, reference checking and there is a contract. Do we have a contract with Severn Trent Services?
Mr. Petty responded yes sir.
Mr. Rosenof stated it will be interesting to read some day.
Mr. Petty stated it is fairly simple. It is similar to a handshake deal.
Mr. Rosenof stated whatever contract we will look for these guys to sign going forward, we will need confirmation there is nothing they will object to. I would hate to go through the presentation, pick someone and then they will not want to sign the contract. I am looking for comments on how we do this.
Ms. Bertolami stated we can start with the presentations first, the references and then the contract.
Ms. Ribotsky stated if the presentation bombs, we may not want to waste our time getting the references. I hate saying it, but they all blend together. We will get a better feel of how they operate from their presentation where we can have more interaction. We can then go to references.
Mr. Rosenof stated we need to decide collectively on the selection criteria. We talked about subjective and objective. Are we going to vote for someone or are we going to do a score sheet? We should come to an agreement of how we do it. There are pros and cons on doing it both ways.
Mr. Doody stated the RFP provided that persons and firms responding to the request should be available for presentations and interviews with the Board on a date and time to be determined between June and July. They will be identified at a regular meeting held April 6, 2006 and May 4, 2006. The Board may review all proposals and determine which proposers, if any, should be interviewed. It will be provided on a date and time to be determined between August and September of 2006, the Board will receive presentations from all proposers selected for interviews. It will be determined tentatively whether to designate one of the interviewed firms as District manager. On September 7, 2006, which is the scheduled meeting, you will authorize execution of contract.
Mr. Rosenof asked at what point does the financial terms of the deal come in to play? We are taking Mr. Petty’s advice where it should not be the initial criteria.
Mr. Doody responded it depends on whether or not you want to interview all five. If you want to determine the top two or top three, you will want to engage in those interviews.
Mr. Rosenof asked does anyone see any firm we want to throw out?
Mr. Brewer responded I questioned one of them because they seem to be an out of state company.
Mr. Rosenof asked which one was it?
Brewer responded their home office seems to be somewhere else and they work in
Petty stated I have not seen the list of submittals so I cannot help. To my knowledge all of these companies are in
Brewer stated the only reason I mentioned it is because their corporate office
Mr. Petty stated that would be Mr. Mossing.
Mr. Rosenof stated I wonder whether or not we should do this process on a semi regular basis, even if we decide to keep Severn Trent Services. Not annually, but every few years.
Ms. Ribotsky stated probably every five years.
Mr. Rosenof stated we ought to revisit this even if we keep Severn Trent Services. It is healthy to know who is out there. Is there anyone we want to throw out? We will keep all five proposals hearing no objection. Is the next step to hear presentations or do we want to do references first?
Ms. Bertolami responded I would say presentations.
Mr. Brewer stated if we have the time to take 30 days between now and the next meeting, let us make a few phone calls before we throw one out or entertain them all.
Ms. Bertolami stated we might save ourselves the time of making phone calls if we are going to throw them out after their presentation.
Ms. Ribotsky stated one thing we can do now is establish criteria you can grade from one to ten.
Mr. Rosenof stated let us do one piece at a time. The next step is going to be presentations. Do we have consensus?
There was Board consensus to do presentations first.
Mr. Rosenof asked when are we going to have them? Is 30 days from now enough? Can they be done in 15 minutes or 30 minutes?
Mr. Doody responded they should be available to do presentations between June and July. If the Board wants to accelerate the process, I can contact them.
Ms. Ribotsky stated I feel June is fine. At the next meeting we can come up with scoring criteria for the presentations. It will give us an idea of what we want to assess during the presentations and how we want to handle it.
Mr. Rosenof stated give them what questions we want them to address.
Mr. Brewer asked can we do them all in one night?
Mr. Rosenof responded that is the next question. Is 15 minutes enough or is 30 minutes too much?
Mr. Petty responded your list of criteria may best be defined after the presentations, particularly if one of the presenters has a unique management proposal.
Mr. Rosenof stated the only reason I suggest doing it ahead of time is because you forget, especially if we are going to spread these throughout more than one month. I believe we are all in agreement this is more of a subjective criteria.
Mr. Doody stated I would rather it be subjective for legal purposes.
Mr. Rosenof stated I agree with you. I do not feel we necessarily need scoring criteria, but what are the things we are looking for? One of them might be unique management.
Ms. Ribotsky stated we can say we want someone who is local, someone who has been in business for more than 10 years or someone who is full service. They are not necessarily scoring criteria, but they are some of the questions we are going to ask.
Mr. Doody stated I respectfully request you do not focus on criteria. They might be factors you will take into consideration when making your determination. This should be akin to a municipality choosing the city manager. There are certain factors which come into play. They may be important to one member of this Board and not important to others.
Mr. Rosenof stated I am looking for two things. I am looking to be able to tell a presenter you have 20 minutes to present, 10 minutes for questions and answers, and within the 20 minutes we would like to cover your…
Mr. Ribotsly stated that is what I mean by criteria. We are not scoring, but we should say…
Mr. Rosenof stated your management style, your pricing structure or your human resources. Whatever those criteria are, we should tell them what we would like them to cover in those 20 minutes.
Mr. Doody stated I would not call it criteria. I would say those are the points we want you to hit. Those are the subjects you should cover in your presentation.
Mr. Rosenof stated the other part of the equation is what we will be looking for. We should have internally in our mind in a consensus; these are the things important to us. When we start grading them and we keep our notes, we know what we are looking for. If we do not do them all in one week, we can grade them with some degree of objectivity.
Ms. Ribotsky stated I would like to make a motion for us to inform the firms of our June meeting and give them each a half an hour. We will probably order dinner for the meeting. We will be here from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Mr. Rosenof stated let us do a half an hour, 20 minutes for the presentation.
Ms. Ribotsky stated we will either draw straws or do it in alphabetical order. We will spend a half an hour at the next meeting to come up with the questions we want to ask.
Mr. Rosenof stated not necessarily the questions we want to ask them, but what we want them to cover. At the end of the 20 minutes we may have questions.
Ms. Ribotsky stated we will give them an outline two weeks prior to the presentation. We will use the May meeting to give them the outline of what we want them to cover. We might want to talk about what questions we will ask. We will give them notice now of when the meeting is going to be and where it will be as well as what format.
Mr. Petty stated the June meeting will be here.
Ms. Ribotsky asked do you want to check if we can get the Commission Chambers?
Mr. Petty responded I believe this room will work for the power point presentations. There is a small screen.
Ms. Ribotsky stated we are not fully equipped. You will have to bring in the projector.
Mr. Rosenof stated we are going to ask these people to come to our June meeting. They will each have a half an hour total, 20 minutes for the presentation and 10 minutes for questions and answers. We will give them an outline by the end of our next meeting. We will go from there. We will probably only check references for the top two. I am not going to call for references if we do not like any of them.
Mr. Petty asked what will you do at the end of the meeting in June? Will you narrow the field?
Mr. Rosenof responded we will meet in July and discuss it. There may be a situation where we are torn between two people.
Ms. Ribotsky stated it will give us time to check references.
Mr. Doody asked are you going to check references on all five?
Mr. Rosenof responded let us make the decision of what our next action step will be at our July meeting. It will largely depend on the quality of the presentations. Are there any other questions?
Ms. Bertolami asked do you think a month is too long to wait from the time when you have a presentation to when you are trying to make a decision and remember the presentation?
Mr. Rosenof responded I do not think we have a choice.
Ms. Ribotsky stated we can hold a special meeting the week after, but I am fine with it.
FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Discussion of Engineering Services
Mr. Petty stated let me summarize and then turn it over to the engineer. At the last meeting we talked about the importance of Mr. Craven and the history he carries to the District as well as the work he is currently envisioning doing in response to the damage caused by Hurricane Wilma. CH2M Hill is partnering to help in this regard. We discussed whether or not the Board would like to consider retaining an engineering firm to support Mr. Craven, which will be more responsive then your existing firm.
Mr. Rosenof asked do you have an engineering firm in mind?
Mr. Petty responded our priority is with Mr. Craven. We can set this up in a way where Mr. Craven has the ability to work with a firm of value.
Mr. Rosenof stated at the last meeting we discussed this does not have to be an open proposal presentation. We can just decide.
Mr. Doody stated we do not have a continuing contract.
Mr. Craven stated at the last meeting I suggested someone check the files to see if you have a contract.
Mr. Petty stated I have a copy of the agreement list. I find no copy of an agreement with the engineering firm. I have not done a minute check to see what the discussions were going back to the 1980s. I find no agreement on file.
Mr. Rosenof asked do you have one you prefer?
Mr. Craven responded this District has not required the services of anyone, but to represent you, to be at meetings, do reviews and give you advice for the last 10 years. The urgency of putting an engineer on Board was precipitated by the hurricane. I am a consultant to Craven, Thompson & Associates. I have retired from Craven, Thompson & Associates. The reason I am here is because I was requested to continue representing Craven, Thompson & Associates at the meetings.
Mr. Rosenof stated you are a private consultant and not an employee. Are we writing a check to Craven, Thompson & Associates for Mr. Craven’s services?
Mr. Craven responded yes.
Mr. Rosenof stated then we will write a check to Mr. Craven at a reduced rate.
Petty stated there are two items on our radar screen. The first thing is what we are going to do
about the hurricane clean up. The second
thing is what was requested of staff by the Board to have strategic meetings
with the City of
Mr. Rosenof asked do we need both an agreement with Mr. Craven and an agreement with an engineering firm?
Mr. Petty responded I believe so.
Ms. Ribotsky stated to comment on CH2M Hill, we have experienced issues with them working with another engineering firm where they were not cooperating with the engineering firm. They actually delayed a project. I want to be cognitive of how we are going to pick one firm just because they happen to be the back up on this one, I do not know if they are necessarily the back up we want.
Mr. Rosenof asked are you the engineering firm for NSID?
Mr. McKune responded yes.
Mr. Rosenof asked what other districts do you represent?
Mr. McKune responded CSID and Sunshine Water Control District.
Mr. Rosenof asked is this in the West Palm office?
Mr. Doody stated I would like to report back at the next meeting whether or not there has to be adherence to the CCNA. I believe it covers engineering services. It will still be an agreement with Mr. Craven. If the District is prepared to enter into an agreement with a separate engineering firm, it will probably fall under the CCNA.
Ms. Ribotsky asked do we have to sign an agreement? We have an agreement with Mr. Craven. Can we let him use the firm which is most appropriate or has the most capacity as projects come up? Craven, Thompson & Associates was backed up for this project and could not help us. Maybe at a different point in time they may have a better skill set than a different firm.
Mr. Rosenof responded I am open to suggestions. I would rather have one firm on retainer with errors and omissions insurance in the file. Are there any other comments?
Mr. Brewer responded it is a good thing sometimes, but it is also a bad thing. Sometimes you have a big job which needs a big engineering firm and sometimes you have a job which is not so big and does not require a big company. It is good to have them all. CH2M Hill is also working with our surrounding drainage districts. Is it logical for them to be the engineer of record? Probably yes, but you can go back to Mr. Craven and say you know the scope of the next job. Maybe you will talk to the next consultant we use on an individual job because it might be a big one or a little one. He may say these are the guys, bring them in. He is the District Engineer, let him pull the trigger.
Mr. Rosenof stated I am okay with it. Do you have any comments?
Ms. Benckenstein responded I did not know we needed an engineer and Mr. Craven.
Ms. Ribotsky stated we have not needed one for 10 years.
Mr. Rosenof asked can we hire Mr. Craven as our consultant? Does he have to have errors and omissions insurance?
Mr. Petty responded no.
Mr. Rosenof asked is there no District requirement for our consultants to have insurance?
Mr. Petty responded it might be required of your engineer of record if you were doing projects. Mr. Craven is mostly responsible for talking about the existing conditions and not new projects. Until he undertakes a new project, he is not required to have such coverage. This is the issue at hand. Should you have a project you wish to undertake, Mr. Craven will need the services of a registered firm.
Mr. Rosenof asked can we renegotiate some of it? I would hate to have a catastrophe and then try to find someone. Can we pick two or three firms which are on our short list? For a project like this we will go to CH2M Hill and for another project we will go to whomever. Could it be a good compromise to the two positions?
Mr. Petty responded I will tell you what I know from the administrative side and then we will defer to legal to define it. I know counties will take engineering contracts on a regular basis because of this issue. It is the intent in the creation of these special districts that there be a recollection project for the drainage plan your engineer would give you advice and oversight on. Mr. Craven provides that. The CCNA is there for you to look at the quality of the engineer, similar to what I asked you to do for management. I defer to counsel because you are asking for a modification I am not use to seeing at this level.
Mr. Doody stated you are entertaining having Mr. Craven available to provide services in an engineering nature similar to what you received in the past ten years. In terms of the more complex issues and projects, you would like to retain an engineering firm of your choice.
Mr. Rosenof stated I believe it is the direction we are going towards.
Mr. Doody stated I would like to look at it. I know cities have ongoing projects for different engineering firms. This is the model I would like to bring to this District. If I can have the benefit of looking into it within the next month, I can give you some closure on how you might want to proceed.
Mr. Rosenof asked can we proceed now with firing Craven, Thompson & Associates?
Mr. Doody responded I do not mean to be presumptuous. I ask that be an item put on the next agenda and formalize it. I would like to talk to Mr. Petty over the next month. There are some issues regarding what benefits a firm like Craven, Thompson & Associates gives us. I have to talk to Mr. Craven in terms of certifications.
Ms. Bertolami asked why do we have to? We might call upon them. The only thing we have to inform them of is Mr. Craven is going to be paid independently.
Ms. Benckenstein asked will we not be entering the CCNA because we are changing the entity?
Mr. Petty responded we are required to have an engineer.
Ms. Benckenstein stated the entity is not going to be Craven, Thompson & Associates. It is going to be the individual. Is that correct?
Mr. Petty responded I am going to go with counsel on this. Do not change anything until you are ready to. There is no reason to do so.
Mr. Doody stated there is no benefit to doing it tonight.
Mr. Rosenof asked if we are paying Craven, Thompson & Associates and they have errors and omission coverage, are we not protecting ourselves better by hiring Mr. Craven through Craven, Thompson & Associates?
Mr. Petty responded in that regard, yes. What started this discussion was their lack of response.
Mr. Rosenof stated maybe we should not give them engineering tasks, but keep Mr. Craven on their payroll.
Mr. Petty stated very well sir.
Mr. Craven stated I am not on their payroll.
Mr. Rosenof stated on their consulting log.
Mr. Craven stated thank you.
Mr. Petty stated it is a possibility.
Mr. Doody stated you want to keep an umbrella.
Mr. Rosenof stated we are paying them a fee to have insurance if something happens. You are covered. If you are a private consultant and you are hired directly by us, you are on the line.
Mr. Doody asked do you have a formal consultant agreement with them?
Mr. Craven responded no. Do you want me to get one?
Mr. Doody responded yes.
Mr. Craven asked when you go through this, will you direct me to?
Mr. Doody responded there should be a formalized relationship between you and Craven, Thompson & Associates.
Mr. Rosenof stated as well as one between us and Craven, Thompson & Associates.
Ms. Ribotsky stated we are legally obligated to have an engineering firm if we do not legally have one affiliated now.
Mr. Doody stated going back to how we started this discussion, it is the basis for paying them. What services are we getting other than Mr. Craven? If I were to call Mr. McDonald, I would not want him to say Mr. Craven is on his own.
Mr. Craven stated I do not like to be presumptuous and tell you what to do. Knowing historically how this District has functioned, and looking forward to what you anticipate in the future, you will be well served by solidifying an agreement with Craven, Thompson & Associates if I have to get a written agreement with them to be the consultant and continue the way they are.
Mr. Rosenof stated it protects you as well.
Mr. Craven stated the day you get into a project they are not qualified for, I will tell you.
Mr. Rosenof stated we can continue to hire Craven, Thompson to provide you to us. It is the scope of service. Do we have a direction for staff?
Mr. Brewer responded we have direction for Mr. Doody to get with Mr. Craven and work out the fine lines and put it together.
Ms. Ribotsky stated I have to excuse myself. I will leave it to Mr. President and staff if they want to doc me for a few minutes.
Mr. Rosenof stated we will direct Mr. Doody to formalize the relationship between us and Craven, Thompson & Associates as well as the relationship between Craven, Thompson & Associates and Mr. Craven. Do we keep the errors and omissions certificates of insurance on our consultants?
Mr. Craven responded not on the consultants.
Mr. Rosenof stated we should have one on Craven, Thompson & Associates. We should have one on Mr. Doody’s firm. We should have the general liability for anyone we hire.
Mr. Petty stated you have a $5Million policy with Severn Trent Services.
Mr. Rosenof stated but we do not have it on his services.
Mr. Doody stated I will make it a point to have it addressed. I will get a copy of our policy to you.
Mr. Rosenof asked are you LLC?
Mr. Doody responded no sir, PA.
Mr. Brewer asked will it be easier for us to say he is going to supply us with his and we will have him make sure everyone else does?
Mr. Rosenof responded I always thought it was the manager’s responsibility to make sure anyone working for us has worker’s compensation and all of the certificates up to date.
Mr. Petty stated now that we have direction we will be happy to. In the beginning the contract for legal counsel and engineer was negotiated directly with the Board.
Mr. Rosenof stated I understand. My goal on this Board is to try to formalize a great deal of things which have been handshake agreements for decades.
Mr. Petty stated we will be glad to take the direction.
SIXTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Staff Reports
Mr. Doody stated I had discussions with Mr. Craven about
getting a title certification for the canal.
This is the title report I received.
I brought the invoice, which is $400.
The owner of record is
Mr. Craven stated I believe you have a bad title.
Mr. Doody stated I will have to get with you and work through this to see what segments of the canal are in question.
Mr. Rosenof asked which canal is this for?
Mr. Craven responded it is the canal parallel to State Road 7 from the Sawgrass Expressway north to our outfall.
Mr. Doody asked is this for a grant?
Mr. Craven responded you have to certify we own it before they can award contract.
Mr. Petty stated it is an NRCS requirement for refund.
Mr. Craven stated I want to thank whoever directed these people to make submittals in my direction so I could have the honor of meeting with them and explaining what we do. I got a memorandum from Severn Trent Services. DEP sent us a copy of fill on a private lot. The question directed to me was what to do with this. We do not do anything. We have no jurisdiction over the private lots. It happened to be where it was a wetland and they got a DEP permit to build a single family house. You can throw it away because we are not involved.
have a submittal for The Waterways Shoppes in
Mr. Rosenof asked are they adding the canopy?
Mr. Craven responded no, but it meets all of our criteria.
Mr. Rosenof asked do we need to look at it as a group?
Mr. Craven responded not unless you want to.
Mr. Petty stated we would look for you to accept it through a motion and a second.
Mr. Rosenof asked do I need to sign the plan?
Mr. Petty responded no sir. It gives staff the opportunity to process it.
Mr. Craven stated I met with Ms. Hitchcock of Keith & Associates. They are under contract with the city to do work on a drainage district out west as well as in town. They are developing a base, which will be beneficial for the District to participate in. We are not doing anything until they get their map up to speed. We will see what is involved.
Mr. Petty stated at the last meeting we were asked to look at our agreement list and stop work on anything we did not have an agreement for. We were discussing the mowing of the swales.
Mr. Rosenof stated to clarify, we did not want you to stop the work. We can still do it, but I would like an agreement.
Mr. Petty stated if there was not an agreement, we were not to do the work. We checked on the mowing of the swales. There was an agreement in 1988. It was a one year agreement and the work was supposed to stop in 1989. It has been a handshake issue since then.
Mr. Rosenof asked where was this swale?
Mr. Petty responded in the estate section. It was in the backyards.
Mr. Rosenof asked in Pine Tree Estates?
Mr. Petty responded in Pine Tree Estates. I talked with Mr. Frederick about the issue and he has not been able to get in there due to all of the downed trees from Hurricane Wilma. Because we could not find a written agreement, they gave us permission to go back in there.
Mr. Rosenof asked who did the agreement come from, the city or the homeowners?
Petty responded the City of
Mr. Rosenof asked how did the city allow you to do it?
Mr. Brewer responded they own the easements.
Mr. Petty stated it is not District property we were on. They had an agreement with another government agency. This area is the responsibility of the city. In talking with the city manager, he now has a clear understanding of the responsibility. As you know there has been past discussions and confusion. The District has been asked if we take care of their drainage because they see us mowing. This was another issue which brought us to this if we do not have an agreement. Let us get out of this because it is causing so much confusion. I spoke with the city manager on these strategic issues. It is one of the items which will be on our list to discuss. The PTWCD is in charge of what drainage and where does the responsibility stop? Other than this, I do not have anything to bring to the Board’s attention.
Mr. Rosenof stated it is the only spot we were mowing without an agreement. Anywhere else we maintain we have an agreement with whatever entity. Is this a correct statement?
Mr. Frederick responded we do not have an agreement to mow anywhere.
Mr. Rosenof asked are we mowing anywhere?
Mr. Frederick responded not now.
Mr. Rosenof stated it was not necessary to stop.
Mr. Petty stated because of this issue, and in looking for an agreement, we were not covered by the liability umbrella. It is appropriate not to go back in there until we are. I contacted the city manager and let him know our position.
Mr. Rosenof stated I do not mind doing it as long as we do it with the proper agreement and are covered under the liability umbrella.
Mr. Petty stated it is the perfect time because there are many trees down, which are blocking the mowing area.
Frederick stated there is one area I do mow, but it is only once or twice a
year. It is the A1 canal, which is the
canal going to
Mr. Rosenof asked does the HOA own the land?
Mr. Craven responded no. We own it.
Mr. Frederick stated they maintain the top part, but they do not maintain the bank.
Mr. Rosenof asked are we maintaining anyone else’s land?
Mr. Frederick responded no.
Mr. Rosenof stated that is fine. It is not what my concern was. Are there any other manager comments?
Mr. Petty responded no.
SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Supervisor’s Requests and Audience Comments
Mr. Rosenof stated I asked you to give me a state of the union to give to the city clerk regarding hurricane clean up, the status of it and a timeline. It is too late to forward it. We already had our meeting with Pine Tree residents.
Mr. Petty stated we sent it to you.
Mr. Rosenof stated no, after the meeting. It is in the minutes. I asked for a result of my question to go out in an email. Everyone is asking me for the status of the hurricane clean up. Who is doing what? I know we are talking about the city agreeing to their responsibility. I would like this information to get out to the residents so they understand what is going on.
Mr. Petty stated we also discussed the unknowns of what was to be done of hurricane clean up. I do not have a clear idea of what PTWCD will be doing in regard to hurricane clean up. In talking with the city manager I got the impression the city reserves the right to talk to its residents about what they are going to do and their responsibilities.
Mr. Rosenof stated good point. I said, “I was looking for more of a definition from staff of what we are going to do with our canals. A big part of the meeting was peoples’ concern with their drainage, why it was not preemptively kept clean and why it is taking so long for them to get cleaned out.”
Mr. Petty stated it was suggested by the engineer at the last meeting that we look to tighten up our understanding of what canal responsibilities we have, what they are specifically, which I believe counsel is researching, and what a base map can be of benefit to us in the future. We are looking to both the engineer and counsel to give us a better definition of our existing inherit responsibilities through ownership or easement. From there we will build on what we can do under a hurricane removal of debris program.
Mr. Rosenof stated more importantly to bring them to a preemptive strike so to speak so we do not have this problem again.
Petty stated good point sir. Your sister
Mr. Rosenof asked what is the status of the clean up? Are there still trees in the canals?
Mr. Petty responded yes.
Mr. Rosenof asked are we waiting for federal funds?
Mr. Petty responded no. We are waiting for a definition of our responsibilities which is being done through research of title, transfer and ownership.
Mr. Rosenof asked title?
Mr. Petty responded I am sorry. Your definition is better than mine; title and easement.
Mr. McKune stated we are ready to go to bid once the specifications are done. If we get the insurance letter from you, we can put an advertisement in the paper the next day.
Mr. Craven stated I am glad you brought this up. Can you show the Board what we are talking about?
Mr. McKune responded this is a summary sheet showing the District. The circles represent groups of trees. The green lines represent continuous runs of damage. There is a great deal in there. In addition to the trees there is a great deal of canal bank damage. Those are the toughest areas and in this project there is approximately a half of a mile of continuous root ball damage and canal bank restoration required.
Mr. Craven stated we have a problem with this. The canal was dug from right-of-way to right-of-way. Any canal bank restoration will have to be on private property.
Mr. Rosenof stated or from a barge.
Mr. Craven stated you cannot restore the bank without encroaching on private property. It does not make a difference whether you do it from a barge or the land. It is going to be a monumental problem because the ditch was box cut.
Ms. Ribotsky asked which one?
Mr. Petty responded the one from north to south.
Mr. Craven stated it was done before we had sloped banks for canals. It is a box cut and I do not know how much fill or where you will get the amount of fill to try and restore those banks. We have a problem.
Mr. Rosenof asked how do we fix it?
Mr. Craven responded it is on private property. I would ignore it if it does not affect the drainage. I do not feel it is our responsibility.
Ms. Ribotsky asked is it not affecting the drainage now?
Mr. Craven responded I do not believe the canal bank does. We have a different engineer here who can probably come up with a different answer than I can. The main thing is to get the root ball and trees out of the canals. We can then look further into the canal bank restoration. I am hesitant to get involved at the present moment because I do not feel we know enough about what exists.
Mr. Brewer asked do we know where the bulk of the damage we are seeing is? Is this from natural grown trees? We have to go back and say if we get this cleaned up, we do not want anyone going back and putting trees in there again.
Mr. Craven responded most of it is Australian Pine. There are some landscape products south of there.
Mr. McKune stated what is interesting on the box cut is it is fairly wide.
Mr. Craven stated I would say it is 80 feet wide.
Mr. McKune stated depending on the flow requirement of the canal, I am sure the box cut is more than big enough.
Mr. Craven stated that is my point. We do not have the same situation you have with pumping. We have a small discharge rate when you consider it. I do not feel the damage to those banks will be sufficient to warrant the expenditure of time or effort. We have more than enough area.
Mr. McKune stated you do. It is not flow dependant, but if you look at what I consider to be a hazard with this kind of bank where the kids are running around, it is a question of money. If the banks can be restored, one of the alternatives is to take the fill and put a slope at the top of the box cut towards the center of the canal. It will greatly decrease the flow area of the canal, but as long as you are not conveying a great deal of flow, you are not harming anything. You build the canal with good slope banks for the first time in its life.
Mr. Rosenof stated it is a large project to do it this way.
Ms. Ribotsky asked are you taking part of the homeowner’s land by doing this?
Mr. McKune responded not at all. You start at the top of the box cut.
Mr. Craven stated what he is saying is correct, but we are not sure if we will be taking part of it. I am not sure if the root balls have not already encroached on private property.
Ms. Ribotsky stated I think they would.
Petty stated I am sure there are areas when you put fill in, you are placing it
on private property and outside the 80 foot cut because of the damage
caused. If you want to contemplate such
a program, it will probably involve the City of
Mr. Craven stated to do restoration and meet the current safety guidelines is a financial burden I do not feel this District can afford. There is no doubt the box cut and the slopes provide a hazard to children, but we had steep slopes before the storm. There was not a great change.
Ms. Ribotsky asked is it necessary to get the trees out?
Mr. Craven responded yes.
Ms. Ribotsky asked the root balls too?
Mr. Craven responded yes.
Mr. Brewer asked did we inherit these things?
Mr. Craven asked did we inherit what?
Mr. Brewer responded PTWCD.
Mr. Craven stated absolutely.
Mr. Brewer asked do we have to inform the public we inherited these ugly monsters and if they want them fixed, they will have to pay a great deal? I am looking at it from a liability point.
Craven responded the canal was built by
Ms. Ribotsky asked who planted the trees?
Mr. Craven responded the Australian Pines came from God at one time or another.
Mr. Frederick stated you have some people who love those pines. One lady asked me if we were going to take all of them out. She said they have otters and all types of wildlife.
Mr. Brewer asked what are we going to go with after talking about this? Are we going to move forward and get bids?
Mr. Craven responded as soon as we get clarification I believe the bids he is talking about are for a proposal to remove the trees.
Mr. Rosenof asked can we do it now? Do we have to wait?
Mr. Petty responded the difficulty is getting money back from NRCS will be contingent upon ownership and you must sign it. The manager must sign that we are doing this in good faith.
Mr. McKune stated you can do whatever you would like, but it will be at your expense. You have to follow the NRCS procedure which requires them to review and approve the plans or they will not write the agreement.
Mr. Craven asked did they approve the plan?
Mr. McKune responded they know what we are doing, but they have not seen the final plans.
Mr. Rosenof asked what is the timeframe on getting the title straightened out?
Mr. McKune responded I will have it done by the next meeting. I have to give it to the title company. Our esteemed engineer feels there are problems with the other ownership.
Craven stated absolutely. The right of
way belongs to
Mr. Petty stated this is an issue.
McKune stated if it is in the county’s name, there may be a way we can talk to
the NRCS representative in
Mr. Craven stated we maintain it.
Ms. Ribotsky asked if it is the counties, why are we involved?
Mr. Doody responded it has to do with funding.
Mr. Brewer stated we just got the city to declare they own the roads in Pine Tree Estates under a state statute.
Mr. Rosenof stated because they maintained them for so long.
Mr. Craven asked how have they maintained them?
Mr. Brewer responded they have done some patching on them, but they finally got the city attorney to agree they own the roads. Last month they finally raised their hand because of a state statute. I guess they just changed a state statute.
Mr. Rosenof stated they do not own the roads, but they have to maintain them.
Mr. Brewer stated they are getting ready to file a map.
Mr. Rosenof asked is staff in control of this?
Mr. Brewer responded we cannot do anything until next month.
Ms. Ribotsky asked if the county owns this thing, are we getting involved because of money we will receive?
Craven responded to answer your question if the county is involved in it and
why we are maintaining it, the canal was dug by the county with the full
intention of a drainage district being formed and taking over the maintenance
of it. The area was selected to be
PTWCD. We inherited the canal,
integrated it into our drainage plan, expanded it to the north and got a
positive outfall. It belongs to
Mr. McKune asked does the ownership apply only to the main canal?
Mr. Craven responded yes.
Mr. McKune stated my concern is the remainder of the damage area.
Craven stated we have a right-of-way map where those trees are in, out or on
it. I have no idea. They have given us the right-of-way they
claim by a maintenance map. This ditch
belongs to the City of
Mr. Frederick stated you should bring it up on the computer.
Mr. Craven asked what?
Mr. Frederick responded it looks like our property is on the inside of the wall on the Sawgrass Expressway.
Mr. Craven stated it can be.
Mr. Frederick stated the homeowners own up to the wall and the other side of the wall is inside the Sawgrass Expressway.
Mr. Craven stated this should not come as a surprise.
Mr. Rosenof stated I am not surprised. I am frustrated.
Petty stated let me make a suggestion from a management perspective because I
am not an engineer. Because of Hurricane
Wilma and this issue, it appears a strategic conference should be held with the
Mr. Rosenof stated I am constantly hearing from people on that street and all I can say is no one knows who owns it. It does not sound good. You have to figure this out.
Mr. McKune stated there are two issues. Who maintains it and who owns it? There will not be any problems with PTWCD being able to maintain it. The issue is because of the scope of the project, the cost associated with it, the funds available and how we have to certify ownership. We are going to have to untangle 40, 50, 60 years of legal neglect. We will maintain it, but at the end of the day we will not have the title of the canal. It is an important issue because of money. If you go in tomorrow and do the project, no one will object. It is the cost associated with the project, the reimbursement, the entitlement, the basis for the entitlement and having to certify it.
Mr. Petty stated he is right. Our enabling legislation empowers us to perform only certain works related to drainage and only on property we have ownership to.
Mr. Craven asked how much will it cost you to survey the maintenance map for the north side of the Sawgrass Expressway?
Brewer responded $7,000 to $10,000. You
are not going to want to see the line. No
one is going to want to see the line. People
have houses sitting on the property
Ms. Benckenstein asked which property?
Mr. Brewer responded from here all the way to 441.
Mr. Frederick stated their property runs on the other side of the canal.
Mr. Brewer stated if you use the old picture of it, but if you take them to plot a miscellaneous map, it will go as much as 75 to 100 feet from the line into the lots in Pine Tree.
Mr. Craven stated we need to establish this.
Mr. Brewer stated it needs to be straightened out. The map they have on file needs to be redone if we are going to say we own it. It needs to be cleaned up because it jogs every 50 feet. It moves around wherever you want it to.
Mr. Rosenof asked do you think all of these people have defective titles?
Mr. Craven responded absolutely.
Mr. Brewer stated I am not a lawyer. I decline.
Mr. Doody stated as Mr. Petty indicated we should go back and talk to the agency to see if there is another way to approach this. Once we open this up, it is only going to get worse before it gets better. There might be another way to approach this issue and seek the entitlement. It is an easier approach. It might not be as fruitful.
Mr. Rosenof stated the most important thing is to clean this canal and get people safe. If we have to do it by ownership or if we have to do it by other means, I am looking for staff to find a creative way to do this.
Mr. Doody asked how about a temporary easement situation?
Ms. Benckenstein asked why do we not do an easement? I do not understand why you want the title.
Mr. McKune responded one of the issues with the federal agency funding this is liability. They had instances in the past where they have gone in and done work on property they do not own. The agency then became involved in a lawsuit by the property owner. They want to avoid this and the only way they avoided it is by putting the responsibility on the attorney to assure the agency you have the easement rights or ownership.
Mr. Petty stated there is another issue. We are a special taxing district, a water control district, 298.
Mr. Doody stated I do not agree.
Mr. Petty stated they were created by a special act and enabling legislation spells out our specific powers. I can tell you your sister districts, in looking at this issue and in raising funds to take on this repair, had counsel opinion that the specific language did not specifically address the issue of tree removal. By removing the trees, it may be contested because there is not a specific passage in our enabling legislation which says we can remove trees. There is not a passage which says we cannot. The passage I am referring to states we must maintain our drainage system in good working order, which allows me to go in there and remove trees. We do have counsel’s opinion that we do not have specific language which allows us to do so.
I can tell you the reason why your sister districts have not removed all of the trees in the rights-of-way to date. Because of the strict interpretation that we were not empowered to raise assessments and to spend money to remove trees. In this particular case if you do not own the property or have easements on it, it compounds the situation. I understand why you are saying maybe we can do something with NRCS, but we have a long term issue as well in continuing to do maintenance areas that we are unsure of our ownership on or easement rights.
Mr. Rosenof stated first things first. We have to get it cleaned up.
Mr. Petty stated let us look at it from both angles. We will contact NRCS and ask them what options they had available to them in the past. Counsel is working on the discovery of the background of this. From what I heard tonight, I do not feel we will get more before the next meeting.
Mr. Doody stated I will try my best. I will discuss it with Mr. Petty and Mr. Craven. There might be other ways to approach this. I have the direction to get it cleaned up. There might be easements, waiver of rights, releases; I will try to put something together with individual property owners.
Ms. Benckenstein stated maybe you can get releases from each of them.
Mr. Doody stated you can approach the property owners and ask them if they want this cleaned up. If they say yes, you do it.
Mr. Rosenof stated no one is going to say no.
Mr. Doody stated if they do say no, you move on.
Mr. Rosenof stated I do not think anyone is going to say no.
Ms. Ribotsky asked how many homeowners are there?
Mr. Rosenof responded there are probably 16 to 18 homeowners.
Mr. Doody stated we can do it that way or if they get a quick claim deed, it will close the gap even if they are not identifying the title work. We will try to get some insulation from the liability issue. We can get it from the property owner to cut off the concern there might be someone who is going to look to the District for removal of a tree or something they do not want. I have been involved in similar situations.
Mr. Rosenof stated as I said, I am not an attorney.
Mr. Doody stated we can do it legally. I cannot address the funding. It is your hurdle.
Ms. Benckenstein asked what do you mean by funding? Do you mean funding for you to do legal work?
Mr. Doody responded no, reimbursement.
Mr. Rosenof stated there will be a point in time when people will say forget it. Let us do an assessment and not seek reimbursement. I am hearing frustrated homeowners.
Ms. Benckenstein stated cut them down. You will not have this problem again because the trees will not be there. It will not be an ongoing thing.
Mr. Doody stated you might want to consider identifying this area and doing it this way. You will be closer to getting it accomplished. My concern is exposure of the ownership issue.
Mr. Rosenof asked how much are we talking about? Can we assess the whole District for this work?
Mr. Petty responded I defer to the engineer on these areas. Do they service the entire District?
Mr. Craven responded the A1 Canal does.
Mr. Doody stated it is not going to be a direct benefit or special benefit to everyone in the District.
Mr. Rosenof stated by the time we talk about the number of assessable units, we are probably talking about minimal dollars per assessable unit. Are we not?
Mr. Craven responded he just said I was wrong.
Mr. Doody stated no. You are going to do it against only those individuals who are abutting the canal. I do not believe you will be able to assess it across the board.
Mr. Petty stated to do it across the District for an arterial, you will have to say the arterial is blocked. We just heard it is not blocked.
Mr. Rosenof asked with all the trees in the canal you cannot make the assumption it is blocked?
Mr. Craven responded I have serious doubts the capacity of the canal is not sufficient to carry the water we are allowing to discharge.
Mr. Petty stated it is overbuilt because it is a gravity system. It is slow moving and will not move large items with it. It will be difficult to say this is an emergency situation for the control of drainage. I believe you can say it is a long term maintenance program to maintain your canal system. Then again, you have specific benefit to the land you are working on. You are increasing their property in a great deal of respect. This is why I asked if this will serve all of them. It will tell us how many units. I can tell you we have not done any analysis or calculations to date on the financial impact because I do not know the scope yet. I have specifications we took from the sister districts. We have areas which have been walked and surveyed. There is an NRCS estimate of approximately $1Million. It is a big ballpark. I can tell you from the sister districts when we bid the job, it usually went up. Their estimates are usually low.
Mr. Brewer asked how many units do we have in the District?
Mr. Craven responded approximately 2,000. I do not know.
Mr. Petty stated I will look in the budget. When we are doing this type of work, Counsel has a valid point. If we do the assessment against the property owners who abut the water, how many are there?
Mr. Craven responded 20 to 25.
Mr. Petty stated it is a large assessment without reimbursement from NRCS.
Mr. Rosenof stated it will be a $350 assessment per unit at $1Million.
Mr. Brewer stated if you did the whole District.
Mr. Rosenof stated if you do the whole District.
Mr. Petty asked how many homes do you think this will be? Will it be 40 to 50?
Mr. Craven responded more than that. You have condominiums on one side and houses on the other side. The major damage is in this area. The other area is sparse.
Mr. Brewer asked are you saying over $1Million overall? You have to spread it out. It is going to be hard to figure out who you send the bill to and who do you charge it to.
Mr. Petty stated if there are 100 homes and $1Million in costs, it will be $10,000 each. Two hundred homes will be $5,000 each. Four hundred homes is $2,500 each. The cost per unit might be considerable. I do not know if we can say or get the engineer to define there is a drainage block concern, which affects a larger group than those abutting the property.
Mr. Rosenof stated the safety concern is walking around with those branches.
Mr. Petty stated when you have a box cut canal the safety concern is difficult to rely upon. The box cut canal by definition is a dangerous situation.
Mr. Rosenof stated I have seen kids walk out on those branches.
Mr. Petty stated even a grown man falling into this canal will have difficulty getting out.
Mr. McKune stated getting back to the cost, $10,000 does not remove many trees. One tree will be $10,000. They are difficult to get to.
Mr. Petty stated a barge might have to be launched to get to it and the root ball might be 25 to 30 feet in diameter.
Mr. Rosenof stated I understand. Staff has their direction. Getting reimbursement will be nice.
Mr. Brewer stated we will be old and gray before it happens.
Mr. Rosenof stated we might have to figure out a way to do this and make special assessments if there is no choice. We cannot just say we do not know who owns it.
Mr. Petty stated I ask for the Board to give a decision to staff to go outside of the NRCS. If we go out to bid we will break the NRCS availability to us, but it will give you a ballpark answer on what the cost will be as well as a timeframe of how you can address it contingent upon counsel giving us the right to do the work, which may be temporary in nature. We can then jump in and I can tell you how much the assessments will go up on just an increase to the maintenance assessment we do. If you give us the direction now, we can put it out to bid. If we wait until next month’s meeting, we will then have to get your permission to go outside. I believe the comment was made it is doubtful we will get NRCS approval. Your direction to staff might be after consulting with NRCS. If we do not see an option available to us, we will go out to bid as a project of the District.
Mr. Rosenof stated I am willing to wait another month to get the answer. I am frustrated because it seems we have had the same discussion for the last four months.
Mr. Doody stated I can tell you in a month’s time I am not going to have title issues resolved. I can tell you at the end of the day I do not believe the District owns all of the canal which will satisfy the certification.
Mr. Rosenof asked a temporary construction easement will or will not?
Mr. Doody responded no. It is a separate issue. In regard to entitlement for reimbursement I will not be in a position to certify the District owns the canal.
Mr. Rosenof stated I thought we can own it or have an easement.
Mr. Doody stated no. If you want to bypass the reimbursement issue to go in the direction of a special assessment, we can rely on easements.
Mr. Rosenof stated we cannot get reimbursement unless we own it.
Mr. Doody stated yes sir. That is the hang up. I have to certify.
Mr. Rosenof asked are there portions of this project we own?
Mr. Doody responded there are indications there are segments where the title of record is within the District.
Mr. Craven asked what if we were only to take out the trees in the part we own?
Mr. Doody responded I do not know where that is yet.
Mr. Craven stated no one else does either.
Mr. Rosenof stated it might be a compromise position. If we know what we own, let us get reimbursement for that portion of the work and minimize the rest of the project.
Brewer stated we have one other issue.
If we go for a special assessment, we have to get counsel to say we can
assess the whole District based on the report from our engineer. If we are going to do a special assessment,
this District needs to look at something to say we cannot be sitting here a
year from now with the same problem. We
have no money and all of this damage. I
said before we need to have some form of reserve. The canals are blocked, there are trees
everywhere and we do not have two cents.
We do not have what I consider massive destruction, but we have a great
deal of destruction in our District. What
will happen if we have a worse hurricane, we cannot drain it and we still do
not have money. There is $1Million worth
of damage lying out there now.
Mr. Petty stated I can address the money issue. The District has available to it funding sources to handle this contract of $1Million and more. The taxable value in the area, since it is mostly built out, is such that any work done within the District is viable. We can get the financing available for this. The issue is going to be meeting the legal requirements for the assessment criteria whether it is District wide or specific to a canal and the property owners abutting it. The outside of it is a maintenance assessment is handled yearly in your budget process and is opined on your engineer being fair and equitable. This project is of a dollar amount and appears to be distributable to a limited size to the point where you will want to do this in multiple years. That makes it a capital improvement and a special assessment of a debt service of multiple years. Anything over five years you will go through the process of issuing it as if it were a bond. There is quite a bit of legal opinion required. Bond counsel is going to have to determine the tax exempt status. Your counsel is going to need to determine many things including easements, rights of access, our ability to pay and many other things. We have just gone through this process for the two sister districts and it is considerable. The issue of what your responsibility is and what your enabling legislation allows you to do will come back to you.
Mr. Brewer stated nothing, if we do not have any money.
Mr. Petty stated money I can get.
Mr. Brewer asked what about next year? Are we going to have to borrow another $1Million?
Mr. Petty responded a reserve is an option.
Mr. Brewer stated the reason we are not fixing this is because we are broke.
Mr. Rosenof stated it is not like the reason we are not fixing it is because we do not know if we own it.
Mr. Brewer stated that is true too.
Mr. Doody stated Mr. Brewer has a good point. If you had the money, we would get the easements. I do not believe anyone will object to PTWCD maintaining these canals. Ownership is a much higher bar.
Mr. Rosenof asked what is our direction now?
Mr. Petty responded I am unclear of it sir.
Mr. Brewer stated I believe you talked about us giving it one more month to see if we can have outside collectible funds.
Mr. Doody stated I will explore the ownership issue further and will try to talk to the engineers and Mr. Petty with respect to a special assessment approach. I will be able to report to you whether or not, in my opinion, this special assessment can be spread throughout the entire District or if it will be a special benefit to the property owners abutting the canal.
Mr. Rosenof asked what about the idea of doing a hybrid by seeking reimbursement on the part we know we own?
Mr. Doody responded I can explore it.
Mr. Rosenof asked is it 20% or is it 50%? If it is 80% of the problem, the special assessment might only be $10.
Mr. Brewer asked you do not own that much do you?
Mr. Rosenof asked who?
Mr. Brewer responded the District.
Mr. Craven stated I am surprised to see PTWCD owns part of it.
Mr. Brewer stated I am asking because I do not know.
Mr. Doody stated from a historical standpoint it translates to legal ownership. The county dug the canal, but there is no formal transfer of title.
Rosenof stated if 80% of our canals are owned by
Mr. Doody stated they have taken a position where they are getting quit claim deeds from municipalities from right to left. They do not even ask you if you can get them in the mail. They may be amenable to deeding over a canal to PTWCD.
Craven stated if I can get
Mr. Brewer stated when we were dealing with the map issue the problem I had with them is they feel when PTWCD opened its doors, they gave everything they had to PTWCD.
Mr. Doody stated we have an engineer who says you own it. That does not cut it.
Mr. Rosenof stated if 80% of this can be done easily. Even if it takes a while, let us address the 80% and move along with it.
Mr. Doody stated try to get something accomplished.
Mr. Rosenof stated exactly.
Mr. Craven asked are you going to want to meet with me regarding the title work?
Mr. Doody responded I will contact you. I will probably need this map or a similar one of the canal. I will try to match these things up.
Mr. Craven stated I gave you the plat.
Mr. Doody stated I may need more information from you. I will let you know.
Mr. Brewer stated I will be at the county tomorrow. They have good maps which might help you.
Mr. Craven asked who is the gentleman who gets them?
Mr. Brewer responded Mr. Augusto. I will get a copy of what he has.
Mr. Craven stated see if he has anything on the maintenance map.
Mr. Brewer stated he is the one who gave me the map I gave the two of you.
EIGHTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of Invoices
Ms. Bertolami stated on the last page where the employees are listed there is a column we do not need, which is social security numbers. I would like to have it eliminated.
Mr. Petty stated we will do it.
NINTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Adjournment
There being no further business,
Paul Brewer David Rosenof
Agreement to bring before the
· Mr. Doody to formalize relationship between Mr. Craven and Craven, Thompson & Associates and between the District and Craven, Thompson & Associates
FOR NEXT MEETING:
· Discussion of information to be covered in presentations for management services.