January 22, 2010 Minutes

MINUTES
PUBLIC HEARING
ENGLEWOOD WATER DISTRICT BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
SUNCOAST AUDITORIUM
700 MEDICAL BLVD., ENGLEWOOD, FL 34223
JANUARY 22, 2010 @ 6:00 P.M.

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

Staff:
Richard L. Rollo, PE – Administrator
Michael J. Ray – Deputy Administrator
Robert Berntsson – District Counsel
Maureen A. Cronk – Administrative Assistant

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

Chair Samuels addressed the audience, outlining the process and procedure for the evening.  He noted that all written correspondence has been copied and distributed to each Board Member.  He advised that after all who wish to address the Board have spoken, the hearing will be closed and the meeting adjourned.  He then introduced the Board Members, Staff and District Counsel.

2.            STAFF PRESENTATION TO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
                a.            Michael J. Ray, Deputy Administrator introduced the presenters for the evening.  Jay Linden, EWD Technical Support Manager will provide a history of the project; Jonathan Cole, Giffels-Webster Engineers, will address the technical aspects of construction and how the estimates were developed, and Sonia Zoeller, EWD Finance Director will address the anticipated costs and financing options.
                b.            Jarl “Jay” D. Linden, PE, Technical Support Manager – Using slides from the presentation document, (attached) reviewed the history of the sewer project from 1994.  Slides showed the existing force main, and streets that are connected along Heasley and Fossil, terminating at Manasota Beach Gardens.   At this time 82% of all EWD water customers are connected to the central sewer system; upon completion of V9 A & B, sewer will be available to 85%.  He noted that the project includes some minor water system upgrades (9 hydrants), the cost of which is not included in the cost.

                c.             Jonathan Cole, PE, Giffels-Webster Engineers, Inc. – using slides from the presentation document (#6 thru #13), reviewed the physical components of the system and how they interact.  Transmission, treatment and disposal costs are also borne by customers, but only the collection system will be discussed tonight.  The entire project is filmed before construction starts to have a record in the event there is a claim for repair.  Restoration will be equal to or better than prior to construction.  The cost of construction does not include connecting the individual homes, or abandonment of the septic system.  He then explained how the estimate is determined, using quantity take off and prices from similar projects, adding in easement procurement, design, permitting and inspection services, and miscellaneous administrative expenses.  The total project is estimated at $4.2M.

                d.            Sonia Zoeller, EWD Finance Director – using slides from the presentation package, Ms. Zoeller reviewed the anticipated cost of the project ($5.7M) the anticipated revenue to be collected from property owners ($4.6M), and the shortfall ($1.09M) that will be paid from District Reserves.  On a per property basis, each will be subsidized by approximately $2,053.  She continued using slides showing 7 payment options ranging from 6 years with no interest, to 15 years with 5% interest, and the affect of each on the property owner and District Reserves.  Graphs accompanied the presentation noting the $7.5M minimum Reserve imposed by the existing bond holder.

(presentation concluded @ 6:41 p.m.)

Chair Samuels asked if any Board Member had questions for staff.  Hearing none,

M moved, “to open the public hearing” Seconded by M
Unanimous                                                                                                         10-01-22 PH-A

1)            Martha Eaton, 1660 Thomas Street (460-0996) – years ago Thomas Street was supposed to get sewer but was jumped over to go to Fossil.  Now we’re expected to pay $1,000 more.  It’s unfair; we were willing then.  Costs have gone up; pensions and social security have not.  We’re struggling over the economy.  If you have a conscience you’ll think about the people. Not the time to take on a project.  

2)            Joyce Mulligan, 1694 Thomas Street (473-1156) – If we had said we needed sewer on Thomas Street we would have gotten it when it was $3000 less.  Now it’s more.  In June 09 a new neighbor had to put in a septic; was told you didn’t know when sewer would come thru.  Everyone is hurting; it’s the wrong time.  Not against sewers; against liens.  If you’re current (with taxes) and take it for 6 years don’t see why there should be a lien on the property.  People will lose their properties if there is a lien.  They should say 50% up front and 50% when the work is done.  They do intend to pay; they don’t intend to stick the water dept.

3)            JoAnn Friedell, 1630 Maria Street (475-6524) – This is not the time to ask for $8600.  Home values have tanked.  Unemployment is over 10%.  Those on Social Security got no raises; no raises on pensions; money in savings and CD’s aren’t getting any interest.  Don’t think the people can handle any more.  2nd – 3 yrs ago you were in the area at $5500.  I’m on Maria Street; said please bring it.  You said no, you had other priorities.  Said would not see sewers for several years; I put in a new drainage field.  Everything else is cheaper, houses, goods etc.  This is 60% more.  Can’t imagine using values from 2005.  Advance pay within 120 days?  We have never had a lien on our properties; it’s not right.  Sincerely ask you to put this off and think about growth when we are experiencing growth.

4)            Richard Eaton, 1660 Thomas Street (460-0996) – have we had bids on the project?  There’s n0 mention of any state, county or federal funds; why not?  You left us, we didn’t jump.  Are you going to jump us again and add another 60%?  If you’re coming thru I’d like a guarantee for the next 1-2-50 years down the road.  And why only 6 yrs; usually there is a bond with 15-20 years.  It’s a lot of money in a short time.  You should have a benefit study.  Everyone should understand why it is necessary to put in sewers and eliminate the septic tanks. 

5)            Constance Rosenburger, 1600 Thomas Street, (475-8781) – Objecting to the fact that you skipped us, the price is raised $3000 which is not easy to come by.  Stop and think about what you’re doing.  If you can find it in your budget to compensate us for the difference you wouldn’t have these problems.  I’m in accord with the preceding speakers and most of the audience feels that way.  It’s not an easy decision for you; it’s also a big decision on our part.

6)            Roxane Mateja, 1763 Belvidere Road, (492-4270) – If the sewers are passed, we have to pay.  But if we choose not to connect will we have a monthly fee?  We have no choice?  That doesn’t seem fair.  Not in favor to begin with.  Having sewers, will that increase taxes?

7)            Muriel Glaim –1691 Thomas Street (475-4607) – 3 yrs ago I heard not one complaint.  All the neighbors were ok.  Now it’s $3900 more and we can’t afford it.  Why is everything else going down?  Construction costs are going down.  Since 2005 things are going down so you’re not giving us a good deal.  (2) Why us?  Most of the homes are fairly new; septic tanks working beautifully; Hear tons about Manasota Key hurting the Gulf.  At a motel on the Key sign says ‘please use water with caution and care, our septic is extremely fragile’.  They don’t have sewers.  Why us? 

8)            Charles De Hayes, 2540 Alamander Ave.  – You have gone ahead and taken it on yourselves to put in something very necessary.  We all know that.  One day it will change but the way you’ve done it, it’s asinine.  I can only get angrier.  Don’t like the way it is being presented.  Retired with only so much money.

9)            Jim Matthews for father-in- law Neal Perouty, 2765 Alamander – agree this is not the time.  oHow does the Sign up & Save program offset the $8642?  Is there an estimate on the plumber hookup? If we pay the $8642 now, when can we expect it to be available on Alamander?  What about sprinkler systems?

10)          Dave Wagner, 1722 Fessler Street (473-1416) – costs are outrageous and have gone up so much.  Increase on the water/sewer bill sewer twice as much.  Swimming pool fill up will be paid on sewer.  Don’t think we need this project.   Large lots single family homes; septics work.  Would like to know maintenance costs down the road.   Sewers are partly responsible for a cleaner bay; true in some areas of Englewood.  Our area they are not necessary; the Key being the Key, septic systems don’t work but are not a priority.  Appreciate letting us talk.  Against the project.  Don’t need it.

11)          Dave Lewis, 1720 Shell Drive (493-6801) – have the requirements for the system changed over the last 3 years and if so what are the additional requirements and how does that account for the additional dollars?

12)          George Eberly, 1760 Gale Street (681-2889) – pass

13)          Dorian Popescu, 1720 Hudson Street, (474-2973) – moved to FL 20+ years ago and picked this coast because I love the clear unpolluted water.  Think that’s what the sewers will do.  Urge you to put sewer on Manasota Key too.  I am for the project just because it helps the bay.  Many neighbors walk to the beach and see the pollution; would like the water to get cleaner.

14)          Charles Rock, 1736 Gale (475-7548) – don’t object to sewers, object to your timing.  I am in the construction business and the comments on costs going up since 2005? – I’d like in on that project.  Haven’t been able to raise prices since then, and they have gone down 25%. 
15)          Peter Buchardt, 2190 Alamander (408-4491) – good presentation.  Still disagree that the sewer is needed.  The economic situation isn’t good.  Many projects, businesses have a moratorium; this should also be a moratorium.  Hold off, make smarter decisions.  What about stimulus money, funds from the state or feds. You said you tried; try again.  Keep trying because you’re trying to force this down our throats.  Congratulations to Mr. Rollo for reaching retirement; you need to let the new director assess this whole thing.  Heard that runoff into Lemon Bay is stormwater.   How much more do you think these people can handle; you may be the straw that breaks the camels back.  If you have a major storm and you’re shut down where does the sewer go?

16)          Ronald Wile, 1710 Fessler Street (475-7385) – have been paying since 95 (Sign Up & Save); I’m 1 house from the line on Manasota Beach Road.  Couldn’t get it 3 yrs ago. I could have made more than this in a bank.

17)          Mike Trzaska, 1592 Maria Street (475-7252) – don’t object; oppose you forcing me to pay for something I don’t need or want or can’t afford.  Not only the construction but the monthly bill.  Ludicrous for you to expect us to pay for something we don’t have.

18)          John Marshall, 2460 Alamander Avenue (475-2096) – 6 yr resident.  Until a neighbor put a notice on the door I didn’t know it had been approved.  Not enough publication to let us know.  We’re middle class, pay our bills and taxes.  Timing is bad.  Putting this cash out is a surprise and a major burden.    Why haven’t you gotten any money from the government?  Why do we need sewers?

19)          Linda Aguilar, 1719 Gale Street (460-0356) – when will it start and end?

20)          James Hunter – 1716 Fessler Street (597-7117) – I am a Professional appraiser and professional engineer.  This project is not needed.  The values in the community have dropped almost 50% and you’re going to add $8900 and the plumber; very expensive to connect.  I also deal with the septic systems; looking at $15,000 not$ 8900.  You’re going to have people not able to pay.  What happens to your line when it goes below the reserve?  You have a responsibility of this organization and if this crashes where are we?  I think this could be put off.  If the market was going up, the cost would not be considered erroneous.  Sewers would make it more marketable, but nothing is selling. 

21)          Paul Phillips, 740 Summersea Ct. (474-1250) – Congratulations to Mr. Rollo on retirement, and Mr. Ray with his outstanding work and for the future of the water district.  I have heard excuses for not putting in the sewer, not reasons.  Much of the discussion says it cost too much; nothing is going to be cheaper in a few years to put in sewer.  In 1995 when project started they said it was too much; hasn’t gone down since.  The next will be higher.  When the next project happens the subsidy from EWD will not be there.  I hear it is not the right time – there is never a bad time to protect the environment.   Sewerage in your septic is running on the ground, if EWD handles it, it goes to a central plant, 100% treated and processed.  Meets secondary drinking water standards

22)          Andrew Merve – 2390 Lemon Avenue – dirt road.  Moved here 10 years ago; the price is too high.   With increased costs in medicine and insurance this is making it very difficult.  We were supposed to have sewers in 2001. We haven’t seen it and we don’t want it.

23)          James Allbrook, 1661 Maria Street (475-1716) – listened tonight.  Last board meeting Mr. Rollo said we were a financially stable area and you were not going to V10 because they were not.  Don’t understand.
24)          Andrew Cannon, 2440 Lemon Avenue (460-9990) – the letter turned presents the project as a done deal.  There isn’t anything that says this is up for discussion.  Point 6 – ‘failure to pay  … loss of title’; pretty heavy stuff.  Very serious financial territory.  You’re going to put a lot of these people out of their homes.  You have a responsibility to these people; to present as done deal is an unmitigated disgrace.

25)          Burgie Wahner, 1760 Fessler Street (473-1098) – New house in 2007.  Asked about sewer hookup and was told a long time off.  Spent $8000 for new system because that’s all there is.  The builder gave a discount at that time, when the economy was not as bad as today.  You have an estimate; you haven’t done your homework.  Everything has gone down.  Come back with numbers we can believe.  Not the time to ask people to replace what’s not broken.  We live in a community of single family homes on large lots. Not the problems you’re indicating.  Reconsider the timing; do your homework again for realistic costs.

26)          James Skerske, 1714 Hudson Street (473-7030) – built an addition to my home last year.  Because of a bath room had to upgrade system for $10,000.  Water levels were checked and added a leach field at $2500; don’t suppose I’ll get any back.  My system working great and your proposal I don’t need or want.

27)          Kathleen Winder, 1759 Hudson Street (475-0531) – 31 year old house and septic.  Told in 2005 it would be any day; 2001 said 2 years.  We’ve made financial decisions and now it’s right now, no warning.  If it’s not now when.  I’m going to need a new system.  Letter was a shock; too cold.  Self-employed, husband works but income is fixed like everyone else.  Need more time to plan and budget.  Limping along with the septic system.  No problems but…

28)          John S. Lechaton, 1771 7th Street (473-9146) working teacher with young family.  If this project was managed correctly we wouldn’t be here, because they were planned for.   Raising rates means $1.  Go back, admit it was mismanaged and raise our rates $1.00.

29)          Caroline McCoy, 2710 Manasota Beach Road (473-4133) – one of the oldest houses.  Proud of EWD and the affordability of water.  Concerned about the democratic process being conducted.  Facing $850 monthly health insurance bills; struggle every month to pay bills on time.  People say you won’t listen.  Can’t afford $60 more a month will be very difficult.  Work hard and can’t afford it.  Was ready to pay 3 years ago but can’t do it now.

30)          Kathie Messina, 6870 Manasota Key Road (475-0317) – EWD has been pushing for sewers on Manasota Key for a long time.  Makes it look like the rich should be attacked for living there.  It’s ridiculous to put in grinder pumps that will seize up and spill into the bathrooms, toilets will erupt and you’re stuck with a mess.   You haven’t proven there’s pollution. 

31)          Frank Roeske, 2048 Larson Street (473-2883) – Moved from Alamander and still own it because couldn’t sell.  Significance is I own 2 houses and it’s going to cost me $17,000 plus, new septic put in and I’ll be wasting that.  Don’t think we need it.  Question the numbers; suggest you back off, try to get other funding separate from sticking it to the homeowners to make it reasonable to pay.

32)          Bob O’Donnell, 1681 Thomas Street (474-4130) – think we are looking at a done deal.  We’re all against it but think you’ll push it thru.  We’re wasting our time.  It’s a big project, no question.  Timing is terrible.  How many liens do you already have?

33)          Gladys Varga, 1681 5th Street (474-20505) – wonderful points made.  Thanks for the opportunity to speak.  Checked in the past and were told no prepayment, sewers a long way away.  You don’t have a true picture of our area; on the brink of foreclosure for 13 months and just got a payment we can afford; now you’re going to add more.  You will be the straw that puts us out of our house.  Cost is outrageous.  Need to prove the costs.  If we can’t afford and we can’t get loans, where are you going to get the money?  Be a community and take advantage of state and federal funds.

34)          Marty Surak, 1730 Padre Lane (662-0069) – What is the effect of the loan on credit? (written question)

35)          Linda Martell, 1725 Hudson Street – at the beginning of the presentation you said people from another V area asked for sewers.  People in my neighborhood didn’t ask and don’t want and don’t need.  Our septics do work.  What benefit does a public works project bring to homeowners; none.  Initial cost is not a benefit, hookup not a benefit, increase in bill not a benefit.  There’s no benefit for us.  Have to ask who will benefit.  Are there studies that show that our septic systems are polluting?  Don’t’ think so.  Who needs the sewers?  Future development commercial and heavier residential in the area?  Please don’t force us to have a system that we don’t want and we can’t afford.

36)          John Novotny, 2630 Alamander Avenue (475-5794) – relevant questions to be answered and waiting for the answers to those important questions.  Justify this development; prove these costs are indeed the lowest possible bids; is this the only way, these 3-4-5 wavy charts? There must be other ways to finance.  Whether from the state or feds we should know and what steps were taken to find alternative financing.

There being no other residents wishing to be heard,

Mr. Meals moved, “to close the public hearing” Seconded by Ms. Wright

Motion passed 4/1 (Crampton)

Chair Samuels thanked the audience for their comments, stating, “we have a lot to think about”.   He then asked Staff and Engineer to respond to questions they had noted.

Jon Cole addressed how the costs were developed. 
                Average to high average of previous, recent experience. 
                Bids are advertised only after the project has been approved by the Board of Supervisors. 
                Plumber hookup – depending on the distance from your tank to the pit it’s about $13/ft.  and $550 to pump, crush and fill.  Rough estimate is $1500.  Experience in Sarasota County.
                Sprinkler systems – if the sprinkler is in the r-o-w and it’s hit, and you have a County Permit for its installation, we will fix it.  If the system was not permitted by the County, we cut and cap the line.  It’s then your responsibility to reconnect. 
Have requirements changed? – No.  FDEP regulations are the same
Plans – available in the back of the auditorium.  V9A have been available more than a year.  9B were completed to 90% a few weeks ago.  They can be further modified if we go forward.
Major catastrophe – We have generators, pump trucks.  EWD is quite adept at handling situation.

Jay Linden
Time Line – V9A November 2010 about 6 month project; V9B  March 2012, again 6 months.
Grants – attended 2 meetings this year on stimulus funds.  Florida acquired the funds from the Feds.  DEP handles them thru the State Revolving Fund; they are loans, not grants.   Other meeting in West Palm.  Rural Development grants need to be economically disadvantaged according to census; EWD area does not qualify.  They also require an acute public health risk.  Most grants are for water systems.

Sonia Zoeller
If you don’t hook up, the base charge starts 365 days after availability. 
Sign Up & Save customers pay only $5817; not the transmission or treatment capacity.
Pool water is deducted from the sewer usage charges upon notification.
Public notices in two papers, on-line paper, public library and EWD. 
We have about 5000 liens in the V areas.

Rich Rollo thanked the audience for coming and for their comments.   It always comes down to the money.  Money’s hard.  Mankind is hard on the earth; we all make pollution.  Unfortunately sandy soils subject to flooding and close to water don’t’ work in a coastal area.   Counties are being forced to eliminate septic tanks; we can wait until they force us also, or we can be proactive in cleaning up our own mess. 

Rob Berntsson
                Until the project moves forward there are no liens on the property.  If it moves forward, there will be liens unless fee paid in advance.  The law requires liens.
                It takes a couple of days to complete the paperwork to remove a lien.

Chair Samuels asked if the Board had other questions or comments.  Hearing none he advised that the next regular meeting of the board is February 4; do not know if this matter will be discussed.   Notice of the meeting will be on the website and in newspapers.

Meeting adjourned @ 8:20 pm

 

_____________________________
Paul F. Manke, Vice-Chair
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