MINUTES OF MEETINGS
NORTH SPRINGS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the North Springs Improvement District was held on Thursday, February 3, 2005 at 4:05 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 Assistant Secretary
Also present were:
Rich Hans Manager
Dennis Lyles Attorney
Jane Early CH2M-Hill
Dan Daly Staff
Roger Moore Severn Trent Services
Jean M. Rugg Severn Trent Services
Joe Guttuso WCI
Patti Hitchcock Parkland Village
Mark Lauzier Mayor of Parkland
Michael Udine Parkland City Commissioner
Denise Goldberg Resident
Michael Hollander Resident
Gillian Walker Severn Trent Services
James F. Taylor WCI Communities, attorney
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Mr. Lauritzen called the meeting to order and called the roll.
EIGHTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Discussion Items
B. Heron Bay Commons Clubhouse Rental Policy – Parkland Commissioner Michael Udine
Commissioner Udine stated I have reviewed the documents related to the Heron Bay Commons and in reading those documents could WCI’s use of that building been allowed or permitted. The agreement provides for non-commercial use one or two times per year. If the residents wanted to use the facilities, they had to give a deposit and it was refunded after inspection of the facilities. Everyone is aware that is not the case, and WCI has been using the building improperly for a number of years, at a significant cost to the taxpayers in the District. There are some serious issues that have been raised. The number in the newspaper that WCI is prepared to pay back is $40,800. I want the Board to be aware of the different issues. If you used the number of times they used the facilities, times the amount the residents are charged, it should be your base amount they should be paying back. The Board has the duty to ensure the operating costs for the building are paid for by the residents, on top of the rental agreement. Some of the charges are ongoing no matter who uses the building—the pool still needs to be clean, the landscaping needs to be maintained, etc. There are a lot of charges the residents have been called on to pay for over the last five years that we wouldn’t had to pay if not for the improper use of the facilities by WCI. There should be an audit done by WCI at their expense to come up with a numerical percentage representing their improper use versus the amount of use by the residents; and the percentage of operating cost that should be paid back. The paying back of the room rental is not enough due to the building and its entity being a non-profit entity. We keep our rates at a certain level based on the fact that all the residents are paying for everything in the building. We, the residents, cover the rest of the expenses. The Heron Bay Marriot charges WCI much more for their meeting, as well they should, because it is a for-profit entity.
The Board should also obtain some assurances that reasonable procurement practices are in place for the building. My understanding is there have been no checks and balances by the management of the building. Good and services show up, the building manager pays it. She checks the bill, but doesn’t check to make sure the services or goods were provided or performed. I have a hard time figuring out how that passes muster with the auditors. Due to the relationships involved with the Heron Bay Community Association, which is WCI, something needs to be done to look at these issues so the residents are not stuck with extra charges.
WCI should also provide a letter, at their expense, from bond counsel that any use by them did not place in jeopardy the financing of the building. I would hate in 2019 when the residents are ready to take this facility over find out there was a breach in the financing mechanism and the residents have to come up with the difference.
Some thought needs to be given as to what to do with the money that is received. This has been going on for five years, and those residents five years ago were paying additional assessments that they should not have paid. Those few things are not unreasonable.
Also everyone I have spoken to at the District has been very forthright, open, and willing to go the extra miles to get the details and information. Your staff should be complemented.
Mr. Hollander stated I told you what was going on two years ago with WCI. This Board has not done anything. I urged this Board to remove WCI as the management company. I looked into some of the records and seen some horrible things. I handed your attorney a letter three months ago and I still cannot get the records I am looking for, specifically receipt of goods that were delivered at a high amount. Now I know WCI has been using the building 200 days of the year for six to eight hours.
Mr. Lauritzen asked did we put any of the residents out by WCI having meetings in the building they manage?
Mr. Hollander responded most definitely.
Mr. Lauritzen stated I didn’t know that.
Mr. Hollander stated when I moved in they sold me a lifestyle with the club that my children would only be able to use the club. The equipment in the building as a resident I cannot use, but WCI can, such as the overhead projector. Why do we need that?
Mr. Lauritzen stated I am not sure if this is a criminal act since we have gotten along very well with the builder and developer. It has been a nice relationship.
Mr. Hans stated to answer Commissioner Udine’s questions, we are doing an internal audit of the use of the facility to come up with the costs; and we are looking at what we paid the janitorial services to determine how much WCI owes based on the current structure of the rentals. It is a basic fixed rate of $200 per rental. WCI’s use of the rooms range from 1 hour to 3 hours and we will give them a figure to include the base rate, and see if we need to tack on the incidental costs as you were speaking of. We can also obtain bond counsel’s opinion very easily.
Mr. Hollander asked when will I be able to obtain all the documents I asked for so I can do my own audit?
Mr. Hans responded some of the documents you are requesting are not District documents. We have an agreement with the HOA to operate and run that facility. The deliveries for that facility are not coming to the District; that is part of the HOA documents. Their representative signs off on receipts and forwards it to us for processing which we have provided to you. If you need any additional year, we can do that. If we have the documents, we will get that to you. If there are any specific documents the District has that you require, we will get those to you.
Mr. Hollander stated you get an invoice from a vendor with a WCI employee signature on it and you pay the bills.
Mr. Hans stated the firm that is hired to manage the facility signs off on the bills and forwards it to us for payment. That is why there is a management company to do that. We are not involved with the day-to-day activities. It made sense for the people who live in the commons, to have a management company represented by the HOA to operate the facility.
Mr. Hollander stated in other words you do not know what is going on at the facility. It is a poor practice and it should be changed.
Mr. Lauritzen stated we appreciate all your comments.
A. District’s Involvement with the City of Parkland – Mayor Mark R. Lauzier
Mr. Hans stated they were able to obtain all the information they need from the web site.
SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of the Minutes of the January 6, 2004 Meeting
Mr. Hans stated that each Board member had received a copy of the minutes of the January 6, 2004 meeting and requested any additions, corrections or deletions.
There not being any,
THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Work Authorizations
A. CH2M Hill W.A. #138 for Engineering Services for Parkland Country Club – POD 11 Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection
B. CH2M Hill W.A. #139 for Engineering Services for Heron Bay North – Sable Point Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection
C. CH2M Hill W.A. #140 for Engineering Services for Heron Bay North – Banyan isles Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection
Ms. Early stated these work authorizations are for our typical inspections of work during completions certifying material is in place and the permits. We are currently out to bid on these work authorizations. Listed under item four are the funding agreement that go with these.
Mr. Hans stated I have the original funding agreements for your review. These are standard in nature and are what you have seen in the past.
FOURTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Agreements
A. Funding Agreement #399 with WCI for Work Authorization 138 for Design Services
B. Funding Agreement #400 with WCI for Work Authorization 139 for Design Services
C. Funding Agreement #401 with WCI for Work Authorization 140 for Design Services
Mr. Lauritzen stated these items were just discussed and relate to the Work Authorizations just approved.
[Upon the conclusion of the meeting, it was determined that Agreements #400 and #401 as listed above were not needed for the corresponding work authorizations.]
FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Change Order No. 2 with Florida Sewer and Water, Inc. for Heron Bay Northeast “The Glen” for a Net Increase of $39,003.24
Ms. Early stated this change order is for an additional cost incurred by the contractor. It is the same type of increase on the change orders last month. These costs are all WCI costs. The project was bid and by the time we started there was an increase in cost. There is a stipulation in the contract that they can only hold the costs for 90 days.
Additional Change Orders
· Change Order No. 3 with Florida Sewer and Water, Inc., for Heron Bay “The Glen”
Ms. Early stated this change order is for the modification on the entranceway to the Glen. It is a WCI cost for the roadway and drainage.
· Change Order No. 7 with Florida Sewer and Water, Inc., for Heron Bay North, Plat 1 Phase 1 “Cypress Pointe” for a Net Decrease in the Amount of $36,194.60
Ms. Early stated this change order is for the modification on the paving and drainage plans. It is a WCI cost.
Ms. Early stated at the last meeting Mr. Flavin presented these two change orders, and I discussed this with Mr. Hans. Due to timing and coordination of the projects the contactor was not able to start and these are WCI costs.
Mr. Lauritzen stated we need to make sure these increases were allowed under the contract.
Mr. Lyles stated last month there were approved subject to verification of the underlying contract. These are in order for your execution today.
SIXTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Rayel Estates Plats 1, 2 & 3
Mr. Hans asked have you had a chance to review these?
Mr. Moore responded unless there is a representative present, we should defer this because I don’t believe it is a plat we need to approve. Someone requested a utility service letter from us.
SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Engagement Letter with Ruden McClosky for Bond Counsel Services for the Parkland Village Project
Ms. Hitchcock stated this village is 100 acres in the District located on the north side of Trails End. Parkland Isles is to the south. We are presently going through a re-zoning through the City of Parkland, Broward County and the State. It is zoned as 100 acres of commercial land, and we are proposing to change it to mixed use—35,000 sq. ft. of commercial and office, 10,000 sq. ft. of restaurant, 70 acres of condominiums and 177 single family lots, and a 12 acre elementary school site to Broward County to off-site any impact to the school system. It is not going to be a gated community. The site is designed as a typical village green. We are trying to incorporate features to attract the general public. We had a preliminary meeting with bond counsel and we will be proceeding with further design and cost estimates to see what is appropriate for this area. We are hoping to have final approval from the city this summer, and hope to start doing earthwork this summer to start construction on our first home in January. We are also incorporating some wetland planting, although it is not required, to keep the open feeling of the site. Lots range from 50’, 65’ and 80’.
Mr. Lyles stated there are long lead times involved with getting financing for these projects and in order to assist this project along, bond counsel is needed. The engagement letter from Ruden McClosky is competitive with other firms that do this specialized legal work for financing. If down the road the project is abandoned, and the bonds are not sold; Ruden McClosky is not asking to be compensated for the time they put into the project. They are doing this at their risk and at no cost to the District; only their out of pocket expenses will be reimbursed. The proposal is recommended for approval.
NINTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Staff Reports
There being no report, the next item followed.
Mr. Moore stated SFWMD has come forward and offered to get a culvert connecting the Pine Tree Water Control District with our eastern basin. The county is looking to get this started and SFWMD is willing to pay up to $75,000 as a 50/50 split to put this in. We think we can do it at the most for $65,000 and get funding from SFWMD if it is done by October 1st. I talked to CH2M-Hill and looked at existing pipe pricing. It is located on the south side of the Sawgrass on Riverside Drive. There is a 100’ distance from the Pine Tree Water Control District and the North Springs Improvement District. Mr. Hans has confirmed we have funding, and I can bring this back at the next meeting.
Mr. Lauritzen asked what is the benefit?
Mr. Moore responded the water elevation is supposed to be 9’ and our average is about 7.3’. All of our water in the well fields are on the east side. This will be a recharging system, through Pine Tree Water Control District. Rather than Pine Tree recharging to Hillsborough with an elevation of over 10’, they can recharge to this District. We can also do this with the Sunshine Water Control, and equalize the entire system in Coral Springs.
Mr. Lauritzen stated you have a green light from me.
Mr. Moore stated we will bring a proposal or change order back to the next meeting.
Mr. Hans stated I have resigned from Severn Trent Services. I have enjoyed working with you over the years. Mr. Keller will be taking over for me. I will be staying in this type of business, but I am pursing other options. I am getting out of the large corporate confinements.
Mr. Lauritzen stated I am going to miss you. Mr. Keller, are you ready to fill in his footsteps?
Mr. Keller responded I have learned a lot from Mr. Hans over the last few months. I appreciate the opportunity to work with you.
Mr. Hans stated Mr. Keller comes with a lot of experience. He worked for Broward County and was the city manager for Hollywood.
TENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Supervisor’s Requests and Audience Comments
Mr. Taylor stated I apologize for not being here earlier during the discussion on the clubhouse. I am an officer of the company for WCI and I wanted you to be aware we were interested in participating to address any issues that were raised. This relationship is important to us and we want to continue. We will provide whatever information is needed.
Mr. Lauritzen stated I read the newspaper article and I am going to look into this. I don’t think WCI did anything so terrible. Having a few meetings in a building we manage is reasonable. We have had a great relationship and we want to continue.
Mr. Taylor stated if there is anything I can do, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Mr. Miner asked who manages the facility—the HOA or WCI?
Mr. Lauritzen responded WCI.
Mr. Miner asked do they answer to the HOA?
Mr. Taylor responded the contract we have with NSID is a management agreement between WCI and NSID. We perform those management services at your request.
Mr. Miner asked where does the HOA come in?
Mr. Taylor responded we provide management services to Heron Bay, the Master HOA, and the individual community HOAs underneath. There is a common element regarding the entity of WCI, but it is a separate group of people who provide those services.
Mr. Lyles stated we authorized bonds to be issued for improvements in the Heron Bay area, including the recreation facility. We did our part as the issuing agency, but when it came time to run the infrastructure, it was not the desire of the Board to get involved in the day-to-day operation as a property manager. We entered into a contract with a corporate entity called the Heron Bay Community Association, Inc. That is the HOA. That corporation has an agreement with this Board that authorizes it to run the facility, to hire people, adopt rules for the use of the facility and that is what has been done over the years. The association is made up of people who are put on the Board by the landowners. At the first stage of the development the landowner is WCI, and those individuals still run the association. At some point in the not to distant future, it will be a resident Board and it will run the association and make all the management decisions regarding this facility. WCI is not a party to this agreement, the party to the agreement with us is the Heron Bay Community Association, which will be turned over to the residents. Ultimately, we own the facility, and if there are questions or concerns this Board needs to be made aware of it. Mr. Hans stated earlier that an audit is being done of the issue raised; and those facts and figures will be presented to you at the next meeting.
Mr. Lauritzen stated I just need more clarification on the issues. I don’t think WCI did a terrible thing by holding meetings in the facility.
Mr. Lyles stated Commissioner Udine stated that the residents had to pay a fee for the use of the facility. When WCI used the facility, the rules say only the residents can use the facility and payment needs to be made and WCI needs to make a payment like anyone else; and they have agreed to that. WCI is cooperating and they are going to make the District whole. It is an accounting process and coming up with a number that is agreeable to all parties.
Ms. Early stated WCI is a landowner. Why aren’t they entitled to use it?
Mr. Lyles responded the rules say residents. WCI is paying a huge assessment on an annual basis to run that facility.
Mr. Taylor stated the assessment is $575,000 a year for the three or four years, and WCI has paid $250,000 during that time. When we did the calculations we looked at every hour use of the facility and paid the full $50 per hour. It came to light and as soon as it did, we went through the appointment books to resolve that.
Mr. Lyles stated the District’s accountant is going through this and we should be able to resolve this issue quickly.
Mr. Lauritzen stated Mr. Hans’ leaving is a shell-shock. I have been on the Board for 10 years and Coral Ridge Realty was the developer run by Westinghouse [WCI]. The Board members had 35 years experience and I learned a lot about the District. WCI has built one of the premier communities in the county. Mr. Moyer and Ms. Archer did a brilliant job of managing the District. My job was pretty easy. We had a premier developer, strong management and a Board with a lot of tenure. Over the last six month things feel upside down. We have a new management team at WCI. This is our second manager. Mr. Moyer is not here, Ms. Archer left, and Mr. Hans is now leaving. Ms. Holiday who did a great job left. All of this concerns me. I am accountable to the taxpayers. I want to make sure we have the best management for this District that we can find. I need to talk to Mr. Lyles and get clarity on what our options are. I am not an engineer, lawyer or manager. I am a humble taxpayer, and maybe we need to get some management that is more in-tune to our districts. Maybe some of Severn Trent’s people are managing too much. I want to make sure that whoever is managing this District is full time. We have a lot of employees. Maybe we can sit down with Coral Springs Improvement District and look at the options of bringing in more micro-managers. I want to look into it. My concern is that we not have long good management, but the best we can to run this District. My confidence level is a little down because we relied to heavily on Mr. Moyer, Ms. Archer and Mr. Hans. There have been so many changes including those with the developer. I want it on record that this Board needs to do what it can do to seriously look at this issue, and what our choices and options are. The bottom line is we do the best for the District.
Mr. Miner stated I agree with what you are saying. We have too many agencies, developers and managers. Mr. Hollander had a valid point. Are the managers paying attention to the smaller details, like paying fees to the facility? You rent a room; you pay for the room. I understand why the taxpayers are upset.
Mr. Lyles stated your fundamental questions are do we have responsibility in this area, and do we have options. You are responsible and this is where the buck stops. You have options at any time to make a new start with a different kind of management through contract or direct employment or a combined effort with Coral Springs Improvement District. We can talk and have a run down on what your options are at the future meeting.
Mr. Daly stated I have been here for 12 years; Mr. Zilmer has been here for a number of years, your accountant has been here for 25 years; Ms. Hayworth has been here for 15 years. We have over 60 to 70 years experience on staff for the day-to-day operations to put your mind at ease.
Mr. Lauritzen stated we meet once a month and rely heavily on the builders and management. I need to build up my confidence to make sure we have the right people in the right spots doing the right things.
ELEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of Requisitions and Invoices
TWELFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Adjournment
There being nothing further,
Salvatore J. Mendolia Matt Lauritzen