MINUTES OF MEETING
CORAL SPRINGS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Coral Springs Improvement District was held Monday, January 22, 2001 at 4:00 P.M. in the District Office, 10300 N.W. 11th Manor, Coral Springs, Florida.
Present and constituting a quorum were:
Robert Fennell President
Karl Miller Vice President
Also present were:
Gary L. Moyer Manager
Rhonda K. Archer Finance Director
Dennis Lyles Attorney
Donna Holiday Administrative Director
John McKune Gee & Jenson
Roger Moore Engineer
FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS Roll Call
Mr. Fennell called the meeting to order and Mr. Moyer called the roll.
SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of the Minutes of the December 18, 2000 Meeting
Mr. Fennell stated that each Board member received a copy of the minutes of the December 18, 2000 meeting and requested any additions, corrections or deletions.
THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Award of Contract for Wastewater Treatment Facility Phase 1B Improvements
Mr. Moyer stated you may recall last month we had considered change-ordering a contract to do some line work and concluded that we could go through the bidding process if we did it quickly and still get the results back to you at this meeting.
Mr. McKune stated we bid the originally contemplated piping work, plus at the request of the Board where we said we wanted to have a finalized demarcation between this little project and the upcoming plant expansion, we added some instrumentation work to make this somewhat a "stand alone" project and get the flows equally distributed amongst our four existing wastewater plants.
On January 18th we received two bids for the project. The lowest responsive bid was submitted by Intrastate Construction Corporation for a total base bid of $343,220. The engineer's estimate for this work was $291,000. We reviewed the bid and recommended that the Board award the project to Intrastate Construction in the amount of the bid.
Mr. Miller asked was Intrastate the same company that was going to change-order?
Mr. McKune responded yes. It was very competitive bidding. We had a pre-bid meeting and both the bidding contractors appeared at the meeting. They fully understood it. I think the differential is because Intrastate is already on-site doing other work.
Mr. Moyer stated one of the things I asked Mr McKune to tell the Board before the meeting was how that portion of the bid that we were talking about last month related to the bid amounts. Did we break even? Did we lose money? Did we make money?
Mr. McKune stated these numbers came in about what I would expect them to had we done it by change order as originally envisioned by Intrastate. The amount is quite a bit higher because we have added some work to the scope to get the instrumentation into it and some additional piping. These are good bids and the originally estimated $100,000 previously given to the Board for just a portion of the piping is reflected in these bid amounts. These are good numbers.
Mr. Miller asked we estimated $291,000. Doest that take into account the additional piping?
Mr. McKune responded yes.
Mr. Miller asked then the $323,000 is in line?
Mr. McKune responded it is about 10% more than our estimate and that is fairly close on a job of this size. These our unique jobs and each contractor builds it his own way and we are trying to outguess these contractors on what they are going to spend.
Mr. Fennell stated we talked $100,000 last month and we are talking $300,000 this month.
Mr. McKune stated correct.
Mr. Fennell asked what did we get for the $200,000?
Mr. McKune responded additional work. Additional piping in the ground, additional valving and the $100,000 given to you last month included nothing for metering and electrical where this does.
Mr. Fennell stated this is a substantial increase from what we were discussing last month.
Mr. McKune stated yes, it is. The metering is approximately one-third of the amount of the job.
Mr. Fennell stated we need at least a couple minutes here of $100,000 talking. Keep going.
Mr. McKune stated I understand. What we have right now are four wastewater treatment plants in operation. At the present time the peak flows coming into the plant are directed towards two of the four plants simply because of the piping and the hydraulics that have existed for years. The piping envisioned by this project will allow peak flows to be distributed on a pro rata basis to all four of the existing plants. We will be better able to utilize the peak flow capacities of the existing facilities which will allow us to upgrade the existing plants and to exist on a more friendly basis with the regulatory agencies over the next year and a half to two-year period at Blower Building Plant E. This allows for the hydraulic distribution of peak flows to all four plants.
In addition, we have included the electrical and new metering requirements to give us a new meter at the effluent in each of the four plants. The meters exist today but they are inoperable and not repairable. We are replacing meters at each of the four plants. At each meter installation which are located throughout the plant site, we have a local indicator of flow that is attached to the meter. In addition, there is an electronic 4 to 20 milli-amp signal that goes back to a central indicator board on which are the indicators for each of the four plants all at one location at the headworks, where the operators can see how the flow rate is occurring to each of the four plants.
Mr. Fennell asked you have some quantitative information?
Mr. McKune responded yes.
Mr. Fennell asked any other kinds of other information going back and forth?
Mr. McKune responded no. It is just flow. There is much better operational control of those four existing plants.
Mr. Fennell asked you want to run cable back and forth?
Mr. McKune responded yes.
Mr. Miller asked I am curious as to why this was not evident last month at the amount that actually was going to be needed for this project. There were going to be additional items on there and it nearly tripled.
Mr. McKune responded last month we did not envision doing the metering and it was simply a piping project to be change-ordered into the Intrastate Corporation work. Intrastate does piping themselves. They do not do metering. They have to hire a subcontractor to do that. Since we were going to bid and we had a few more days to put the package together, we just made it a more encompassing package.
Mr. Moyer stated I think in part it was in response to my comment and concern that we look at everything that we need and to the extent we can get it in one bid to do that instead of coming back to the Board every month with a piece of this. It was great that you did the piping, but it is better if we had the metering. To the degree that all could be packaged, I think that is what Mr. McKune tried to do.
Mr. McKune stated please understand that this is not an additional expense that we have not envisioned previously. This is simply something that would have been in the bid package a month from now that we have taken and put into this earlier package.
Mr. Fennell stated my only input might be, as long as you are going to run data cables, run a couple extra. You will probably run a pipe with this stuff in it. Have a couple extra in there for a couple reasons: one, just in case the cable breaks and secondly, in case you need more data to come through. Usually when you have to run a cable, you will be running one again in six months or a year, the way data goes. I assume it is going to be a pipe or something like that.
Mr. McKune responded it will be a fair-sized conduit, yes.
Mr. Fennell stated but this is only one wire running through it. Run a couple.
Mr. McKune stated we will do that.
Mr. Fennell stated one good thing I have to admit is you did rush this forward and get this done which is what we wanted to do. Now we have some good legal bids on this.
FOURTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Proposed Settlement with Department of Environmental Protection
Mr. Moyer stated what you have before you has been submitted by the Department of Environmental Protection to resolve a notice of violation that they have made against the District for not fully reporting in compliance with our operating permit. When we received the operating permit, it contained 40 or 50 conditions, some of which dealt with reporting and the types of forms that needed to be used by our chief operator to submit his monthly operating report to D.E.P. Unfortunately, the lead operator did not use the correct form and that was not discovered by D.E.P. for a period of 18 months. When they finally discovered that, they went ahead and issued to us the N.O.V. and they are now assessing fines and costs of $17,000.
The unfortunate thing about all of this is to pursue it--and Mr. Lyles is in a position to tell you how things will be pursued--will cost you pretty close to what you are being assessed in fines and penalties. My concern when I heard about this and looked at this is that as an owner--and I view my role as the management of the District and your role as Supervisors in the capacity of owning a utility company--we are required to have licensed operators. I cannot as an owner nor can you as an owner sign those operating reports. We are not licensed to do that. I cannot do it. They will not accept it. That obligation lies with the guy that has the license. I view it much like if you take my car and drive through a stop sign, you will get the ticket for running the stop sign. I am not going to get the ticket because I happen to own the car. That is an issue that concerns me although I have been told not by Mr. Lyles directly but by some other attorneys that deal with D.E.P. on a fairly routine basis that your arguments all have merit but that is not the way the laws are written. The owner is held responsible for the activities of his operator.
I do not know what the recourse that the District would have other than to go forward and pay this. The question was asked: Can we continue to negotiate with you and is there a possibility of getting a lower fee? The answer to that was: There is no possibility of getting a lower fee. You should consider yourself lucky because we were thinking of making it a much higher fee.
The question was then asked: Well, can we do the same thing with this fine that we did with the deep well fine and apply the vast majority of the fine to future construction to upgrade our utitity? The answer to that was: No. You were lucky getting away with that the first time, but you are not going to get away with that the second time.
I guess what is before you, gentlemen, is approving or discussing other alternatives that you would like us to pursue with this settlement with D.E.P.
Mr. Miller asked this is merely the result of turning in a report on the wrong form? It sounds like it must be more involved than that.
Mr. Fennell responded they are not calling it that. They are saying nonsubmittal of required data.
Ms. Archer stated by use of the wrong form there were questions that were not asked and therefore were not answered. Had the right form been used, the right information might have been provided.
Mr. Miller asked have we reviewed all the other forms that we submit to make sure they are in compliance so this does not happen again?
Mr. Moore responded this came up in the middle of August when we got the call. From within that first week everything was upgraded and information that we had was submitted to them and brought current. It is very interesting because what really happened took place with the permit change which we received in February '97. One of the requirements was to report nine tests of a particular sample point instead of three that they had been testing prior to February. It was not picked up on the form. For 18 months they continued reporting exactly as they had under the original permit prior to that.
If you want to hear quickly a history of how it got picked up, this is kind of interesting. When I called back, I asked, "Why did you not tell us?" You want to report everything and do everything right. They changed reviewers in July and the reviewer who reviews our information, who is called a data entry clerk, takes our information off reports and enters it into their database. The girl that replaced the one who had been handling our data came from Enforcement. When she first saw our reports in July and August, she saw some information missing and that is when she brought it up. It had been missing for 18 months. If the same girl had been working there, we probably would not even be sitting here, which is kind of an interesting point to me.
They wrote us a letter because of the violation we had before. It is also a technical violation because missing information is a minor violation if it is done within three months. If they caught us within the first three months, it would have been a minor violation. If it is three months or more, they consider it a major violation which takes you into another category.
I can safely say every single piece of data that we have given them and every single piece of data that is required under the permit since August 15th has been submitted to them. Some tests you cannot go back and take, but some of the information we had we forwarded to them, such as annuals, that may have been submitted on a different date.
We have also compiled that in a list. I have gone over it with operators and other people. I have made permit charts, permit calendars and hopefully we will not miss anything like that. I do not think we missed anything. These permits are very thick. It is like slipping on a banana peel. Every once in a while they come up with something different. Two months ago they sent a letter to everyone that said, "Please consider this a change to your permit. We want this information supplied to us on a quarterly basis instead of a semiannual basis. Consider this change in your permit." Every once in a while you receive a letter like that and unless somebody traces it, puts it in and gets it just right, then something may slip through the cracks.
It is unfortunate. I think $17,000 is ridiculous because it is not life- threatening and I submitted to them data prior to, during and after to show there was actually no change in our effuent. It was not good enough to get anywhere with them.
Mr. Miller asked so they had notified us about this and it apparently just slipped through the cracks here about this expanded information they wanted? They probably sent a letter.
Mr. Moore responded it was included in the permit.
Ms. Archer stated we were operating under a construction permit for several years and when they converted it from a construction permit to an operating permit, there were changes that were made.
Mr. Miller asked did they alert you to the changes or you just had to find out?
Mr. Moore responded they did not alert us. It was in the fine print of the legal document.
Mr. Miller asked are you confident there are no more changes that we are going to get?
Mr. Moore responded I am as confident as I can be in reading through it in the last several months. I have made copies. I have gone over it. We had meetings with the operators. We will do our best to see that it does not happen again. To the best of my knowledge, since the middle of August we have been satisfying the requirements of the permits.
Mr. Fennell stated my own opinion is we have to go ahead and pay this.
Mr. Miller stated based on our past dealings with the D.E.P.
Mr. Fennell stated we do not have any choice there.
Mr. Fennell stated however, we are going to have to do something different.
Mr. Lyles responded I just found out about this ten days ago as well. At the point I found out about it, they had already made their decision and told us what it was going to be. I confirmed that the maximum penalty could be $10,000 per violation and, arguably, there is a violation for each month that Mr. Moore has described to you. Mr. Moyer's statement that it could have been much worse is valid. Since they already made up their mind and I am hearing from Mr. Moore that they followed their grid. They did not single us out for particularly harsh treatment. They put us in a grid where they felt we belonged. I can tell you from other instances and other government agencies, they pretty much do not depart from their grid. That is about all I can say as your legal counsel.
Mr. Fennell stated I had been in an industry that sometimes dealt with these kinds of things also. Luckily, I worked in divisions that dealt directly with the Federal Government. We had done that from time to time.
Mr. Lyles stated based on my review and hearing the the explanation from Mr. Moore, I do not think there is anything to pursue.
Mr. Fennell stated I think there is.
Mr. Lyles stated no, with the agency.
Mr. Fennell stated with the agency, right.
Mr. Lyles stated it is a matter of negotiating the best deal the District can make for itself and for the people that pay the assessments and the rates here. We were in violation of a written requirement of our permit and, correspondingly, written requirements of State Law and the Florida Administrative Code. Then it is a matter of how much they are willing to negotiate off the maximum penalty which could have been much higher.
Mr. Fennell stated here is my reading of this. We have licensed operators but, in fact, management is always in charge. Even though we ourselves cannot sign these over, we ourselves and the Board know they have to set up policies to make sure that compliance happens and when we find errors, we must set up methods that will ensure compliance in the future. That is what I believe we should do in this case.
Luckily, we have management, Severn Trent, which is a large group and has other properties in Florida. They probably have a guy who I will call a compliance officer or compliance head who should be an expert on us, not just these engineers. They will always try to comply but they do not really have the time to do that. What we need from Severn Trent is somebody, who is an expert in compliance and environmental procedures for the State of Florida and the Federal Government, to come in and do a yearly internal audit of our entire procedures, our forms, and everything we are doing. I do not want somebody else coming in here. I want Severn Trent coming in as the management group and reporting directly to the Board on a yearly basis of how we are doing. We should be doing that ourselves on a regular basis.
My own experience from coming out of industry is that if you do not do this, it will not happen. That does not relieve you guys from doing that. It will be another check on the system that, "Yes, somebody does have the right form." Somebody must be constantly reading the new forms that come out of Tallahassee or the Federal Government and issuing the various appropriate memos that something needs to be done. It physically requires coming down to the plant and checking that we are doing the monitoring correctly. I rather have our own people doing it than have somebody coming from Tallahassee to do it. We want to find it quick.
Mr. Moyer responded we do have compliance personnel within the company. What is a little different is that generally Severn Trent has direct operating control of the plant and they are directly responsible for these types of fines. If this were under a Severn Trent operating contract, it would not be coming to you. It would have been paid by Severn Trent.
In this case we have our own employees--and not Severn Trent employees--that are operating the facility. Having said that, we do have that capability within Severn Trent. Are you saying "Would Severn Trent be willing to do that?" As part of my management contract with this Board, my response to that is yes. They would certainly do that and they have done it in the past and will be glad to do that for us.
Mr. Fennell stated I see that as part of the contract. That is part of management's functions to ensure that the right procedures are followed. You may not be doing it. You may not be licensed. You may not be running the plant. But it is management that will have to be able to check on that.
Mr. Miller asked do you want to put that into the motion?
Mr. Fennell responded I am going to put that into a motion so we have a date to report back. What do you think? A July meeting?
Mr. Moyer stated sure. That gives us more than enough time.
Mr. Miller asked will there be any additional cost?
Mr. Moyer responded I consider that part of the management. You have been fair with what you have been compensating us, so I do not have any problem with that.
FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Staff Reports
Ms. Archer stated this is a copy of a proposed bill that is being sponsored by Stacey Ritter to amend the District's Act for your information. Mr. Lyles will brief you on the summary of the bill.
Mr. Lyles stated we have previously reported to you that there had been a hearing by the Broward County Legislative Delegation of all local bills that were submitted by the cutoff which was back in December. At that time no bills had been submitted pertaining to this District. In the past week or ten days a bill has apparently been prepared and submitted well after the cutoff by Representative Ritter and has been added to the agenda for the final public hearings on local bills which are a week from this Thursday. There will be a public hearing on this bill that has been distributed even though there was no initial hearing or announcement of this bill's existence or reading of its title as is normally the case for a local bill.
You can see that this bill is different in substance from matters that had previously been discussed and had been published in the newspaper that were the announced intentions of Representative Ritter. However, this bill that was not prepared by the Broward County Legislative Delegation staff but by the lawyers for the City of Coral Springs. Maybe it creates more questions than it answers. The substantive items are a change in the makeup of this Board and changes in the manner of the election of members of the Board of Supervisors. I want to stress at this point there are no other items in this proposed bill.
Mr. Miller asked this would all go into effect in 2003?
Mr. Lyles responded this law would go into effect immediately.
Mr. Moyer stated the two members of the City appointee would take place.
Mr. Lyles stated would join at that time.
Mr. Miller asked would join the three of us?
Mr. Moyer responded right. There is nothing in here that I see that would change an election process which would be 2003.
Mr. Fennell stated I am reading something that talks about 1966 and 1971.
Mr. Moyer stated they interlined the original act. What you are seeing are changes to 70-617, Laws of Florida. The only parts that you need to be concerned about are the underlined parts or the stricken-through parts. This is the only part of the bill that they are talking about changing at this time.
Mr. Lyles stated big emphasis on "at this time." This changes the Landowners Election to anyone having any interest in property within the District, which is not necessarily such a bad thing. It means that joint owners of property, like husbands and wives or partners who own property together, would have a vote.
Mr. Miller asked but it would be reduced to one?
Mr. Lyles stated an interest in a parcel to have one vote. It is just one vote. You are right.
Mr. Moyer asked if you owned 100 lots?
Mr. Lyles responded it looks like you would get one vote.
Mr. Miller asked they are not allowing proxies anymore?
Mr. Lyles responded correct.
Mr. Fennell asked how is the voting improved?
Mr. Lyles responded it is not necessarily improved. It is just different. It is not turned into an electoral system either where every registered voter is entitled to vote, which I believe this Board had indicated at one time in the past would have been acceptable to the Board. Any registered voter is entitled to a vote without respect to ownership of property and it would, again, require electors as opposed to corporate voters. That is not the path they have chosen.
Mr. Moyer stated there is no difference in terms of the notification requirements in terms of how we advertise for the landowners meeting. As I read it, the only thing you would need to have a vote would be to have five property owners present at a landowners meeting.
Mr. Lyles stated I am not 100% sure of that part of it. That is something we will have to clarify.
Mr. Fennell asked why wouldn't a proxy still be valid?
Mr. Lyles stated they just do not want it to be.
Ms. Archer stated even if you converted to an electoral, an elected Board, you would have provisions for proxy just like you would in any election.
Mr. Lyles stated it would not be called proxy if it is an absentee ballot which is a little different than proxy. A proxy entitles another person to vote for you.
Ms. Archer stated the way this is written you have to be at the meeting to vote.
Mr. Fennell asked when is this being voted on and by who?
Mr. Lyles responded the legislative delegation has this scheduled for a vote. Actually, Representative Ritter has scheduled this for a vote the 1st of February at their follow-up public hearings on local bills. I believe that meeting is in the afternoon like 5:00 p.m.
Mr. Fennell asked is she part of the Broward County Legislative Delegation?
Mr. Lyles responded yes. She is a representative.
Mr. Fennell asked consolidate all these things?
Mr. Lyles responded no. That is a whole undertaking of the Government Efficiency Committee. It would not be hard to look at all of this and wonder if there is not some coordination behind the scenes going on because they are hitting us with a double whammy or a triple whammy, last year and this year.
Ms. Archer stated that committee has another bill that is on the agenda--an appropriations bill--and from what I understand, it will not be heard locally. It will be taken up in Tallahassee by the Appropriations Committee to appropriate funds to study the dissolution of all of the Water Control Districts in the County, which is a study they have already conducted before and they have already appropriated money for and now they want to do it again because they did not get the answer they wanted.
Mr. Miller stated I am a believer in term limits. I am not going to run again in 2003, but I am looking at what is best for the Board going forward from that point. Is there any possibility that we can alter this? Apparently, she has the support of the City of Coral Springs too.
Mr. Lyles responded I believe she probably had the support of the City of Coral Springs because they assisted her in drafting this, but I can tell you she has filed an almost identical bill with respect to the North Springs Improvement District and she does not have the support of City of Parkland and they have the majority of the property in North Springs.
At this point we are continuing along the path that was previously discussed and authorized. We do not want to see any changes in the legislation that creates and establishes the duties and powers of this Board and of this District. That has been our marching order and that is what we have been doing. This bill was not in existence during previous discussions and we are bringing this to your attention now so you can take a look at it and be aware of what it is she has proposed this year. I think you should ask yourselves if this isn't step one in a process. Put City Commissioners on this Board so that they have a voting position and eventually take it over would be one scenario that I believe is a realistic one.
Ms. Archer stated you have authorized us to hire a consultant lobbyist to speak on our behalf if anything came up with regard to a bill in the District and we did that. He is planning on speaking on our behalf on February 1st.
Mr. Lyles stated and speak against this bill.
Ms. Archer stated that is the direction we have given him. We do not want any changes.
Mr. Lyles stated you are sharing those expenses with the North Springs District and they are in a slightly different position than you are because they have more than one city and they have more objection to this bill than you might because this District is totally confined within the City limits of Coral Springs, so it is different in terms of the geography and the politics involved. That Board is against it and they are still pushing rejection of this proposed bill and not accepting or supporting in any kind of amendment to the act that creates this Board and this District. They did not approach us through the staff level. I do not know whether either of you have heard anything from anyone at Coral Springs City Hall or from Representative Ritter, but they did not approach us to discuss how it would make sense for this to be drafted or what sort of transition or issues the District might jointly pursue with the City of Coral Springs. This is being handed to us as a fait d'accomplis.
Mr. Fennell asked who handed it to you actually?
Ms. Archer responded the City Attorney's Office. When I asked them for a copy of the proposed bill, they faxed it to me.
Mr. Fennell asked but they never actually sent us the bill?
Ms. Archer responded we only knew through the grapevine that there was even a proposed bill.
Mr. Miller stated from the tone of the past comment, it seems this was done with an adversarial angle and no real consideration of doing it in another way. Are we butting our heads against the wall by having our consultant up there making the arguments?
Mr. Lyles responded no. I do not think so.
Mr. Fennell asked what would it take for us to go with just a direct election?
Mr. Lyles responded there is a process for converting a District like this one. That is part of our objection. State Statute 189 spells out the process for converting to a direct election of the members of the Board of Supervisors. The State authorized it some time ago and it is there if anybody wants to do it in that way. If that is all anyone was interested in, that could be done easily. That is not what this bill is really about.
Mr. Fennell stated it is meant to take over the assets of the District. What is the probability of this passing?
Mr. Lyles responded I think there is certainly a better than 50/50 chance that it will pass, but that does not mean that we do not have some chance--a realistic chance although not a majority chance of fighting it and stopping it. You are not allowed by State Law to hire and compensate lobbyists on a contingency basis. We paid the lobbyist what we are going to pay. Let us let Ron Book carry this out and see what results he can get. It will not cost you any more money.
Again, it could be characterized as seemingly innocuous. What is wrong with having a couple of City Commissioners sit on this Board? The answer to that is we tell the City everything that we do. They know everything that goes on in this District. We file reports. All of our records are open. It is really the way it has been done that makes it clear it is only Step One in the process.
Mr. Miller asked why go through Step One? If she has sufficient pull, why not just go directly?
Mr. Lyles responded she is not sure she does.
Mr. Fennell stated she is also a Democrat in a Republican state, so I do not know how much pull she really has.
Mr. Lyles stated these bills are typically passed by the full legislature if the local delegation passes it. She is a Democrat in the most heavily Democratic legislative delegation in the State of Florida and one of the most heavily Democratic counties in the United States. She will not get any bills passed in Tallahassee on a statewide basis, but this is something that might pass because all it takes are other members of the delegation to say, "We do not care. We do not have a problem with it."
Mr. Miller asked it only takes other members of the delegation to do it?
Mr. Lyles responded yes. The full vote in Tallahassee is pretty much a formality.
Mr. Miller stated they will defer to the local decisions.
Mr. Lyles stated because other counties and other delegations will have their own local bills they will want to have passed. That increases the degree of difficulty.
Mr. Fennell stated I think what is best for the south part of Coral Springs is the key issue. I have previously reviewed the budget of Coral Springs itself and saw where their monies go and what they do currently there. They were taking about 10% of the revenue out of the Water and Sewer District and using that for other kinds of things in the City. That is what I think is really going to happen here. Certain amounts of money that we have built up for refurbishing will be taken out and put into the City. They really see it as a way to gain money.
I think there are some legitimate issues as far as the voting. Whether this proceeds or not, I think we should pursue direct vote for the District.
Mr. Lyles asked would you then authorize your representative at the delegation hearing to say that you as a Board are in favor of converting to an electoral vote with regular elections as opposed to this modified unusual landowners vote, which raises as many questions as it answers? What constitutes a quorum here is going to be problematic. If you have a regular election run by the Supervisor of Elections Office, whoever turns out to vote, that is what you get.
Ms. Archer stated you may also want to think about whether you want to increase your membership to five Board members rather than three during that electoral process, and not necessarily two members of the City Commission but two more members of the community.
The newer 190 Districts have a five-member Board. Some of the old Water Control Districts still have the three-member Boards.
Mr. Miller stated the Central Broward Drainage District has five or seven and they are directly elected.
Mr. Moyer stated they are directly elected.
Mr. Miller asked Plantation Acres? Is that the same?
Mr. Moyer responded they are landowner elected.
Mr. Miller asked any other similar Districts to us that are directly elected?
Ms. Archer responded Pine Tree.
Mr. Moyer stated Pine Tree is on a general election basis.
Ms. Archer stated they are based on five members as well.
Mr. Moyer stated in that case two members are appointed: one by the City of Parkland and one by the City of Coral Springs and three are elected. Pine Tree is very similar to this arrangement.
Mr. Miller stated that would be fine by me. I mean the more democratic the better.
Mr. Fennell stated I understand that in some cases the State now is looking to appoint people directly to the various Water Districts and Drainage Districts. Is that true? Have you heard anything about that?
Mr. Moyer responded depends on the legislation. In the 298 Districts, if a Board has a vacancy or does not have a landowners election and does not appoint somebody within 30 days of the vacancy, then the Governor's office does appoint.
Ms. Archer stated but that is an old rule.
Mr. Moyer stated yes.
Ms. Archer stated that has been on the books forever. That is nothing new.
Mr. Moyer stated they do have forms you have to fill out. It is a pretty bureaucratic process.
Mr. Fennell asked under our own vote, can we increase the Board from three to five members?
Mr. Moyer stated it would have to go through the legislative process.
Ms. Archer asked can our lobbyist submit that as an amendment to the proposed bill?
Mr. Moyer responded what advantages do you see going from three to five, other than just the way most Boards now in this state are five members?
Ms. Archer stated it puts more people on the Board--more representation.
Mr. Miller stated we should definitely have our lobbyist float the idea that we should be directly elected.
Mr. Moyer stated I do not disagree with that. This is a fine tuning point. The next landowner's election would have been 2003. Your term would go through 2003. That is not a general election year, which means if we have an election in 2003, we would have to pay the Supervisor of Elections to come out and set up polling places. If we are going to do what everyone is suggesting, I suggest we try to extend your terms to 2004 and then have our elections on even-numbered years in November when general elections take place. In that way we do not have to pay a lot of money to hold elections.
Mr. Miller asked how about the City? When does the City have their elections?
Mr. Moyer responded in March.
Mr. Fennell asked in even years?
Mr. Lyles responded probably odd years.
Mr. Moyer stated my only concern is that I do not want to hold or pay for a special election if we can just piggyback onto a general election.
Mr. Miller stated it would almost make sense to elect this Board with the City of Coral Springs City Commission.
Mr. Fennell stated I almost ran for that Board because they frankly had difficulty even finding people to run for that one.
Ms. Archer asked you get more turnout during a November election, don't you?
Mr. Moyer responded sure.
Mr. Fennell asked how come it is a March election rather than a November election?
Mr. Lyles responded the special act of the legislative delegation allows that.
Mr. Fennell asked is there a good rationale for doing that?
Mr. Moyer responded I imagine there are more people down here in March than there are in November would be my off-the-cuff rationale for doing that.
Mr. Miller stated Central Broward does theirs in November, I believe.
Mr. Lyles stated the Chapter 190 C.D.D. elections are in November. It makes sense to have them in November in some ways. By having them at the same time as the City elections, you can argue both points. The general question you have answered is you would support a regular popular vote by registered electors in some form.
Mr. Fennell asked would it be just those out of the District?
Ms. Archer responded yes.
Mr. Fennell stated I think we can put forward a motion that we support regarding direct elections in the District and increasing it from three to five people from the District. That also makes it easier in case one person is missing to actually carry on business.
There was another issue we talked about which is going to another type of District. What is that called again?
Mr. Lyles responded you are a former 298 Drainage District but now you are a Special Act District. There is a potential to convert to a 190 District. That requires the City's assistance. They would have to pass an ordinance to let you do that. We could petition for that, but they do not seem to be in the mood to help with what we would try to accomplish on behalf of just this District.
I should point out one other thing that I see as a problem area in this proposed bill. It does not require that a City Commissioner sit on this Board in an ex-officio voting capacity. City Commissioners would have a residency requirement. Designees do not have any sort of a requirement--residency, ownership, any taxes or anything else.
Ms. Archer stated they would not even have to live in the city the way this is written.
Mr. Lyles stated I do not believe that is acceptable or should not be acceptable to people who really think you are bringing this closest to the people that are involved.
Mr. Fennell stated that can be something we would like to push, because if there are going to be any commissioners sitting on here, we want them to be in the District. Otherwise, we have an issue of transfer of wealth from one District to another.
Mr. Miller asked this is the original language in here, correct?
Mr. Moyer responded yes.
Mr. Miller stated the majority of the members of the Board shall be residents of Broward County.
Mr. Lyles stated that is the language.
Mr. Miller asked that is the original?
Mr. Lyles responded from way back when. I guess 30 years ago.
Mr. Fennell stated we want that to change. We want them to be members of the District.
Ms. Archer asked do we have a preference whether it is March or November?
Mr. Fennell responded I think November makes more sense. Isn't that the cheapest thing to do?
Mr. Moyer responded you will always have an election in November all even-numbered years. Nobody ran for City Commission in March and they all qualified without opposition.
Mr. Lyles stated you will have Presidential elections. Every other year you will have an election for House of Representatives. You have certain countywide officers, like county commissioners, judges. You will have an election within this District. There is going to be a precinct for every part of this District every other November with a larger turnout than a typical City election.
Mr. Fennell asked doesn't the Supervisor of Elections charge each one of the different groups for participating in that election? Don't we get a bill?
Ms. Archer responded if they have to hold a special election.
Mr. Fennell asked even as a general election, don't they charge that back to the City and the County?
Mr. Moyer responded generally not.
Mr. Lyles stated having a line item on the ballot is not usually a cost issue. It is calling a special election just for this District when one is not otherwise being held.
Mr. Moyer stated we would have to get pollworkers. You have to pay for the pollworkers. That is what I want to stay away from.
Mr. Fennell stated we certainly don't want to do that. I suppose we are saying that we could piggyback on to Coral Springs. There is nothing out there voting besides Coral Springs in March, right?
Mr. Lyles responded correct.
Ms. Archer stated you get a low turnout.
Mr. Fennell stated a low turnout means a poor representation.
I think that is what we want to do even if it gets through or not. I do think we want to go from three to five members. We have talked about it before, going to a more general election, more representative. That is fine. None of us have any problems with that.
Mr. Miller stated the other thing to consider is that it will cost the taxpayers almost $20,000 per four-year term to expand to five members. I do not know if there would be more dissension if we had five members, but typically we hash things out and then come to three zero decisions pretty much all the time.
Mr. Fennell asked who would pay for the City Commissioners? Do they get some money from our District to attend our meetings?
Ms. Archer responded we have to pay for them. They did not change that section of our Statute. Once they are on the Board, we will have to pay for them.
Another thing to consider are the terms. Would we have four-year terms staggered somehow?
Mr. Miller responded that is a point.
Ms. Archer stated if that is about right, then we can write that in.
Mr. Fennell stated I will say four-year terms and just do it.
Mr. Miller asked do it all at once?
Mr. Fennell responded yes.
Ms. Archer stated we do not want to lose your whole Board the same year.
Mr. Miller stated that is the point. You may get three people or five people on there that have no familiarity.
Mr. Lyles stated for instance, the State Statute on Chapter 190 C.D.D.s would not allow that to happen. The State requires that it be staggered.
Mr. Moyer stated in this legislation say that two new members, if they are not going to be City Commissioners, will have an election in November of 2002 for a four-year term. Then in 2004 these three Supervisors would stand for election for four-year terms. Every two years you would either have two or three standing for election for four-year terms.
Mr. Fennell asked we are coming up for elections. How is this going to be influenced?
Mr. Lyles responded at this point the influence would come through proposing something that makes more sense and is more consistent with the way other government entities are elected and function, which is what you are telling us you want to do today. That makes more sense than this bill and that is our response to this bill that looks like it will pass. I believe you said you want to do it whether or not the bill passes.
Mr. Fennell asked does it make sense for me to call her? What will happen is there will be this meeting and suddenly there will be a lobbyist getting up and she will be caught cold with this.
Mr. Lyles stated she won't be caught cold with this because part of the lobbyist's job is to make contacts with other members of the delegation well before the meeting and that should have already been going on. If you are asking for a recommendation, given the way this has evolved, I do not know that it does make sense for you to call her directly.
Mr. Fennell stated it could not do any harm.
Mr. Lyles stated potentially only because we have designated someone to be our spokesman on this. It would have to be something that we would want to coordinate with our lobbyist. You typically do not go outside. What the lobbyist is doing with some other efforts or contacts should be coordinated. That would be my reservation.
Ms. Archer stated I scheduled a meeting with Mike Levinson, the City Manager, on Friday morning. I am meeting with him to talk about the bills and find out if he is willing to tell us what their motivation is.
Mr. Fennell asked when is this?
Ms. Archer responded Friday morning at 9:30.
Mr. Fennell asked can I attend?
Mr. Lyles stated my only hesitation there is you scheduled it with no elected officials, just staff. You are an elected official. Now does he have an obligation to tell his mayor and other people, "Well, I met with the head"? Those protocol issues come up. I do not know. That would be up to Ms. Archer and Mike Levinson. That would be my only concern.
Ms. Archer stated I wanted to talk to him on a staff level. We manage five Districts within the City limits. We need to know if there was a problem? What is the motivation behind the bills? Is there something that we can work out with communications? What is it?
Mr. Fennell responded I think there is some kind of motivitation there.
Ms. Archer asked I do not know if he is going to tell me when I ask him? I figured we need to go through the exercise.
Mr. Fennell responded I did also get a letter from the Charter Review Commission. I had actually asked to be a part of that. It turns out so many people have asked to do that, I have to write some kind of large memo to even get on that committee, but there is a two-day convention or something happening.
Mr. Moyer asked for the County or the City?
Mr. Fennell responded the County.
Ms. Archer stated if you fill that out, then I won't have to.
Mr. Fennell stated it looks like it is a major thesis. Is it necessary to fill this out?
Ms. Archer responded if you want to participate in that program for that two-day weekend in February, you need to respond to that and get it back by the 24th, which is Wednesday.
Mr. Lyles stated it is a little like doing an essay for your college admission. They will only consider you if you prepare the essay answers to those four or five questions. I forget how many there are. Submit it and then they will review all that. Then they will decide who is worthy to participate and who is not.
Mr. Fennell asked they are selecting who they want to. Is it worth participating in that?
Mr. Lyles responded I am sure it is. The reason I say that is they have done that a couple times over the years in Fort Lauderdale where they get a group of citizens. They try to look into the future and get ideas from every corner of the community. What are your problem areas? What do you want to work on? What do you want to be looking at ten years from now? What would make us a good desirable community?
People who participate seem to feel it is a worthwhile expenditure of their time and it is a lot of time and effort. The ideas do get discussed at the policy-making level and I assume the County wants to try and do something on the same lines although on a much bigger scale.
Ms. Archer stated they will select 250 people to participate in the program. I hope you are one of them.
Mr. Lyles stated if we are going to support, as a governmental entity, increasing the Board to five and having popular vote elections, then it almost seems worthwhile to consider taking the final step which you brought out a minute ago and that is convert to a Chapter 190 C.D.D. if the City of Coral Springs will favorably consider that. The reason being is you could get rid of all this kind of mumbo-jumbo we have in our Special Act, like a $4,000 purchasing limitation and take advantage of and be governed by the general State standards for these Districts that apply everywhere.
For instance, you get the thresholds then that the State purchasing code establishes for governmental agencies all the way down to the level of local districts. It would make it easier to operate in some ways and it would put you in a category of government entity that is very strongly recognized and provided for by State statute as opposed to what we have now which is a little neither here nor there. You might want to think about whether that wouldn't be an advantage. It would not change the way you make decisions and the kinds of things you get into on a month-in and month-out basis. It would take Coral Springs approval to do it. It puts the burden on Coral Springs to say why they do not want to do it.
Mr. Moyer stated this goes to the governor and the cabinet. The City could certainly take a position, but they are not required to take a position.
Mr. Lyles stated I believe a district that is totally within the boundaries of the City can be turned into a 190 District based on the City ordinance.
Mr. Moyer asked regardless of the size?
Mr. Lyles asked what is the size of this one?
Mr. Moyer responded 5,000 acres. Under 1,000 acres would go to the City. Over 1,000 acres goes to the governor and cabinet.
Ms. Archer stated that is even better.
Mr. Moyer stated unless Mr. Lyles can figure something out. If it is over 1,000, then we petition to do that, we would have to pay the City $15,000 to permit them to pay to review our petition. It may be worth doing.
Mr. Lyles stated that will be a good expenditure if we can manage to do that. There are a lot of good policy reasons we can come up with to argue in favor of doing that. Then you cannot just treat this District any way you want to at the lower legislative delegation level. You will have to change state law applicable across the State of Florida if you want to change what goes on with this District. The idea is a significant level of independence.
Mr. Moyer stated true. There are provisions in 190 that gives the City, in this case, the right to come in and take any District power that it wants to take unilaterally. That is the downside.
Ms. Archer asked don't they have to go through those findings?
Mr. Moyer responded yes. They have to go through the findings if they can do it at a level of efficiency equal to or better than what we are doing at a cost equal to or less than the cost that we are doing it. I can tell you again you can put numbers on a piece of paper and prove that up. They could do that.
Ms. Archer stated they already did it independently once on their own and decided not to pursue it.
Mr. Moyer stated that is right.
Mr. Lyles stated they could not meet those thresholds. They could not do it more efficiently and they could not do it for less cost. That is not to say an economist, an urban planner or a utilities expert in the future could not be hired to do another study and come up with different results.
Mr. Moyer if they wanted our Water and Sewer Department, they would adopt an ordinance if we did not like it and did not agree with it, then our only recourse is to go to court.
Mr. Miller stated I am not clear on this with the conversation you are having. With the size of the C.S.I.D. we would need the approval of the City of Coral Springs to go forward with switching to a 190?
Mr. Moyer responded the City is noticed that we are petitioning to recreate as a Community Development District. They have 45 days in which to have a local hearing to determine: one, whether they want to support that; two, to oppose it; or three, to take absolutely no position whatsoever at which time there is a hearing examiner appointed by the Department of Administrative Hearings who comes down and holds a hearing. It is open to anybody in the world including residents that want to attend and give testimony in support of or opposition to the creation of the Community Development District. The hearing examiner then will write a report indicating that we have proven the factors that we need to prove through testimony. He then prepares a report and that report then goes to the governor and cabinet who will adopt by rule the uniform charter which is a statute. It is a general law in the State of Florida being Chapter 190 and reestablishes the District as a Community Development District under that statute. You are looking at five to six months to get through that process.
Mr. Miller asked how much? Is it $15,000 plus legal fees?
Mr. Moyer responded right.
Ms. Archer asked we do not need 100% consent of the property owners?
Mr. Moyer responded this Board represents 100% consent of the property owners under Chapter 190. An existing Special District can represent its residents. That is how the Weston District came about in 1981. They petitioned on behalf of Indian Trace residents.
Mr. Miller asked how much resistance would we get and how effective would that resistance be?
Mr. Moyer responded if the City really understood how much additional leverage they have over the District in doing that, I do not see why they would object to that. Right now if they want to take over a power of the District, they will have to go to the legislative delegation and do that by special act. They get a crack at that once a year.
Ms. Archer stated it does not seem to be a hard thing to do.
Mr. Moyer stated that is right. Under 190 they could do it anytime they want for any reason they want.
Ms. Archer stated at least this way they have to go through the findings. They do not have to go through any findings to go to the legislature and do it. At least they have to take a little time and effort to prove what they think on paper. Then we could always come back and say, "We will do it for that."
Mr. Moyer stated these are all discussions we can have at a future meeting. I think as it relates to this piece of legislation and we have until February 1 to respond, I think we have your direction on how we want to respond. We will march forward and advise our lobbyists that we see certain flaws in the way this is drafted. Basically, they drafted it around a special act that is 31 years old. Not that it is bad drafting. I do not want to be critical of the person that drafted it. It is just drafted around law that is antiquated.
Ms. Archer asked do I want to mention anything to Mike Levinson about other options besides this bill? Do I want the City to redraft the bill before it goes to a delegation on February 1st?
Mr. Fennell responded one thing you could try to feel out is that a strong thing that the City has been trying to do is to get community action groups within the City. I live in Shadow Wood. It is 21 or 22 years old. We never had a homeowners association, which apparently the City is trying to encourage.
Ms. Archer stated in every town meeting that they hold.
Mr. Fennell stated we do not really want it. All we wanted to do was replace some signs that said Shadow Wood on it and it caused the biggest uproar you would not believe. The signs themselves are worth maybe a thousand bucks. There are three of them. In order to do that we had to form some kind of group, pay in money and obtain money also from the State and Federal. This was not only to repair the signs but to do some kind of improvement. We will spend up to 10,000 or $15,000 to replace three signs.
Ms. Archer stated we have to match it in time, sweat, equity and go through that whole process.
Mr. Fennell stated they want action groups within committees. Why is that important? If you are looking for smaller representational government on the local area, it is already there in the form of the Boards and the people there. The Board could have decided to help out with the signs or at least give directions. It is on the City's land too. I think they are really short of funds. They do not want to do it. It is hard to understand exactly the rationale. My point being is that in fact the Improvement Districts can act as local representation--local interests within areas. They are ideally suited for that.
Within our District how many different accounts do we have? 8,000 or so?
Ms. Archer responded no. Including multi-family we have almost 12,000.
Mr. Fennell asked an average of three people per account? Maybe four?
Ms. Archer responded yes.
Mr. Fennell stated so we represent an area of about 36,000 or 40,000 people?
Ms. Archer responded we have about 100,000 residents in Coral Springs.
Mr. Fennell stated which is a pretty good size, manageable in itself. That is a good size to be represented and to have actions on themselves, if the people so designate to do that.
Ms. Archer stated what is funny is that the City's motivation for these small local groups is contrary to Stacey Ritter's motivation that she does not want the water and control of these small Water Control Districts. She has been quoted as saying that it should be in the hands of larger government: the county or the city.
Mr. Fennell stated I think that is part of it. I believe the other issue is the management. She does not like private management in government.
Ms. Archer stated that is the trend: privatization.
Mr. Fennell stated I know but that is real motivation here. I could be wrong in that. I got that not from her but from the one meeting I attended about the comments I received from some of the players there.
Mr. Miller asked when is this set for a vote?
Ms. Archer responded February 1st.
Mr. Fennell asked so we could have two new Board members by next meeting?
Ms. Archer responded nobody has passed it yet.
Mr. Lyles stated I do not think I agree with that. Whenever this bill takes effect, and that means when it receives the governor's signature, all of a sudden you have two members coming from the City Commission. Your elections are not changed by this, but the City slots would be open immediately.
Mr. Moyer stated upon the bill becoming law.
Mr. Lyles stated correct.
Mr. Fennell stated the vote is February 1st.
Mr. Lyles stated that is the vote for the local delegation, then it goes before the full legislature and then the governor signs all these local bills eventually.
Mr. Moyer stated usually July 1st or October 1st.
Mr. Fennell stated we could be talking three or six months away.
Mr. Lyles stated those are usually general laws. Special Acts could be right away. You are a few months away but not much.
Mr. Fennell stated this is what we have talked about here and it is a good direction we generally want to go with anyway. I think it is becoming more obvious in one way or another that the District will probably have to change: either we will get stronger or we will get folded in. That is what will happen. I can see somebody also trying to fold us into North Springs.
Ms. Archer stated we are not contiguous so that would be hard to do.
Mr. Fennell stated I do not know if that is the argument here.
Mr. Moyer stated if they are looking for efficiency, they could fold that in and they could roll Sunshine into it also.
Mr. Lyles stated and give it all to Coral Springs.
Mr. Fennell stated there are probably two arguments here. I do not think they would actually be more efficient because we have spread out management and we are using common consultants and things like insurance. Actually, it is all there. I believe what their argument would be is shared management. They could have a management argument about that kind of sharing of knowledge. That will be one case they could go after.
Ms. Archer stated we have shared management.
Mr. Fennell stated I know but they really want a shared public management.
Ms. Archer stated other shared management.
Mr. Fennell stated if I am reading this right, they want City government and not outside help. There could be other ways for this to go.
The problem is Coral Springs does not have a very good record in running their utilities. I have a hard time with them. They do not do their own wastewater treatment. They do generate their own water and only after some fairly significant issues have they really got up to snuff.
I think the Board has to do some soul-searching and ask people in our group and decide where we want the District to go and what direction it should take. I think we have a physical plant for ourselves now. We have five-year, ten-year, fifteen-year plans and financial plans. The next question is what do we want to do from a management/political standpoint for the next five or ten years.
Mr. Miller stated Representative Ritter's concern has been the perception that the Boards are kind of put on here in a shadowy fashion. I do not think she understands that we walk neighborhoods and got on here in that way, but from reading articles where she has been quoted, that was one of her concerns. Proposing direct election may allay that kind of a suggestion.
Mr. Fennell stated I think she has a point there. I can understand also where she gets that idea.
Any other issues?
Mr. Lyles responded no, sir. That is my report.
1. Monthly Water & Sewer Charts
2. Update on Construction
Mr. McKune stated this will be a recommendation that will approve our work authorization to do the engineering services during construction for the project that was awarded earlier in the meeting.
Mr. Fennell asked it is not included in there? Time of performance, four months?
Mr. McKune responded yes.
Mr. Moyer stated the monthly fees are in line with what we have previously approved.
Mr. Fennell asked you estimate four months?
Mr. McKune responded yes.
Mr. Fennell asked does it tell me how much the money is?
Mr. McKune responded it is $3,500. That is per month for four months.
Mr. Moyer stated $14,000 on a $300,000 contract.
Mr. Fennell asked how bad are we in water levels?
Ms. Archer responded the water is low.
Mr. Fennell stated there are two issues for us: one, the people will start complaining the canal is getting low. The second one is our well is going to run dry. How are our new wells doing?
Mr. McKune responded I would guestimate 30 days away from getting a final agreement with the City of Coral Springs to install them in the park.
Ms. Archer stated under these Phase 2 restrictions we were required to cut back pressure from 60 to 55, so there may be complaints about reduced water pressure in the houses but only for people that never read the newspaper.
Mr. Fennell asked does that start to cause us any kinds of contaminant problems when you reduce the pressure level?
Mr. McKune responded our department becomes concerned at a low level of 20 psi. Where you can start to get problems at a level of 50 psi is with some commercial establishments, where they have icemakers and things that operate on fixed pressures above 50 psi, they will start to complain. Most of them can readjust their equipment.
Mr. Fennell asked what if there is a fire?
Mr. Moore responded you should still have sufficient pressure to service a fire. We have sufficient quantity.
There not being any, the next item followed.
There not being any, the next item followed.
SIXTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Supervisor's Requests and Audience Comments
Ms. Archer stated we received a Commander's Award from the United States Marine Corps Reserve for our participation--the Coral Springs Improvement District--in the Toys for Tots for the year 2000. It says, "The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve is proud to recognize Coral Springs Improvement District, for outstanding achievement in support of the 2000 Toys for Tots Program. These generous contributions have enabled us to help fulfill the Christmas dreams of our nation's neediest children." From what I understand, we collected 44 gifts.
Mr. Fennell stated congratulations.
Ms. Archer stated they presented us with this plaque which I will present to the Board.
Mr. Fennell stated thank you very much.
SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of Invoices
EIGHTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Adjournment
Gary L. Moyer Robert D. Fennell