MINUTES OF MEETING

CORAL SPRINGS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT

 

††††††††††† The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Coral Springs Improvement District was held Monday, March 17, 2003 at 4:00 P.M. in the District Office, 10300 N. W. 11 Manor, Coral Springs, Florida.

††††††††††† Present and constituting a quorum were:

 

††††††††††† Robert D. Fennell†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† President

††††††††††† William Eissler††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Secretary

††††††††††† Karl Miller††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Vice President

 

††††††††††† Also present were:

 

††††††††††† Gary L. Moyer†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Manager

††††††††††† Rhonda K. Archer†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Finance Director

††††††††††† Dennis Lyles††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Attorney

††††††††††† Donna Holiday††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Recording Secretary

††††††††††† John McKune††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Gee & Jenson

††††††††††† Roger Moore†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Engineer

††††††††††† Rich Hans†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† District Staff

 

 

FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS†††††††††††† Roll Call

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. and Mr. Moyer called the roll.

 

SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS†††††††† Approval of the Minutes of the February 17, 2003 Meeting

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated that each Board member had received the minutes of the February 17, 2003 meeting and requested any additions, corrections or deletions.

††††††††††† There not being any,

 

On MOTION by Mr. Eissler seconded by Mr. Fennell with all in favor the minutes of the February 17, 2003 meeting were approved as submitted.

 

THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS††††††††††† Public Hearing to Consider the Adoption of the Five Year Permit Renewal Policy

††††††††††† Mr. Moyer stated included in your agenda package is the proposed policy for the five year permit renewal program that we have talked about for the past few months.

††††††††††† Ms. Archer stated it is the same policy the other water control districts in the county have adopted.The first step is to identify and send letters to our permittees advising them that their permits will expire and need to be renewed and they will need to hire an engineer to do an inspection and certify that the water management structures are working and in compliance with the permits that were previously issued.We will start that process and do one section at a time.We will go through all of them until it is done.Any new permits that may come before you will have a five year renewal provision.

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated it says that if they don't do it, we will revoke the permit and report them.What are the consequences?

††††††††††† Ms. Archer responded we don't have enforcement authority.We can contact the city and let them know that there is a potential problem since they refuse to renew their permit and in the event of a major storm event there could be a problem and see if the city can give us some help on enforcing that.

††††††††††† Mr. Lyles stated the city step is significant in that all land development approvals are going to require drainage of that development parcel be valid and legally authorized.If we notify the city that they have not received a renewal of their permit and they can't tie into our system any longer legally, they will have a code enforcement problem with the city.If it were a large enough project and a serious problem, we could go to court but the intent is to not require extra expense for the district, just require the renewal and inspection policy be implemented and in the normal course of business I think a code compliance issue would arise if they no longer have the right to legally discharge into our drainage system.

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell asked if they sell the property would this be an issue for them?

††††††††††† Mr. Lyles responded while the permit is in place and before the five year renewal has arisen I don't think it would be.If the property is in violation of the five year renewal requirement, that is something that would need to be disclosed to a purchaser and if it were concealed from a purchaser it could result in legal action between the buyer and seller later on.††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated if someone buys property and they want to make sure they are getting a clean title, would there be somewhere other than the city that we should report that they no longer have a permit?

††††††††††† Mr. Lyles responded depending on how frequently it occurred, we could look at recording some sort of certificate of non-compliance so it would show up in a title search.Again, it is not a defect in the title, it is an outstanding code violation, which is like anything else where something is wrong with the property that you have been cited for by a code compliance officer, then that is something that needs to be disclosed to a purchaser. Once we get into the program and we see as a practical matter what is happening, we can revisit the issue of whether or not some sort of notice in the public record would be appropriate.We are not required to do that and I don't think it would be an impediment to us enforcing the program if we didnít do that until we had some practical experience with it.In the meantime we can talk to the other districts that have such a program in place and see what their practical experience has been.

††††††††††† Mr. Miller asked will you send certified letters to notify the people?

††††††††††† Ms. Archer responded I will do a regular mailing and if I receive no response I will send a certified letter.

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell opened the public hearing and there being no comments or questions, the public hearing was closed.

 

On MOTION by Mr. Miller seconded by Mr. Eissler with all in favor the five year permit renewal policy was adopted.

 

FOURTH ORDER OF BUSINESS††††††† Consideration of Request for Increase in Engineering Fee Schedule

††††††††††† Mr. Moyer stated this is a request from CH2M Hill/Gee & Jenson for an adjustment to their hourly fees as shown on the chart included in your agenda package.

††††††††††† Mr. Eissler stated this will be in effect until 2006.Is there a previously adopted rate that expires in March 2003?

††††††††††† Mr. McKune responded it does not expire.It is a set of rates instituted in 2001 and we go year to year until we feel it is necessary to ask for an increase and that is where we are today.

††††††††††† Mr. Moyer stated previously authorized work authorizations that you are operating under, would be under the old rates?

††††††††††† Mr. McKune responded I prefer they be at the new rates.

††††††††††† Mr. Moyer stated the issue on the ones dealing with the plant expansion is that the estimated fees would be adversely effected by this increase.

††††††††††† Mr. McKune responded the monthly estimate would go up by that percentage.

††††††††††† Mr. Eissler stated this is roughly 9.6% increase?

††††††††††† Mr Fennell stated given that inflation rates are 1% to 2%, why is this justified at all?

††††††††††† Mr. McKune responded we have not had one for two years.The rates in 2001 were very competitive.Even the new rates we propose are extremely competitive.Our costs have gone up.

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated our income has not gone up.I donít see a good reason for this big of an increase.

††††††††††† Mr. McKune stated this is our attempt to keep up with our costs.

††††††††††† Ms. Archer stated I can do a survey of what other engineering firms in the state charge and let you compare.

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated that is a good idea and if you will also work out the cost of inflation per year since their last increase.

††††††††††† Ms. Archer stated I will do that.

††††††††††† Mr. McKune stated I will provide some expense information.

 

FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS††††††††††† Continuation of Discussion Regarding Possible Amendments to Chapter 189

††††††††††† Ms. Archer stated since our last Board meeting I sent a letter to Representative Ritter regarding the options the Board identified for various amendments.After I sent the letter, we received from her the proposed change to 189 that she submitted to the House and that bill requires any county with a population in excess of 1.5 million people who had special districts that provided more than one function, which means us in Broward County because we provide drainage and water and sewer utility services, to immediately convert to an elected board and add two new members to that Board.The North Springs Board met after we received that letter and we talked about her bill as presented and the options that this Board talked about and they sent a letter to her today stating that we would rather see the Board transition over a period of time rather than put on five new board members at one time because there would be no continuity or experience.The first general election we would add two new board members by popular vote and every two years thereafter, we would replace the existing members one at a time so that we have an orderly transition and we would be able to retain some of the experience of the current members.We have copied our lobbyist on all of the letters so that he is aware of the Boards thoughts.I didnít receive a response back from Representative Ritter on the letter that C.S.I.D. wrote.Did you call her?

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated I havenít talked to her.

††††††††††† Ms. Archer stated I talked to Terry Lewis, the attorney for the Association of Special Districts about his thoughts on amending 189 to allow the currently seated board to voluntarily convert from a landowner election to an elector election at a general election and he said he had a discussion with Representative Ritter the week before because his districts were concerned that if the bill goes to Tallahassee it now says 1.5 million population in the county but by the time it gets approved it could say any county with over 500,000 population and that would effect Districts across the state.He had her agree that the bill would sunset after the year 2004 which means our two districts would immediately go to an elected board and after that, the amendment would go away.

††††††††††† Mr. Miller asked are they running this by Governor Bush?

††††††††††† Ms. Archer responded I talked to someone who said they contacted Governor Bush to find out if Representative Ritter had made a deal with them or not and they found out there has been no deal made.

††††††††††† Mr. Moyer stated it sounds like she has a bill, we wonít do anything to harm her bill because it accomplishes what this board supports.

††††††††††† Ms. Archer stated we talked last month about the fees that Mr. Book proposed.I talked to him and told him that both boards were upset with the increase and they wanted to pay what they paid last year which was $20,000 each district.He said he would do that and if he got into a big fight in Tallahassee, then whatever district he is fighting for will pay the additional cost.That is the way I left it.

††††††††††† Ms. Archer stated Iím concerned that the Governorís Office will call and ask if we are behind the bill and I need some feedback from the Board.I think the better bill would be a smooth, orderly transition to a new board and not lose everyone at one time.

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated my opinion is if this works, great.Anything else I see is a lot of work for us to get done.Going to a 190 was a lot of work and expense.

††††††††††† Mr. Lyles stated the other option was to amend 189 to make it voluntary for the Board of Supervisors to convert to a popular election.

††††††††††† Ms. Archer stated the present bill is an amendment to 189 but makes it mandatory to convert.

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated I donít have a problem with it, if it gets through and actually works.

††††††††††† Mr. Moyer stated if it happens in 2004, the reality is that you have taken this District to completion.We will be well on our way to wrapping up all the capital projects that we as a Board agreed to and at that point I donít know how political it can be.The utility rates are whatever is necessary to operate and maintain the utility and pay the bonded indebtedness and there is not a lot of politics in the water management area.

††††††††††† Mr. Miller asked is it agreed to try to get the election staggered if we can and if not we wonít oppose it.

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated that is fine.I just donít want to spend a lot of money to get this resolved.I think there is a real possibility that what she puts forward is not going to work.

††††††††††† Mr. Miller stated someone should get with the Governor to see if this language works.

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated there was a proposal made at the last meeting to make a minor amendment to 189 that sounded good.

††††††††††† Mr. Lyles stated that was an amendment that would effect districts in the entire State of Florida that are subject to 189 that are special districts such as this one and not 190 C.D.D.ís and it would merely authorize the sitting board to make a determination on behalf of the district that it feels is appropriate to convert to a popularly elected board without the necessity of a petition and referendum process.You eliminate the time and expense of the other process if the three board members felt it were appropriate and timely to convert to popular elections.That was in your letter sent to Representative Ritter as an alternate.We have not heard back that it was acceptable or not.

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated I will call her as a follow-up to our letter.

††††††††††† Mr. Lyles asked as of today are we also still interested as a District in the amendment to Chapter 189 that Mr. Moyer proposed as an either or proposition?

Mr. Moyer stated this would be in lieu of Representative Ritterís language.She will have to rely on this board in good faith that you are going to a general election format.It would not be mandatory that you would have to exercise the power.It would say that a board of a district that is urbanized may make the selection to go to a general election format.

Ms. Archer stated the way her bill is written now, if the Governorís Office is consistent, he will veto it.They will tell here that there is a process in 189 to convert and to follow that process.That is the message he has given her for two years.We are proposing an alternative to that process to allow a currently seated board to make that decision so that you can voluntarily convert and that is more likely to get through the Governorís Office and get approved.

††††††††††† Mr. Moyer stated if we all agreed that these districts need to transition at some point you would require that every two years districts created by special act go through the process of determining the urbanization pattern in the District and if you meet the thresholds contained in 189, you start the conversion process.That is really more consistent with what is in Chapter 190.Chapter 190 has a mandatory conversion process where the landowners turn the district over to the registered voters.My concern is if you made it mandatory then you start picking up opposition from the Association of Special Districts that have special act districts that would not want to do that.That is the way to address her concerns on a state-wide basis that is consistent with her overall good government philosophy on turning control over to the people who reside within the District.

 

SIXTH ORDER OF BUSINESS††††††††††† Staff Reports

††††††††† A.††† Attorney

††††††††††† There not being any, the next item followed.

††††††††† B.††† Engineer

†††††††††††††††† 1.†††† Monthly Water & Sewer Charts

†††††††††††††††† 2.†††† Update on Construction

††††††††††† Mr. McKune updated the Board on the progress of construction.

 

††††††††† C.††† Superintendent

 

††††††††† D.††† Complaints

††††††††††† Mr. Eissler stated a neighbor of mine called here because of a big water bill and on a recent holiday someone came out and found the problem.He was very pleasant and my neighbor gives accolades to the District.My neighbor was amazed at how fast they responded.

 

SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS††††† Supervisor's Requests and Audience Comments

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated I want to get a newsletter out and mention that there is an election coming up, pending legislation, and list all the things we have done such as how much money we saved on the bond issue, security, and capital improvements.If anyone wants to write something that is fine.

††††††††††† Mr. Miller stated just show us a draft when you get it put together as you have done in the past.

††††††††††† Mr. Moyer stated we will put in our paragraph on water conservation and that we rehabbed the pump stations.

††††††††††† Mr. Eissler stated also not to throw things in the canal.

††††††††††† Ms. Archer stated I will get the information from the waterway clean-up people as to how much they pulled out of the canals in Coral Springs.

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated we would like to see this before the next meeting.Also if you want people to pay online or something like that, you can put that in.

††††††††††† Ms. Archer stated I will get some information to you on payment on the internet and the cost of that.The software is about $24,000 and then you have to choose someone to handle the payments and there are different companies who process that but they charge a fee such as 2% to 3%.Do we pass that fee on to our customers, do we adopt a fixed fee based on an average bill.It doesnít make sense to base it on an average bill because most people who want to be able to do that are behind on making their payments and we are getting ready to shut them off so they want to go on the internet and make a payment and by then they owe $150.00.A flat fee based on a $50 bill is not going to cover the more active users.We have ACH debit available where they can set it up to have their checking account automatically debited for the water bill.That is in place.

††††††††††† Mr. Eissler asked do we have a problem with delinquencies?

††††††††††† Ms. Archer responded yes.One of the things we were going to talk to you about is right now we donít charge a service charge for late payments.If we were to adopt a penalty of 1 1/2% or 2% per month for late payments, we might encourage some of our users to pay on time.Right now they are used to waiting for the bill, waiting for the due date, waiting for the delinquent notice and then waiting for the door hanger before they actually write the check.By then lots of time has gone by and they donít pay anything more by waiting because we donít have an adopted penalty charge.Some of our districts have a 1 1/2% of the balance if it is paid after the due date.Others get a flat $10.00 for a late charge, no matter what the amount is, if you pay after the due date it is a $10.00 service charge.I think implementing something like that will encourage them to pay by the due date and cut down on a lot of our costs for mailing delinquent notices and door hangers.

††††††††††† Mr. Miller asked can you get a figure on how many people are late each month?

††††††††††† Ms. Archer responded it is a lot.

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated we should put the automatic debit information in the newsletter.How much does that cost?

††††††††††† Ms. Archer responded it varies.It is an analysis charge the bank does every month on the amount of debits we get in and our average daily balance.We are going to talk to the bank about why it is so expensive.I will get a report to you.Right now they are not being passed on to the customers.We used to have free banking but we no longer have free banking because interest rates are so low.The bank does an analysis every month that shows that our average daily balances are not earning enough interest for the bank for them to provide us with free banking.They are charging us so much per check that we deposit which is outrageous.

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated the people who pay their bills on time should not be penalized for people who do not.

††††††††††† Ms. Archer stated they wouldnít be if we charged the people who pay late.

††††††††††† Mr. Miller stated if we go the credit card route, we have liabilities with that because it is not that common but people hack into accounts and steal credit card numbers and we would be exposed to liabilities.Maybe the company who administers that for us will agree to take on the liability.It is probably not covered by our insurance policy.

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated Iím not sure that going to a credit card system will improve our cash flow.

††††††††††† Ms. Archer stated it would be for the customersí convenience.

††††††††††† Mr. Fennell stated given that we have repeating costs, it seems the debit is the one to push as opposed to credit cards.

††††††††††† Mr. Eissler stated if Wachovia is charging a fee for every check we deposit, why donít we go to another bank?

††††††††††† Ms. Archer responded that is what we are working on.We are setting up a meeting with them and I will tell them that they either get rid of the service charges or we will put it out for bid.They did it without notifying us, they just started todo it.We will give them a chance and if they donít agree to drop the service charges, we will put it out to bid.

††††††††††† Mr. Eissler stated I would like to be a part of that meeting.

††††††††††† Ms. Archer stated we will put a package together for you on what other utilities are doing with payment options.

 

EIGHTH ORDER OF BUSINESS†††††††† Approval of Invoices and Requisitions

 

On MOTION by Mr. Miller seconded by Mr. Fennell with all in favor the invoices and requisitions were approved.

 

††††††††††† Meeting adjourned at 4:55 p.m.

 

 

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

William Eissler††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Robert D. Fennell

Secretary††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† President