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
Paul Brewer Secretary
Donna Benckenstein Assistant Secretary
Mimi Bright Ribotsky Assistant Secretary
Also present were:
John Petty Manager
D.J. Doody Attorney
Warren Craven Engineer
John Hart Wrathell, Hart, Hunt & Associates
Michael Szymonowicz Wrathell, Hart, Hunt & Associates
Madonna Dellolio Wrathell, Hart, Hunt & Associates
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 July 6, 2006 Meeting
Rosenof stated each Board member received a copy of the minutes of the
Mr. Petty stated we have one correction from the engineer. In the fourth line from the bottom of page 14, “word” should be “award”.
THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS Discussion of Management Services
A. Agreement Between the District and Management Services
Mr. Doody stated at the last meeting there was discussion, which brings forth a proposed contract. This is a contract, which was relied upon for numerous years by the District and Mr. Moyer. Whatever aspects of it you would like to modify, you are able to do so. It covers the District. It identifies the terms of scope of services. You might want to look at it to see if you wish to expand those services or modify them. This is a proposed agreement to be used once you make a decision as a contract for purposes of management services.
Mr. Rosenof stated this will be used whether it be Severn Trent or another company.
Mr. Doody stated you directed me to formalize the relationship.
Mr. Rosenof stated the address at the bottom for PTWCD is 10300 NW 11th Manor. Is this the District’s office? Is it a building owned by Severn Trent? What is this address?
Mr. Petty responded this is the office of CSID, which is the sister district you share many resources with including office space.
Mr. Rosenof asked if we were to not use you, will this address not be ours to use?
Mr. Petty responded it is not.
Mr. Rosenof asked is there an official mailing address of the District as opposed to the care of Severn Trent Services?
Doody responded no. It is this
address. In terms of state records, it
has been maintained as this address for a number of years. It can be changed, but this is the official
address for purposes now. You can see it
is on the stationary as well. You use
the facilities in
Mr. Rosenof asked should it say care of Severn Trent?
Mr. Doody responded this is sufficient. We can modify it if you want. I do not believe we have a lease.
Mr. Petty stated no. You have an agreement based on your budget on the space you take up with filing cabinets, etcetera, and it is all you pay for.
Mr. Rosenof asked in section 3C, is it a termination for convenience language?
Mr. Doody responded yes sir.
Mr. Rosenof asked are we covered under termination for convenience?
Mr. Doody responded yes sir.
Ms. Ribotsky asked are there any provisions for the amount of insurance which should be held as well as types of insurance to be held by whomever is representing the District?
Mr. Doody asked in terms of errors and omissions?
Mr. Rosenof responded errors and omissions, worker’s compensation, and general liability.
Ms. Ribotsky stated I have never seen a contract with an outside contractor not requiring them to hold any kind of insurance. It is not in here.
Mr. Rosenof stated there is usually a separate insurance certificate used.
Ms. Ribotsky stated it should be in the contract for them to maintain it.
Mr. Petty stated the way it is currently covered, the manager acts as an officer of the District and is covered under the District’s liability coverage for officers and director’s liability. We are covered under the same controls as any employee similar to the way a city manager is a contract employee of a city. It is not unreasonable to ask for general liability. $1 Million is typical with $5 Million being as high as you will want to ask. Most actions of your manager will be covered under your existing insurance policy with the Florida League of Cities.
Mr. Rosenof asked is there no sovereign immunity?
Mr. Petty responded because they are acting as a contract employee in the manager’s position, they are covered under it for acts of omission. Should a vote go bad and someone wants to sue the manager’s actions, it will be covered under it. You will not have to go to Severn Trent Services’ policy. If you wanted to sue Severn Trent Services, you will look for general liability coverage. This is why $1 Million coverage gives you more than enough.
Ms. Ribotsky stated I would like something specific in the contract.
Mr. Rosenof stated it will be the manager’s responsibility to make sure any consultants and sub-consultants carry coverage. How does the additional insurance work with the consultants?
Mr. Petty responded if we have any sub-consultants we bring to you, they will be covered under our policy. We typically bring in staff members, which are automatically covered. The additionally insured does not come in to play. You will be coming after Severn Trent Services. Any action a resident or any public entity will come after, will be coming after PTWCD and we will be covered by the officers and directors liability coverage. We are not acting arbitrarily. We are acting as implementation of the Board’s policy.
Mr. Doody stated you have two components of it. If the District is going to be held accountable for actions of the manager, the manager is deemed to be an authorized agent of PTWCD making the District accountable. If this Board takes exception or feels as if its manager has acted in a negligent fashion, you will look to their policy. For the most part, the manager is serving as an officer of the District and is covered by the District’s insurance.
Mr. Rosenof asked is there sovereign immunity with the District?
Mr. Doody responded yes.
Mr. Petty stated the maximum allowed by statute.
Mr. Rosenof asked which is what?
Mr. Doody responded $200,000. It may be a component of your discussion this evening in terms of your management as forthcoming. Think of it in terms of a city manager. The manager of your District has a similar position. Your city managers are not required to maintain their own insurance coverage.
Mr. Rosenof stated I was more concerned about things which happen in the field such as a car accident.
Mr. Doody stated the District will be held accountable acting on behalf of within the scope of their duties. You can require it in the contract.
Ms. Ribotsky asked is there a down side to requiring it?
Mr. Doody responded no, but you have to understand you will still be held accountable for the actions of the manager.
Mr. Petty stated it has become a standard in asking for management services to have $1 Million in coverage with no greater than $5 Million being asked. $5 Million will raise the cost of your contract. $1 Million will cover you. It will be offered to you regardless of who you decide on today.
Mr. Rosenof stated let us add a paragraph to deal with it. Use your discretion of the wording and the limits.
Mr. Doody stated yes sir.
Mr. Rosenof stated those are the primary categories: professional liability, general liability, worker’s compensation and automotive coverage as well.
B. Candidates for Management Services
Mr. Rosenof stated we decided we were going to pose questions to our potential candidates in an effort to further define qualifications. We ranked the candidates as to the top two and the bottom three. We have the top two candidates here.
Mr. Doody stated you have not officially ranked them. You identified two companies you want to have further discussions with. You directed me to correspond with them. I did so after the last meeting. They are here because of an invitation. You are not scheduled to make a decision. This is further analysis of their proposals to make clarifications if necessary or amplification of their applications, which will help you make a decision in September.
Mr. Rosenof stated I would like to give each of them a couple of minutes to restate their case and then ask questions beyond that.
Mr. Petty stated we have more tape. You might want to let Wrathell, Hart, Hunt & Associates do it so I can leave the equipment running. We will leave the room out of courtesy.
Mr. Rosenof stated all we want to do is three to four minutes. It does not have to be a lengthy process.
Ms. Ribotsky stated I found it challenging to do an “apples to apples” comparison. I would like for one of us to be responsible for coordinating it.
Mr. Doody stated Mr. Petty is not being asked to leave.
Mr. Petty stated no sir. This is out of courtesy only.
Mr. Doody stated I am not sure if I understood your comments.
Ms. Ribotsky stated at some point during the questioning, we need to specifically question and understand the financial proposal.
Mr. Rosenof stated I would like to suggest the agreement contemplates an Exhibit A which will outline the services, and to use it as a matrix to either identify what the cost is for the item or check if it is included. It has not been generated yet. It is premature to start putting dollars into those categories until we have a definitive Exhibit A showing exactly what we are expecting from our managers.
Ms. Ribotsky stated at some point before we make a decision, it has to be done.
ii. Wrathell, Hart, Hunt & Associates
Mr. Hart stated we are pleased to be back, answer your questions, fill in any blanks and give you more information so you can make an informed decision. As a partner of the firm, the only thing I want to reiterate is our full commitment to the District to provide necessary services, expert management and clean, crisp delivery of deliverables from our operational staff. It is the operational staff who is running our offices who I want to speak to your questions.
Mr. Szymonowicz stated I must complement the District Engineer on the wonderful tour and history of the District he gave me. It helped me prepare a number of details I subjected you to during my last presentation. It might have been overwhelming, but it will hopefully tell you we are ready to invest the time to get to know the operational details of the District. Ms. Dellolio and I will be doing the work. I have experience with municipal type budgeting, debt financing and assessment rolls. Ms. Dellolio has experience in all aspects of accounting starting with regular bookkeeping all the way to relationships with bankers and trustees.
Mr. Rosenof stated let us bring the other party in for an opening statement and then we will go into the questions and answers.
Mr. Petty stated as you know the services we provide have hopefully been an example to you over the last 10 months in a reasonable fashion. Our firm knows prior to that we had been doing a “bait and switch” with our managers, which we apologize for. We hope our services are exampled better now. Severn Trent Services is considered to be the leader and originator in this industry. We hope it does not let us rest on our laurels anymore. My assignment to this District is considered permanent.
have been assigned to the core districts, which are CSID, NSID, SWCD and
PTWCD. They are all within the cities of
Mr. Rosenof stated let us bring the other party in. I think we have to do questions and answers together.
Ms. Ribotsky stated we might have different questions for each group. I do not know if you want to do it together.
Mr. Rosenof stated we have taken opening statements from each party. My thought was to have both of them in the room to do questions and answers for logistics sake, but they will hear each others answers. We are looking for your opinion.
Mr. Doody stated it is a matter of personal preference. From a legal standpoint I feel you are better served by having them both in the room. If you want to have more of a free flowing dialog, you might get more accomplished with both parties or you can go down a list. It is your personal preference.
There was Board consensus to have both candidates for management services in the room for questions and answers.
Mr. Rosenof asked have you had a chance to see the contract proposed by Mr. Doody?
Mr. Szymonowicz responded it was not provided to us.
Mr. Rosenof stated we just received it tonight. I assume Severn Trent Services does not have any issues with the contract as written.
Mr. Petty stated it is similar to what we had in the past and what is out there.
Mr. Brewer stated I do not have any questions at the moment.
Ms. Bertolami stated I have a question for Wrathell, Hart, Hunt & Associates. Did you come up with any recommendations for directions the District should take, which might not be on the table already?
Szymonowicz responded other than making sure the operational responsibilities
are followed and there is a long term mitigation plan in place to make sure
some of the problems with water flow do not occur in the future, I do not see
anything necessary unless you want to bring the District from its basic role of
being a Water Control District to fulfill other roles. It will probably be expensive and I do not
know if it is something the landowners need.
These types of districts have a basic role and in most cases they
fulfill it well by making sure most of the area does not flood unless there are
unforeseen events such as Hurricane Wilma last year. There might be some problems, but if they are
properly mitigated, and the District rules are enforced, there is coordination
with other local governments to enforce some of the rules such as clearing of
the ditches and swales. The engineer
said there were problems in the City of
Ms. Ribotsky stated we had to give a tax increase to all of the residents of the District due to the hurricane. Aside from hurricane related items, are there things you can recommend for cost reduction after reviewing last year’s budget?
Mr. Rosenof responded let Severn Trent Services go first on this question.
Mr. Petty stated when we went to the budget process we looked for such cost control measures. It was part of the discussion of the budget. If there was anything I had in mind, this was the time for me to bring it forward. You have our best recommendation sitting before you in the budget you adopted at the last meeting.
Ms. Dellolio stated I think the budget looks well skimmed down. There are going to be nominal increases every year as the cost of services increase. There was not any glaring thing I could have changed on it.
Mr. Rosenof stated you will be asked to administer a budget created by someone else. Have you looked at the latest budget? I know it has been updated since the presentations. Have you had a chance to look at it? Do you have any comments about it? Do you think you will be able to administer this budget?
Ms. Dellolio responded I definitely think we will. It is a standard budget.
Mr. Rosenof stated my fear, if we choose you, is we will lose some of the efficiencies of having more than one District under one roof. I do not want it to be a surprise if it turns out to be an issue.
Mr. Hart asked can you repeat what you said about more than one district being under one roof?
Mr. Rosenof responded my concern is Severn Trent Services runs several districts out of the same place and we share resources. I know you will do some of this, but I do not want there to be a surprise with a big cost variance because of a shared resource you cannot take advantage of.
Mr. Hart stated we structured ourselves so there is an active interrelated training program and we use it as an opportunity to have shared resources to centralize our administration opportunities for all of our clients. There is not a bump which comes suddenly because someone else is added to us. It is a smooth assimilation into the normalcy of our operation. It is a shared pool of resources.
Mr. Rosenof stated I am concerned about field resources.
Mr. Petty stated regardless of which firm you choose, I believe the nominal cost of shared personnel and service you get are not going to be material. If you do pick another firm, we will be glad to work with you to the best of our ability on the transition.
Mr. Szymonowicz stated the arrangement will be with another government agency and not another private company. It will be as it is now between government agencies with another management firm looking after it, at least to some degree.
Ms. Bertolami stated as far as emergency response, Severn Trent Services had someone onsite immediately. What will communication plans be for the Wrathell, Hart, Hunt & Associates group with the Board, the municipalities affected and the residents?
Szymonowicz responded we have all but three of our employees based in
Mr. Hart stated we will make sure there is protocol established and we understand what the correct protocol will be, especially for communicative purposes in the case of an emergency. We want to sit with you and make sure we are on the same wave length. Do we have the same communicative capability by equipment? Do we have a current list of the emergency phone numbers? We want to make sure we have a mini drill, a table top exercise.
Ms. Ribotsky asked do you have a disaster recovery plan for the other districts you serve?
Mr. Hart responded yes we do.
Ms. Ribotsky stated one of the things we discussed at the last meeting was a disaster recovery plan with Severn Trent Services. One of the things which is great about Severn Trent Services is I received a phone call within a few days about what was going on from Mr. Petty.
Ms. Benckenstein asked when will you be moving to Coconut Creek?
Mr. Hart responded we are expecting to be there sometime between August and September. It was supposed to be deliverable in June, so we are on top of them.
Ms. Benckenstein asked will only one person be attending our meetings?
Mr. Hart responded yes. We also want to expose a couple of our people to understanding what it is like to be at a public Board meeting. It is not an extra cost, but we might want to have some other people attend from time to time. There will be one manager for the District, but we will have some of our team around at times.
Mr. Rosenof asked do you have any questions Mr. Craven?
Mr. Craven responded no.
Mr. Rosenof asked do you have any questions Mr. Doody?
Mr. Doody responded no.
Rosenof stated I would like to suggest Mr. Doody draft an attachment A
delineating all of the services which Severn
Mr. Doody stated the idea is I will identify within a matrix a scope of services and within those specific services you want to know if it is included in the contract.
Mr. Rosenof stated that is correct. If it is not, we want to know what the additional charge for it is.
Mr. Petty stated I suggest your starting point be the budget, which delineates pricing so to speak and then go to specific questions to get a feel of what we will do under our existing contract and what will be considered extra.
Mr. Rosenof stated the price will not be the primary component for selection. It is our fiduciary responsibility to know what we are paying for what. It may or may not be the sole criteria for selection of a manager.
Mr. Brewer stated we need to get them a copy of this agreement as soon as possible.
Mr. Doody stated I made a note of it.
Mr. Rosenof asked do you have any questions for us before we move on to the next item on the agenda?
Mr. Hunt responded no questions. Thank you.
Mr. Petty stated let me put this suggestion to the Board while they are here. You have an issue of a large contract coming up. You will be committing money to the clean up and you will be looking for hurricane preparedness and how you will address the next situation. You may want to make your decision before you get too far into the program. It may be something you will want to consider.
FOURTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Manager’s Report
A. Designation of November 2, 2006 as the Landowners Meeting Date
Mr. Petty stated this is informational. We included general information in your package. We are asking you to designate November 2, 2006 as the landowners meeting so we can advertise it correctly. We communicated this arrangement to our staff and the Supervisor of Election. If you have any questions, I will be glad to address them or direct them to counsel.
Mr. Rosenof asked anyone who owns land in PTCWD is invited to this meeting and at the meeting anyone who wishes to run for Supervisor has to do what?
Mr. Petty responded this is like the old town hall meetings. The landowners run the meeting. You will elect a Chair from amongst the landowners. We present an agenda for them as a pilot to follow. We will be asking for nominations from the floor for open positions. It will take a landowner to nominate. If there is a second, we will put them on the ballot.
Ms. Ribotsky asked which positions are opened? I know some positions are appointed and some are open positions.
Mr. Petty responded Mr. Rosenof and Mr. Brewer are up for election.
Ms. Ribotsky stated there are two seats, which will be nominated at the meeting.
Mr. Petty stated the other two seats are appointed.
Mr. Rosenof asked do we elect officers at the meeting as well?
Mr. Petty responded no sir. This happens at your next meeting after the election where you will ratify the election process and results at which time you have the option of selecting officers. It will be on the agenda.
Ms. Ribotsky asked is the landowners meeting advertised?
Mr. Petty responded yes.
Ms. Ribotsky stated so it will be advertised.
Mr. Petty stated the reason you are seeing a proxy is because it is a landowner’s election and it is meeting here like a town hall. People who are interested in serving can go out and get proxies from landowners.
Mr. Rosenof asked are there any comments?
Doody responded I would like to bring forth an analysis of the election process
at the next meeting. There is a notice
of general election published by the Secretary of State’s office identifying
offices, which will be addressed to a general election process on November 7,
2006. It started with the
Ms. Ribotsky asked should the advertisement be reviewed by you?
Mr. Doody responded it is a question of whether it is a landowners election.
Ms. Ribotsky asked are you not sure if it is?
Mr. Doody responded I am not sure how this showed up.
Mr. Rosenof stated I do not think you are allowed to make owning land a contingent upon anyone.
Mr. Doody stated I have a copy of recent legislation, which was codified in 2001. I will give you in writing an analysis of how to address it. There may be questions of vacancies.
Ms. Ribotksy stated there may not be a landowners meeting.
Mr. Doody stated that is correct.
Mr. Rosenof stated in order for me to run I have to file my paperwork like the governor does.
Mr. Doody stated that is closed.
Mr. Brewer stated I just filed not to long ago.
Mr. Doody stated I will take a look at it and I will work with Mr. Petty. We will both be in a position to advise you appropriately. I am focusing on this, but I am not prepared to give you an answer.
B. SunTrust Bank Commitment Letter
Mr. Petty stated at the last meeting we had discussions on how we will handle the construction project. We discussed the work we did with SunTrust in trying to bring together a mechanism which can respond to what is considered to be small construction loans. Government entities might need them on the fly after a hurricane or other such instances. We have money in the budget to cover 95% of the construction cost of this project. We can trim our budget expectations for this year and next year and pay cash if we wish. We put in your budget consideration for a five year maintenance loan so you will have money in your account in the event anything happens between now and the time you can rebuild the account. We have it available to you from SunTrust. This is why the commitment letter is in your package.
Ms. Ribotsky stated the only problem is the commitment letter expired.
Mr. Petty stated it is not a problem because we brought to you the loan tonight and the resolution to adopt if you wish to do so, subject to counsel’s review for adequacy. Because we have cash in the bank, we are not asking you to execute it tonight. We brought it for informational purposes so you can read and discuss it. We can do this at a later date. We do not have an agreement with NRCS. It is subject to the process counsel is doing, which I understand is going well. Any construction between now and the time we get title will be at the District’s cost without reimbursement. If we are able to obtain the proper title, which counsel is looking for, it is hoped we will be able to participate with NRCS. It is subject to fund availability and applicant response. You asked us to tell the contractor to proceed. Our engineer is doing so.
Mr. Craven stated the preconstruction meeting is Monday, August 7, 2006.
Mr. Petty stated there are a couple of things we would like to bring to the Board’s attention for this instrument. Because the title for this is questionable at this time, we are not able to talk to the bank about tax exempt financing. We are not able to say this is a construction project affecting capital. If we were doing bank repairs, we would consider it a rebuild and therefore, capital. This means the difference in interest rate is approximately two points between tax exempt and not tax exempt. What you have in your budget, which you adopted at the last meeting, covers you for the worst case. We have the loan agreements for you to look at.
Mr. Rosenof asked what is the status of the bid protest?
Mr. Petty responded we have not heard a word, which we like.
Mr. Rosenof asked who is the permitting agency?
Mr. Craven responded we are.
Mr. Petty stated we do not have to seek a permit with any other agency to handle the drainage.
Ms. Ribotsky stated except for the right-of-way from the City of Parkland for accessing.
Mr. Petty stated yes. We will have to get an entry permit. The City Manager said they will be glad to work with us on any area where we will be staging or gaining entry and did not have a right-of-way or easement to.
Ms. Ribotsky asked are they involved in the preconstruction meeting?
Mr. Petty responded they will be.
Mr. Rosenof stated I need a tree removal permit to take a tree down. Why do we not need a tree removal permit?
Ms. Ribotsky responded I do not think we are removing them. We are only removing what is in the water. It is on the banks and if I am correct, we are not removing anything from the banks.
Mr. Petty stated that is correct. We are removing debris, which we do not require a permit for. Even if we were going on the banks and removing trees, drainage districts are independent forms of local government. I am sure we can find attorneys on both sides to say you cannot be controlled by permit requirements because you have to fulfill your function. There are those on the other side who say general purpose governments and municipalities can put together pertinences a drainage district must comply with. I will stop here and defer to counsel.
Mr. Doody responded the answer is debris.
Mr. Rosenof asked do we have a payment performance bond issued?
Mr. Doody responded a contract.
Mr. Rosenof asked do we have all of the insurance certificates in place.
Mr. Doody responded yes.
Ms. Ribotsky stated this is one letter. There are many different ways to get notes. I do not know if you have to bid out a note. Do we look to see if this is the best rate versus Bank of America or another bank? Do we look to see if someone else will do this without a commitment fee of $4,000 or $12,500 for legal fees? Do we have a responsibility when we finance and there are fees or interest rates? Do we need to legally bid out three different financing agencies? I want to make sure we are doing what is best for the residents.
Mr. Doody stated you are not required to bid, but you can. I do not know what efforts Mr. Petty made with respect to soliciting proposals. You are relying on his expertise. I suggest you look at the attorney fees.
Ms. Ribotsky stated I never voted on a loan like this. I do not know if it is standard.
Mr. Rosenof asked do you believe these fees to be industry average and standard?
Mr. Petty responded I believe they are good rates in the industry. It is a small amount of money. It is not large enough to justify a bond issue. You are looking at a note. Ms. Ribotsky is correct. There are other agencies. Bank of America has a program with the Florida League of Cities. The Association of Counties has a similar program with Bank of America being the commercial paper lender. We looked at both and we find this to be competitive and less cumbersome than those two.
Ms. Ribotsky asked is it competitive or better? Fees of $16,500 on a $500,000 note is high, even when I compare it to a personal mortgage.
Mr. Petty responded there is no problem with putting out an RFP for comparative analysis or inviting other financial institutions. We take no authorship in this from Severn Trent Services. We believe it to be competitive. We believe it to be advantages. This is why we bring it before you. This note has a couple of things we like about it. It is flexible. It comes to us in an interest only amount for the first year and you have up to one year to determine the length. You can make it a one, two, three, four or five year note for the short term affect. If you wish to go long term there are public hearings and more legal work to be done. We can do it. This instrument can be converted at little cost into the long term. We looked at how applicable it was to our situation. It is not the only instrument out there. We do not have anything to gain or lose by using this entity. This is what we give to you under the time constraints we have.
Ms. Ribotsky stated it seems we are not under the gun to get this financing right away. I am not comfortable with these fees and we have the opportunity to get three different institutions to bid. I would like to take the opportunity instead of approving something tonight.
Mr. Rosenof asked will it hold us up if we ask you to further research this? The last thing I want to do is suffer from analysis paralysis.
Mr. Petty responded the only thing which will happen is you will go into your reserve funds for payments versus using a line of credit or this note. I do not see you risking anything and bringing information back from the Florida League of Cities, which has a standard requirement and cost issuance, is something we can bring to the next meeting. You may also wish to consider an independent financial advisor to look at such matters. Districts do this when they go out for funding from bond issues. You can check with a financial advisor at any point and time you feel necessary.
Mr. Rosenof asked has Stiles Landscape Company signed the contract?
Mr. Petty responded yes.
Mr. Rosenof asked when they signed the contract, did we have to provide them proof of funding?
Mr. Petty responded no sir. It is with the state where we cannot commit to a contract unless we have funds. We currently do have funds.
Mr. Rosenof asked do we have to file a notice of commencement?
Mr. Petty responded no.
Mr. Rosenof stated we do not have to publicly declare where we are getting our money from like regular construction projects.
Mr. Doody stated you have the authority to take action this evening. Mr. Petty is recommending you consider this and you are relying on his expertise, which I am not going to take any exception to. He is telling you he feels it is a good deal for the District. I have reservations about it not being identified on the agenda, but I understand the necessity of expediency. I am asking you to weigh this. The agenda does not identify it, except under the manager’s report. I do not think it is an exceptionally large sum of money. You have the means to address it. I ask you to consider it and not over analyze it. You can have a 30 day window where it can be identified, the loan agreement will be in the agenda package so you can take formal action on it as opposed to getting the loan agreement and resolution handed to you.
Mr. Rosenof asked is there an expiration on their loan proposal?
Mr. Petty responded I do not believe so. The only thing which may change is the interest rate may go up or down depending on the market. It is the only issue. We are not locked in. I will go with counsel. We are not trying to rush this body at all. Because we did not discuss it at the prior meeting, I called the President to make sure I could bring this information to the Board. I do not need a decision tonight.
Mr. Doody stated as one Supervisor identified, the SunTrust letter expired. I would like them to update it so you are acting on a commitment letter with a valid date.
Mr. Petty stated we have not needed a signature to get a commitment letter from them. We can dig into our existing reserves and start paying the contract as it proceeds.
Mr. Rosenof asked when will our first payment be due?
Mr. Craven responded approximately 45 days from now.
Mr. Petty stated what you have before you will be closing well within two weeks of your approval date.
Mr. Doody stated if you do not have a payment for 45 days, you can close a loan within the next 45 days.
Mr. Rosenof asked do you need a motion from us?
Mr. Petty responded no sir.
Mr. Rosenof stated let us move on.
Mr. Petty stated I brought other information as well. At the last meeting we were asked about our emergency planning. The first handout is a copy of the District’s plan. Because we do share sites, you will see from various departments of Severn Trent Services additional material telling you how we act administratively for hurricane preparedness. There are additional copies of acts we do through the administrative offices of Severn Trent Services. These pages are updated on a regular basis.
FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Attorney’s Report
Mr. Doody stated as the manager indicated I have been in contact with the county. The attorney who is responsible for transferring the title is on vacation, but her office got back to me today. It is at the point where they are preparing an agenda item to go before the county commission when they come back from their summer recess. I am confident we will resolve this.
SIXTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Engineer’s Report
Mr. Craven stated I received a phone call from Mr. Gaines who is our liaison with the Turnpike Authority regarding the lining of the Sawgrass Expressway. He called me on July 7, 2006. There is concern about the connection to the canal and whether or not they are going to make a modification to it. He is trying to get a right-of-way from the county. We have gone back and forth and this afternoon he confirmed they will not need to make any modifications, excavations, reinforcement or relining in regard to our canal. We are where we were before, but they will put the sound wall on the south bank of the canal right-of-way.
Mr. Rosenof asked do you know what the timeframe is?
Mr. Craven responded no. They are starting to work on the northeast corner of either Lyons Road or State Road 7. I anticipate they will be going through it quickly. We are back to where we were.
There was an article in the Sun Sentinel this past week about Coral Springs and one of our sister districts, SWCD, about trees. I would like the Board to address through some moderate method the trees we need to get rid of so we are not sitting here talking about borrowing $500,000 to clean out debris.
Ms. Ribotsky stated as a former commission member, I personally made several requests to the city manager to ask code enforcement to do this. A formal letter from PTWCD requesting code enforcement become active should be sent.
Mr. Rosenof asked where are you talking about specifically?
Mr. Craven responded any place.
Mr. Rosenof asked are you talking about tree trimming?
Mr. Craven responded no, tree removal from right-of-ways. As I read the articles it was ambiguous.
Mr. Petty stated the issue is plantings in the District’s right-of-ways are anywhere in the drainage system. It is from the top of the banks down to the water’s edge. By design these canals hold water. If the water rises during storm events, any tree there is going to fail. People do not realize this and they let trees grow next to the water. There is an ordinance in Parkland saying you will maintain your property down to the water’s edge for the drainage system. This means the city can put some pressure on the removal of those trees. They cannot evict anyone from their home, but we have asked the City of Coral Springs to help us in this regard in many areas. They tried, but if they get a resident who is adamant about it, it boils down to whether we will evict them because they have a tree in their backyard. It is tough to do and we do not want to ask the city to do this.
Your sister districts are going through the right-of-ways after Hurricane Wilma and decided they cannot play the game of wait and see. Half of our trees came down, which we have removed. We have approximately half left. We cannot go into the next storm knowing we have these trees on our property without addressing them. This is a political issue. That is why the article is in the paper. Taking these trees down in people’s backyard areas is going to meet with some concern unless they know what is going on. We are trying to make it apparent in our next few town hall style meetings. Until then, we are going after what we refer to as non-ornamentals to try and get as much done as we can before the public information process goes through. Any tree on the bank will fail when the canal does its job. By design, we are going to raise the water table up.
Mr. Rosenof asked do we have the right to go into a right-of-way and take trees down?
Mr. Brewer responded yes. It is a right-of-way.
Mr. Petty stated it depends on our property and how much of the bank we end up getting or is it going to be a waterway. Your engineer has told you about a certain issue.
Mr. Rosenof stated I know there will be exceptions, but in general do we do it and send the homeowner a bill if they do not comply?
Mr. Doody responded if they are in our right-of-way, theoretically, yes.
Mr. Craven stated if they are in our right-of-way, they are required to get a permit. You are supposed to have a permit to do anything within the right-of-way of the District.
Mr. Brewer stated if the Australian Pine Tree is growing wild, and it is in our public right-of-way, it is our tree.
Mr. Rosenof asked my question to the city attorney was how do you give someone a permit to build something in a public right-of-way? It is not your land. They all listened to me like I was crazy.
Mr. Craven stated I do not want to blow this out of proportion, but we should be working cooperatively with the City of Parkland to do this because most of our problems are in Parkland.
Mr. Petty stated Ms. Ribotsky has contacted me on several occasions and made several suggestions. She made the City Manager available to us. We talked with Mr. Lauzier on the issue of who owns what and who takes care of what. We have a tree problem in this District. The next priority after title is going to be the remaining trees.
Mr. Rosenof stated the start of a formal letter is a good idea to encourage him.
Mr. Petty stated a letter that we support the removal of trees, which might be a danger to the canal system.
Ms. Ribotsky stated I would not say you support it. I would ask them to enforce it when possible. There is a difference. Supporting it is one thing, but we need to request enforcement if there are ordinances.
Mr. Petty stated I will be glad to write the letter under whatever terms you consider. I ask it goes to the President before going out.
Mr. Rosenof stated that is fine.
Mr. Craven stated I have one further comment on the political aspect of this. For years the League of Cities and Broward County have been trying to do away with Districts such as ours.
Ms. Ribotsky stated their legislation has failed.
Mr. Craven stated the comments in the paper were the City Administration was looking forward to taking over the responsibility for the drainage.
Ms. Ribotsky stated that was in Coral Springs.
Mr. Craven stated we are half Coral Springs and half Parkland. We have a problem and we need to address it.
Mr. Rosenof asked is there anything else?
Mr. Craven responded no.
SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Supervisor’s Requests
There not being any, the next item followed.
EIGHTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Audience Comments
There not being any, the next item followed.
NINTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of Financials and Invoices
Mr. Rosenof asked why are we not paying our automotive insurance?
Mr. Petty responded we are paying it. You are not seeing nonpayment. It happens once a year. We do not pay monthly. We pay once a year. Your year to date statement says 1/12 per month.
Mr. Rosenof stated you can see my concern when it says notice of cancellation.
Mr. Petty stated our accountant will take it off.
TENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Adjournment
There being no further business,
Paul Brewer David Rosenof
For Next Meeting:
Discussion of Short Term Note