The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the North Springs Improvement District was held Thursday, February 5, 2004 at 4:00 p.m. in the District Office, 10300 N. W. 11 Manor, Coral Springs, Florida.


            Present and constituting a quorum were:


            Matt Lauritzen                                      President

            Salvatore J. Mendolia                          Secretary

            Bob Miner                                               Supervisor


            Also present were:


            Rich Hans                                               District Staff

            Dennis Lyles                                          Attorney

            Ronald F. Bendekovic                          Billing, Cochran, Heath, Lyles & Mauro

            Jane Early                                              Gee & Jenson

            Donna Holiday                                      Recording Secretary

            Roger Moore                                           District Staff

            Bill Joyce                                                District Staff

            Dan Daly                                                 District Staff


FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS             Roll Call

            Mr. Lauritzen called the meeting to order, and Mr. Hans called the roll.


SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS         Approval of the Minutes of the January 8, 2004 Meeting

            Mr. Lauritzen stated that each Board member had received a copy of the minutes of the January 8, 2004 meeting and requested any additions, corrections or deletions.

            There not being any,


On MOTION by Mr. Mendolia seconded by Mr. Lauritzen with all in favor the minutes of the January 8, 2004 meeting were approved as submitted.


            Mr. Lyles introduced Mr. Bendekovic to the Board and stated Mr. Bendekovic is my associate and will be assisting me with some of the Districts going forward.  I invited him to today’s proceedings to see how things are done.




THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS            Consideration of Changer Order No. 9 with Florida Sewer and Water, Inc. for the Heron Bay East Pod 5 Heron Run Drive Phase II Contract for a Net Increase of $7,426.38

          Ms. Early stated Change Order No. 9 was a cost of WCI.  Ms. Early outlined the items contained in the change order and recommended approval.


On MOTION by Mr. Miner seconded by Mr. Lauritzen with all in favor Change Order No. 9 with Florida Sewer and Water, Inc. for the Heron Bay East Pod 5 Heron Run Drive Phase II Contract for a net increase of $7,426.38 was approved.


FOURTH ORDER OF BUSINESS        Consideration of Permit Requests

          A.      Ironstone Bank in Coral Springs Out Parcel 2 of Site Location at Intersection of Westview Drive and Coral Ridge Drive Connection to Existing Stormwater Collection System

          B.      Osprey Trail Drainage Outfall into C-2 Canal

            Ms. Early stated both of these permits are typical surface water permit reviews that we do for anything that is going into the District stormwater system.


On MOTION by Mr. Mendolia seconded by Mr. Lauritzen with all in favor the permit request for the Ironstone Bank in Coral Springs and the permit request for the Osprey Trail drainage outfall into C-2 Canal were approved subject to the conditions listed in the engineer’s review letter.


FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS            Authorization to Notice a Public Hearing to Consider the Imposition of Certain Fees to Include but not Limited to Late Fees on Utility Bills and Administrative Fees

            Mr. Hans stated we have been reviewing our fees that we charge for certain items to ensure we are covering our costs.  Our current fee for the review of drainage permits is $150.  I have a summary of last fiscal year’s fees and our cost to review permits.  The average cost is approximately $400 for reviewing these permits.  Our proposal is to increase our rate to $350 with the provision that additional fees and/or time will be chargeable to the applicant.

            Mr. Lauritzen asked do we have to notice a public hearing?

            Mr. Lyles responded as part of our special act, we can adopt these sorts of fees and charges but in order to do that, we have to publish a notice in a newspaper and hold a public hearing.  I have already worked with Ms. Holiday to prepare the notice of public hearing for the next meeting.  At that point, the Board will have a discussion and decide whether to adopt the fee schedule as proposed, modified or vote it down.  At this point, we need the Board’s authorization to go forward with the notification.  If the Board has any direction for staff at this time, we can modify the notice and notice the proposed changes now.

            Mr. Hans stated we also looked at what we charge for late water bills.  I have a review of what we are doing and where we are because they may need to be adjusted at the same time.  This would be the appropriate time to take a look at this.

            Mr. Lauritzen asked is this something that all of the Districts are doing together?

            Mr. Hans responded this is something that NSID is doing.  Pine Tree has changed their policy slightly.  It will also be presented to the Coral Springs improvement District as well.

            Mr. Mendolia asked is this something that will be changed each year, or will it be permanent until there is a need to change it?

            Mr. Hans responded the $150 permit fee has been in place for the life of the District.  Fees have increased since then, and we are no longer covering our costs.

            This item has to do with our water billing.  Out of the 9,400 bills that go out each month, 58% of them are 15 days past due.  By the end of the month, it is down to 24%.  If the bill is late three months, we notify the resident by posting a door hanger notice that their service will be cut off at a certain time.   On average, we usually have to turn the water off to 35 people.  We do not have any late fees or penalties in our current fee structure for delinquent payments or processing fees for new accounts.  We do not have a fee to check for liens when there is an estoppel request.  We collect a $65 deposit, which we hold indefinitely because there is no return policy at this time.  If a homeowner is disconnected because they received a door hanger, the fee is $10.  We charge an additional $10 if they pay after 4:00 p.m. that same day, and $10 for returned checks.  The City of Coral Springs uses 1% of their bill for a late fee but in our case, the fee would only be 50 cents since the average bill is only $40 or $50.  This will not discourage anyone from waiting another month or two to pay their bill.  Our proposal is to add a $20 late fee at the time the door hanger is hung.  The same-day $10 reconnection fee will remain the same as well as the additional $10 fee for payments made after 4:00 p.m.  Another issue is to increase our deposit.  Since the average bill is $50 and we let them go two months, we should have at least a $100 deposit.  Currently, we do not charge for meter readings when there is a change of ownership or if the homeowner wants verification on a reading.  A $20 processing fee would cover this cost.  The city also has a $20 fee for this type of service.

            Mr. Lauritzen stated it seems reasonable to me.  You would probably cut that 24% figure in half.

            Mr. Hans stated approximately 450 people get a door hanger each month.  These are repeat people who know the system.  After they get a $20 late fee the first time, half of them will probably pay the next month.

            Mr. Lauritzen stated that is a big expense.  That is time that could be spent doing other work.

            Mr. Daly stated it takes two people two days to hang notices.  We feel that we can decrease the door hangers if we impose late charges.  In addition, checks bounce.  This is not fair to the people who pay their bills on time, which is why we are considering returning deposits to the residents who pay on time after 18 months.

            Mr. Lauritzen asked is there something we can do about the chronic offenders?  It is costing the District money, and it is not fair to the other people.

            Mr. Daly responded we trained them that nothing will happen if they do not pay on time.  The $20 late fee will help.  We will require a cashier’s check from people who bounced three checks in a year.  We also provide ACH debit free of charge and in another few months, we should have credit card payments over the Internet.

            Mr. Miner asked can you charge the people who pay by credit card a service fee?

            Mr. Daly responded we can but that also penalizes the person who pays his/her bill on time.

            Mr. Miner asked what does it cost the District if someone uses a credit card?

            Mr. Daly responded 2.3% for Visa/MasterCard and 3% for the gateway we use so it ends up at approximately 4% to 5%.

            Mr. Miner asked can you charge them 5% above and beyond to cover our cost?

            Mr. Daly responded yes, but you will be penalizing the person paying their bill on time.  The point is the people who pay late should be funding the people who pay on time.  This is why it is a reward to the people who pay us and use the system that we will put in place with regard to the credit cards, but it is also paying attention to people who get away with no penalty charges.  That could fund the costs that are involved in the credit card system.

            Mr. Mendolia stated the proposal looks good except for the return check.  I think the fee should be higher than $20.

            Mr. Lauritzen stated I agree.

            Mr. Hans stated the city charges $25 for checks up to $50; $30 for checks in the amount of  $50 to $300; $40 for checks in the amount of $300 to $500; and $50 for checks over $500.  Does the Board want to use this structure?

            The Board voiced their agreement.

            Mr. Lyles stated we are going to have a public hearing on this.


On MOTION by Mr. Mendolia seconded by Mr. Lauritzen with all in favor staff was authorized to notice a public hearing to consider the imposition of certain fees for the review of permits and plats and the utility system.


SIXTH ORDER OF BUSINESS            Staff Reports

          A.    Attorney

            Mr. Lyles stated I have been contacted by the governor’s office in the past week.  They are reviewing the manner in which Supervisors are elected.  Obviously, something is going on in Tallahassee regarding legislation because they wanted to confirm with me how Supervisors are currently elected.  As you know, Representative Ritter is going to pursue an amendment to Chapter 189 to change the way all Special District Supervisors are elected.  They are making some minor tweaks to our codification bill at legislative drafting.  The staff there wants to make a few minor changes that do not substantively affect anything that we do, and I have indicated no objection so we are still on the path that we set out on, and we should have our codification bill with or without an amendment regarding elections approved by the legislature this time around.

            Mr. Hans stated another District in Palm Beach County received the same inquiry.  Activity is definitely going on.

            Mr. Lyles stated that means this is an amendment to Chapter 189; not a specific amendment to our special act that would solely cover NSID or CSID.




          B.    Engineer

            Ms. Early stated we currently have a few projects going on in Heron Bay North.  We are under construction on Osprey Trail.  WCI has had under design Creekside and Meadowbrook.  Due to time constraints because of the time it took the design as well as there were some environmental issues, WCI wants to change order these two projects into the Florida Sewer and Water Contract for Osprey Trail.  Florida Sewer and Water has done most of the work since they were the low bidder on every bid that we have done.  We’ve only had a few bidders recently because many people are complaining about the constraints that they have working in Parkland.  Florida Sewer and Water would be the low bid anyway.  They have agreed to extend any line items in this project to these projects.  It will be a change order, which I will bring to the next meeting.  Mr. Lyles, Ms. Holiday and I had discussions and decided to bring this up for discussion rather than trying to put the change orders through.  The NSID portion of Meadowbrook is $216,000 and the WCI portion is $396,000.  For Creekside, which is the northern subdivision, the NSID portion is $419,000 and the WCI portion is $860,000.  WCI pays for all the paving and drainage and the District in a funding agreement with WCI, pays for the water and sewer portion.  The original NSID portion of this contract was $636,000, which is why Mr. Lyles thought it would be wise to have a discussion because it is a large number.

            The other project is the earthwork project for all of this.  We bid the north half and Triple R was the low bid.  Triple R is doing all of the Parkland work and have been the low bid in all the lakes that were done in Heron Bay.  That being said, WCI wants to continue moving on these lakes.  Rather than bidding it and having Triple R being the most probable low bidder anyway, Triple R agreed to extend the same prices out.  The original contract for Triple R was $2,287,000.  The original amount of the District’s portion of that first project was $800,798, and the NSID portion of the additional is $530,000.  The total change order amount is $4,265,000 but as I said, the NSID portion is only $530,000, but it is a tri-party funding agreement.  Therefore, Ms. Holiday would have to do amendments to these funding agreements that currently exist.

            Mr. Lauritzen asked are you sure you do not want to rebid this project?  Is this allowed?

            Ms. Early responded the problem with rebidding is it takes 30 days.  We did the same thing in Heron Bay East.  We change ordered Heron Cove and the Greens because of the permitting issues and the time constraints that came up.

            Mr. Lauritzen asked is it your opinion that there are no other active bidders that want to get in the bidding process?

            Ms. Early responded the only other person that is working out here is Astaldi Construction, and they cannot keep up with the three projects that they have.  We meet with them weekly.  University Drive has been going on for months and should have been done in September.  Central Florida was the other bidder, and they were well above Astaldi’s and Florida Sewer and Water’s recent bids.  I talked Mr. Dyess earlier and explained these concerns and he said he needs to get these jobs done.  The other option is to have an acquisition agreement.

            Mr. Lyles stated an acquisition agreement is an agreement between the District and WCI whereby they will fund the construction and get it done on their basis.  We have not issued bonds yet for any of this work.  We do not have money to pay for it right now.

            Ms. Early stated I do not think all of this is paid from bonds; just the earthwork.  The water and sewer is paid back on connection charges going forward.  In the funding agreements, they have to wait up to ten years to get their part back.  The acquisition agreement is the same thing, which is why he questioned the difference.

            Mr. Lyles stated they would do it all through their contracts with these or other contractors, and they would convey it to the District when it is complete and ready to accept, and we would agree through this acquisition agreement to pay a price to the developer for the improvements that would be certified by the engineer as the lesser of fair market or what it actually cost them to do it essentially.  This is one option that we have that would save WCI time and everybody money.  Our problem is we have competitive bidding requirements that are imposed on us by state law and by our own act, and we want to make sure that we comply with those things before we go forward.  We will either bring back to you a change order or an acquisition agreement.  If we decide we have to bid it, we will put the notice in and get the bid process going and we might have to postpone the meeting.

            Ms. Early stated they want to get moving on this project.

            Mr. Lyles stated I understand that, but we may not have an option.

            Ms. Early asked what is the difference between an acquisition agreement and a funding agreement?  They are both being funded by WCI currently.  They are both paid up front by WCI either way; funding agreement or acquisition agreement.

            Mr. Lyles responded the difference is with an acquisition agreement, we will not be a party to the agreement with the contractor.  What we currently have is a contract we are a party to that we would be entering into a change order on.  If WCI wants to do it with the acquisition route, they will sign a contract; the District won’t, and it will not be a change order.  It will be a new contract, and we will acquire a completed improvement at a later date.  That may the quickest, easiest, cheapest way for all the parties to get this problem solved.

            Mr. Lauritzen stated the District wants to work with WCI, but we have to do it right.

            Mr. Lyles stated I want to look at the documents that are in place to see what was in the original bid package to see what potential is there for a change order.  It is somewhat dependent upon what language was used, and I do not have that to look at yet, but I will get together with Ms. Early, and we will figure it out and do it the quickest way that it can be done.

            Mr. Mendolia stated most likely no one will give a lower bid.

            Mr. Lyles stated the risk that you run is you put it out for bid and not only do we not have a lot of bidders, but the current contractor raises his price because now he knows he is the only game in town.

            Ms. Early stated they asked me if they can raise their price on an existing item but I said no because it is stated in the contract.  However, they can extend out a unit cost up to 25%.  They understand that in order to do a change order, they have to keep that price.  However, prices are increasing.

            Mr. Lyles stated it is in the District’s financial interest to do it through a change order because they are holding the unit prices to the original project.  We will have something for the Board at the next meeting, and I will do the best I can.

            Ms. Early stated I have Work Authorization No. 118, which is for a design of a 4-acre lake.  It will require a funding agreement, which Ms. Holiday has prepared.


On MOTION by Mr. Mendolia seconded by Mr. Lauritzen with all in favor Work Authorization No. 118 for the preparation of construction drawings for the excavation of four acres of lakes, drainage ways and temporary connection and the funding agreement were approved.


          C.    Superintendent

            There not being any, the next item followed.

          D.    Complaints 

            There not being any, the next item followed.


SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS      Supervisors Requests and Audience Comments

            Mr. Joyce stated we finally got the Certificate of Occupancy for NSID plant site, and the furniture was delivered today.  The only thing left to get the Certificate of Occupancy is the booster station.  The generator building, wells, administrative building and plant are done.


EIGHTH ORDER OF BUSINESS         Approval of Invoices


On MOTION by Mr. Mendolia seconded by Mr. Lauritzen with all in favor the invoices were approved.


            There being nothing further,


On MOTION by Mr. Miner seconded by Mr. Lauritzen with all in favor the meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m.










Salvatore J. Mendolia                                            Matt Lauritzen

Secretary                                                                  President