MINUTES
SPECIAL MEETING
ENGLEWOOD WATER DISTRICT BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

FEBRUARY 18, 2010 – 8:30 A.M.
WEST COAST CHURCH
240 PINE STREET, ENGLEWOOD, FL 34223

Board of Supervisors:
Steve Samuels, Chair
Paul Manke, Vice-Chair
Sydney Crampton
Phyllis Wright
Taylor Meals

Staff:
Richard L. Rollo, P.E. – Administrator
Michael J. Ray – Deputy Administrator
Robert H. Berntsson – District Counsel
Maureen A. Cronk – Secretary to the Board

1.            The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance and a roll call to establish a quorum.

2.            V9 A & V9 B SEWER COLLECTION SYSTEM – Chair Samuels advised that based on input from each Board member,  EWD staff and consulting engineer Jonathan Cole, Giffels-Webster Engineers Inc., would address questions as posed at the January 22nd Special Meeting and at subsequent  individual meetings between Staff and Board Members in the ensuing weeks.   In this manner all members and audience will hear responses in the same format.  (Topics and responses are attached).

After the list was completed, Mr. Rollo made a statement with regard to correspondence received regarding the project.  He explained staff’s position in trying to develop an affordable program, and also noting that this is not the District’s only Capital Project.  If the Board heeds the advice of the public and delays V-9, funds will be spent on other projects.  However, the ability to subsidize this project in V9 will be less, if at all.  We have a favorable bid environment.  If the economy turns around the bid environment could change. 

Chair Samuels asked for Board comments –

Mr. Meals – I have talked to many people and their questions were passed to staff; they were addressed here and staff did a good job.

Ms. Crampton – the resolution describes the 6 year payment plan and 0% interest – is that flexible in any way?  Mr. Rollo responded that based on input from public, staff response and other considerations important to Board Members, the final resolution can differ.  Attorney Berntsson added that the final decision must be amended into the resolution as finally adopted.

Mr. Manke moved, “to Accept Resolution # 2010-02-18 A as presented “Seconded by Mr. Meals for discussion.

During discussion Mr. Meals expressed his firm belief that the entire district will be sewered.  It’s been a process that started 15 years ago and will take years more.  Question is, why now.  We had a public hearing with couple of hundred people; good input, good questions.  Don’t think this is the time to go ahead for 2 reasons (1) the economy – things haven’t gotten better, unemployment, foreclosures going up.  Property values not leveled off and a contracting population.  (2) EWD is financially sound.  We pay our bills; make improvements, first class facilities.  Maintenance is minor.  Based on this project’s financing one problem is the time when we get reasonably close to our bank requirement of $7.5M.  We always had a reserve of $10M that we wanted to keep; this project will put on stress that we don’t need.  Every year there’s an unanticipated project from the County, DEP or SWFWMD.  If we work our reserves down and have an emergency it would be a strain.   If we postpone now we can look at it again in a couple of years.  Develop a CIP and hold to it; whether or not the customers like it, it lets them prepare.  This may be the best time for the lowest price, but maybe it’s not an option. 

Mr. Manke – most of what Taylor says can be taken in the opposite direction.  I attended meetings for a year before running for the board.  Staff leadership is the best you can have.  We have a good price and maybe can get a better one.  Our responsibility is to put sewers in; there are many along the water without the security of the sewer system.  That bothers me. 

Motion failed 2/3 (Wright, Crampton, Meals)

Chair Samuels – We will postpone any other discussion of V9 A, B, and C to a point in the future.  Consider talking about a date to revisit this again.   Mr. Meals suggested that we need to revisit later, but will discuss during the CIP budget preparation etc.

4.            PUBLIC COMMENT

  1. Muriel Glaim – thank you, we appreciate your vote.  I’m one of the 94 in the Sign Up and Save Program.  Will that amount keep growing or what happens to it?  Answer – funds are retained by EWD; the Plant Capacity fees are paid regardless of any future increase in that fee. 
  2. John Novotny – 1) those who have functional systems do not have an option to keeping the system.  Do you have an ordinance that you’re operating under that there are no exceptions for people with functioning systems. 2) I see now what connection charges are but am concerned about the basics behind the need to connect functioning systems. 
  3. James Allbrook –How do you advertise bids?  Also can we continue to pay additional to our water bills as we’ve done previously? 
  4. Peter Buchardt – You presented yourselves differently than in January; let’s keep it going. 
  5. Martha Eaton – appreciate the answers today.  Still questions.  If you’re so solvent why did you raise the rates in September?  Minutes said 9A was designed, permitted and ready.  Why attach us to B.  Explain the lien thing.  Are there interest rates attached to the liens?  Let people know when the project is coming back.   Put an extra charge of $100 a month on our bills to help pay. 
  6. Richard Eaton – last meeting Mr. Rollo said the fault is with the county; we had to chase development, that’s a county law.  Could happen again.
  7. David Wagner – Mr. Rollo said he wanted a time period.  Legally the current board should give their intention not to bring this up for many years.  Some members may not be here, but some may.  Don’t know if you can do that.  As for the environment, the Key could use sewers.
  8. Joyce Keefe – Know that septic systems can fail, and down the road when it fails I hope I can hook up to the sewer system.  Your concerns are the same as mine; I don’t’ want it coming back and back.  You finance it bring it to us and then tell us what it cost.
  9. Mike Trzaska – object to being assessed for a CIP for a private entity.  That needs to be changed and I’ll work towards that end. 
  10. David Bulliett – many questions answered.    The difficulty with the proposal is clear.  There needs to be a desire on the part of the people.  You have clear and good reasons, expand the District.  If there were definite costs could support; problem is the unknown.  Suggestion – the board should try to bring together a better sell.  Put out the facts.  Have everyone pay $1/day for the next year and we have $5M. 
  11. Jim Brown – take seriously what you’ve heard.  There have been some good suggestions.  Water is good but we don’t want/need what was in front of us. 

Chair Samuels – we have had much discussion, much input from many people; answered questions, voted.  At this point see no reason for further discussion.

5.            ADJOURN @ 10:15

 

_____________________________
Paul F. Manke, Vice-Chair
TOPICS FOR SPECIAL MEETING
1.            THOMAS AND MARIA STREETS explain why EWD skipped over Thomas and Maria Streets when installing V-7. Requests from customers on Fossil Street resulted in a change order.  Fossil had poor drainage and failing septic systems.  Residents attended many meetings and asked for a change to the project to include their properties.  The Board agreed to that request and to another at the corner of Heasley & 6th.
2.            SHORTFALL IN REVENUES AND RESERVES – the District does NOT have a shortfall in our revenues or reserves.  The Capital Budget and Operating Budgets are separate.  EWD is very financially sound, as audits reflect.   We have approximately $12M in reserves with $7.5M of that being restricted.  That leaves about $5M for projects, to stabilize rates and to meet our expenses.   Because of growth authorized by the Counties we shifted to expand the treatment plant; we are now coming back to complete.  There are many other projects we can spend money on.  This project is not needed to cover any perceived shortfall.
3.            V9 A&B BEFORE THE KEY – explain why we are “skipping” over Manasota Key and moved to the V9 A&B areas first.  A Master Plan was developed and an analysis completed.  The Board and engineers selected the vacuum system method of collection and also designated some A areas that may be vacuum or another method of collection.  The Vs were done first because they were most cost effective; high density.  Not skipping Manasota Key; it’s an A area and we will get to those after V9 is complete.  In 94 there were about 20 small plants throughout and it was a goal of the Board to eliminate them.  When the line went to Fossil we eliminated the Manasota Beach Gardens Plant.  13,169 connections since 1994; this will add another 533.
4.            GRANTS – Mr. Linden – attended two workshops for utilities.  Florida DEP took the states stimulus funds and put them in the State Revolving Fund.  They are low-interest loans and would not change the cost of this project in any manner.  Road projects in the counties got stimulus funds and also at Manasota Beach; those are FDOT projects and they do not cover utility projects.  USDA funds and grants are available only to small communities (<10,000) and those with acute public health concerns.  Also must be low income, economically disadvantaged.  Received e-mails from residents about a Citrus County project.  Contacted them and was advised that their WWTP expansion was to 80% trailers area.  Their congressmen added the funds to a bill ‘pork barrel’.  Their connection fees are about $10,000 but were lowered to $3000.  Again, an economically disadvantaged area; not stimulus funds.  It takes about 2.5 years from first approach to get an ‘earmark’ thru congress.
5.            HARDSHIP – there are 2 programs; one thru Sarasota County where you apply to the Housing & Community Development Dept. If they have funds they will pay us on your behalf; you pay it back to them over 30 years at 6% or when the house sells.  If you are not eligible or they have no funds, you bring their paperwork back to us for review.  We pay everything and put a lien on the property until you sell or remortgage.
6.            LOW BID SAVINGS – we have an engineers’ estimate right now; until we get bids we don’t know the real cost.  We know it should be lower.  The Board can pass that savings on to you; but we don’t know what it is right now.  It’s done at the end or close to the end of construction. 
7.            SIGN UP & SAVE PROGRAM – Began 1996, residents could participate in the program and experience a savings; 94 residents in your area are still in the program.  They will pay only $5817;
8.            SUBSIDY AND THE COST OF DELAYING THE PROJECT – We recognize there is a depression; we tried to make this affordable.  $8000 is expensive; it’s worse in other areas.  We’re proposing no interest; other areas paid 7- 8% over 5 years.   Most important, in V 1 thru V 8 the cost was only the collection system.  After completion there was a fee due on connection about $2000.  In your case, the connection fee is being absorbed by EWD.  Mr. Cole explained how bids are developed and reviewed.  Estimates are usually high.  The project is normally awarded to the low bidder.  We can’t give you a low-ball cost and come back for more.  Something always happens in construction work. 
 9.           CUSTOMER PLUMBER COST – Plumber – $13.00 / ft. average + crushing the tank about $400-$600.
10.          EARLY PAYMENT– process for submission to the tax roll starts in June; trim notices July 15th, final roll is September 1 to remove anyone who has paid the assessment in full.  The date in the original letter was attempting to meet the trim notice so this would not appear on the trim notice if already paid.
11.          LIENS – a special assessment lien is submitted to the County, along with a list of properties.  The lien is just like your taxes; not a debt.  Some mortgage companies will require it be paid off if you re-mortgage.  State law requires us to file the liens as part of the assessment process.  We don’t file individual liens on each property; we send a list to the County Clerk.  That makes sure that a buyer is aware.  Attorney Berntsson added that in this manner 3rd parties are on notice of the lien.  If a bank wants to loan money; if someone wants to purchase.  If there were no lien an unsuspecting buyer could have a problem.