CDD OVERVIEW FOR Friday, September 04, 2015
Flooding and the Westchase CDD’s upcoming parks capital improvement project were the main topics of discussion at theirs Sept. 1 meeting. CDD Chair Mark Ragusa opened the session, however, by remembering former supervisor Ernie Sylvester of The Greens, who died Aug. 18 and whose memorial service he attended on Aug. 30. “Those of you who knew him know what a fantastic individual he was,” said Ragusa.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for this summer heat and the summer rains to be gone. I think we can all agree that this summer has been one of the wettest we can remember.
The Aug. 4 meeting of the Westchase CDD saw supervisors addressing the significant street flooding that occurred in Westchase the previous day and pass their 2016 budget.
Nearly two dozen Boy Scouts filled the room at the July 7 meeting of the Westchase CDD, which saw supervisors vote to increase the pavilion rental fees at Baybridge and Glencliff Parks. With the Scouts from Troop 46 present to learn about the functions of local government, Vice Chair Greg Chesney, an Eagle Scout himself, regularly paused while chairing the session to explain what the Community Development District (CDD) supervisors were doing. The youngsters watched as supervisors addressed issues related to park fees, their landscaper, the upcoming parks renovation project and their 2016 budget.
During budget season one of homeowners’ most common questions is when their CDD debt service payments will end. The debt service is one component of homeowners’ Westchase Community Development District (CDD) assessments and varies by neighborhood.
A lengthy three hour meeting of the Westchase CDD saw the existing four supervisors interview eight candidates for the open seat created by Brian Zeigler’s February resignation before unanimously appointing Bridges resident Jim Mills.
At their May 5 meeting, Westchase CDD supervisors heard some residents’ concerns about Glencliff Park renovation plans and approved a draft budget for the county’s property tax Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices. Opening the session were District Manager Andy Mendenhall of Severn Trent and Severn Trent accountant Alan Baldwin, who presented the district’s 2016 draft budget.
At their April 7 meeting, Westchase CDD supervisors saw an initial draft of potential park redesigns for Baybridge and Glencliff Parks and voted unanimously to oppose bills before the Florida legislature that could significantly limit residents’ use of CDD security camera footage.
The March 3 meeting of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) began with supervisors accepting the resignation of former Supervisor Brian Zeigler and ended with them tackling teen loitering at Baybridge Park.
February’s meeting of the Westchase CDD reinforced the district’s historic position of declining any use of Westchase park land that primarily benefits commercial interests. Gathering on Tuesday, Feb. 3, supervisors of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) began the session by cleaning up their financial books by addressing unallocated expenses related to the installation of new survey datum points in recently repaved roads in Stonebridge, The Greens and Harbor Links/The Estates.
Supervisors of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) saw their first meeting of 2015 adjourn in less than an hour – but not before making a splash. The abbreviated session addressed three items, including the purchase of a fountain for a lake near Westchase’s fire station.
The Dec. 2 meeting of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) saw dozens of Greens residents in attendance to express support for keeping their gatehouse manned around the clock.
Westchase’s parks were the primary topic at the Nov. 5 meeting of the Westchase CDD. At the session, supervisors tackled the hiring of a designer for a Park Renovation Master Plan and the best way to address offensive behavior by Glencliff Park visitors on weekends.
An Oct. 8 meeting saw Westchase CDD supervisors agree on an approach to completing park renovations and heard talk of possible cost increases – or overnight staffing changes – to The Greens gatehouse security contract.
The Sept. 9 meeting of the Westchase CDD saw supervisors tackle pond bank erosion, park renovations and The Greens controversial, new speed bumps.
Convening on Aug. 25, Westchase CDD supervisors accepted a new bid for common area maintenance, allowing them to finalize their 2015 budget – and Westchase homeowners’ assessments. The session represented a continuation of the Westchase Community Development District’s (CDD) Aug. 5 public budget hearing. The additional meeting in August was scheduled to permit supervisors to finalize their landscaping bid process and incorporate actual rather than estimated maintenance costs into their 2015 spending plan.
After several meetings where Westchase CDD supervisors were warned their 2014 landscape bidding process would likely produce a significant increase in Westchase’s landscaping costs, the district’s Aug. 11 bid opening held one surprise.
The Aug. 5 meeting of the Westchase CDD saw supervisors hold their annual public hearing for their 2015 budget. Westchase Community Development District (CDD) Chairman Mark Ragusa cautioned residents who attended the public hearing that the published budget – both mailed to residents and printed in WOW – was a county-required, preliminary TRIM notice budget. “The CDD’s budget is set high initially because we have to publish it through the county office,” Ragusa explained. “The TRIM notice budget cannot be increased and therefore it is always higher than the one that ends up being approved.”
With the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) one month from their Aug. 5 public budget hearing, the latest draft of the district’s spending plan still points to a significant increase in homeowners’ operations and maintenance assessment.
With district’s budget preparation season in full force, Westchase CDD Supervisors discussed bidding out their landscaping contract at their June meeting. Their current contractor, Mainscapes, has indicated it will not renew its current three-year contract for an additional year at no increase, triggering the bid process.
At their May 6 meeting supervisors took a closer look at teen trespassing in Baybridge Park and their blueprint for spending in the upcoming fiscal year. Addressing problems at Baybridge Park were nearby homeowners Scott Dudley and Lisette Falkner. “We have problems in the park,” stated Dudley, who added that issues with loitering teens beyond the park’s dusk closing hours have been ongoing for a year.
At their April 1 meeting Westchase CDD Supervisors faced news of two potential big-ticket items in their coming fiscal year – and it was no joke. At the meeting, which saw the earliest discussions about the district’s new budget (beginning in October), supervisors on the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) continued discussions on bringing their playgrounds into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Their landscaping contractor, Mainscape, also made clear it was not interested in continuing its contract for an additional year at no increase. That news triggered preparations for bidding out the district’s biggest contract.
At their March 4 meeting Westchase Community Development District (CDD) Supervisors addressed parks, possible uses of newly acquired piece of land and the status of their landscaping contract in the coming year. The roughly 90-minute session began with CDD Engineer Tonja Stewart of Stantec addressing a recent audit of the district’s parks.
Outside of an informal decision to resurface two gated neighborhoods’ roads, the 45 minute meeting of the Westchase CDD saw supervisors largely following up on old agenda items. Westchase Community Development District (CDD) Engineer Tonja Stewart opened the Feb. 4 meeting by stating she had recently visited both The Greens and Stonebridge, two gated communities whose roads are slated for resurfacing this year. “It does appear they can be milled and surfaced this year,” she said, suggesting that their current condition warranted the work.
A dispute between Castleford neighbors presented Westchase Community Development District (CDD) supervisors the daunting challenge of playing King Solomon at the district’s first board meeting of the year. Yet when the neighbors declined to find an amicable compromise, supervisors elected to impose their preferred solution.
The last Westchase CDD meeting of 2013 offered little in the way of new business for supervisors. Instead the meeting of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) found supervisors reworking or reviewing old agenda items from recent months. These included district employee benefits, proposed drainage and road resurfacing for Saville Rowe, issues related to a West Park Village sump and an inspection of CDD park assets to determine their compliance with recent changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Six Boy Scouts and two adult leaders of Troop 46 observed the Nov. 5 meeting of the Westchase CDD. The likely takeaway? Good government involves a lot of unglamorous housekeeping.
Perhaps resolving a long-standing source of potential litigation, the Westchase Community Development District purchased 5.5 acres east of The Bridges and northwest of The Vineyards in October. The decision represents the first time in Westchase CDD history they have purchased land to add to the district’s holdings.
While discussions were wide-ranging in the 90-minute Sept. 10 Community Development District (CDD) meeting, most decisions were postponed for future meetings. Among the more significant decisions was directors’ approval of a WCA request to hold Movies in the Park October-December of 2013 as well as January-March and October-December of 2014. The approval, however, came with a requirement that all movies be shown in the West Park Village Town Center green on Montague Street instead of Baybridge Park.
The public forum to discuss the Westchase Community Development District’s (CDD) 2014 budget drew a single, silent resident on Tuesday, Aug. 6. With the forum for public comment opening and closing in a span of a single minute, supervisors made relatively quick work of finalizing the upcoming year’s spending plan, which they have parsed over recent months.
In July supervisors of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) again saw their conversations dominated by a proposed budget draft, a West Park Village splash fountain and issues related to a parcel of undeveloped land lying east of Stonebridge.
Westchase Community Development District (CDD) supervisors are discussing a tentative spending plan that projects a 7.62 percent increase in operations and maintenance spending. The plan, which may see adjustments at the CDD's July and August meetings, is slated for final approval on Aug. 6.
The June 4 meeting of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) saw resolution of a years-long process to address a Westchase neighborhood’s leaking gas lights and attendance by a number of Stonebridge residents concerned over nearby developments that could significantly impact them.
Kicking off the heart of their 2014 budget season, Westchase CDD supervisors passed a tentative, high-watermark budget that will focus their discussion in upcoming months. The accepted tentative spending plan suggests that most homeowners may see operations and maintenance increases of about one to three percent this year.
During their April 2 meeting, Westchase Community Development District (CDD) supervisors discussed items they would like to see included in their upcoming 2014 budget, beginning Oct. 1. Manager Andrew Mendenhall informed the group that they must adopt a preliminary, high-water mark budget at their May meeting. That preliminary budget’s assessments will then be submitted to Hillsborough County for inclusion in property tax trim notices this fall.
The March 5 meeting of the Westchase CDD saw a bank that owns property at the back of Stonebridge again request that it be granted access to it through that gated neighborhood. Shelli Bushway, Vice President of Tiger Investment Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Florida Capital Bank, appealed to supervisors for access at the March session.
At their Feb. 5 meeting, Westchase Community Development District supervisors addressed a handful of issues, from a proposed volleyball court and a kickball league to noise complaints about the Movies in the Park.
The first CDD meeting of the new year saw a new but familiar face added to the CDD board. Meeting on Jan. 8, CDD supervisors interviewed two additional candidates for a vacancy created by the November resignation of Greens resident Ernie Sylvester. Interviewed by CDD supervisors were Kingsford’s Susan Edgerley and Radcliffe’s Keith Heinemann, both of whom had previously served as CDD supervisors prior to the October 2011 merger of the two Westchase boards. The two joined former CDD Supervisor Bob Argus and former Westchase Community Association (WCA) Director Joe Payne as potential candidates for the position.
The final CDD meeting of 2012 saw the acceptance of CDD Supervisor Ernie Sylvester’s resignation and a board that deadlocked on his replacement. The meeting also saw supervisors again address a Stamford's resident's demand that the Westchase Community Association's (WCA) popular Movies in the Park, held in Baybridge Park, be ended there because of its noise levels.
Landlocked Landowner Demands Access through Stonebridge; CDD Supervisor Sylvester Delays Resignation
The Nov. 13 meeting of the Community Development District (CDD) brought news of a temporarily rescinded resignation and a bank’s demand that it be allowed to access property through the gated community of Stonebridge.
A remarkably brief 45-minute meeting of the Community Development District (CDD) on Oct. 2 dealt largely with housekeeping and old business. Only three residents of the district were present, including two candidates vying for retiring Supervisor Bill Casale’s seat in November’s General Election.
Westchase street flooding, the WCA’s use of a drainage canal and incorrect CDD assessments were major topics tackled by CDD supervisors at their Sept. 11 meeting.
The Aug. 8 meeting of the Westchase CDD saw the passage of a budget that reflects no assessment increases and envisions no major capital improvement projects in the coming year. The only resident appearing to address supervisors on spending issues was Bennington VM David Love. Love’s neighborhood is currently working to update its Westchase Community Association (WCA) mailbox guideline as part of a process that will see the neighborhood’s white mailboxes replaced with black metal ones – similar to those in Harbor Links/The Estates, West Park Village and Radcliffe.
Gathering on July 17 to reconvene a meeting continued from Tuesday, July 10, supervisors of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) continued discussions about a West Park Village alley depression and street flooding in West Park Village and Harbor Links.
The topics tackled of the July 10 meeting of the Westchase CDD seemed highly appropriate given that one of the most powerful thunderstorms of the summer raged throughout it.
While their nearly three hour June meeting saw nearly a dozen different topics of discussion, Westchase CDD supervisors used the session to nudge forward several old agenda items rather than tackle new ones.
Three months of debate regarding the Westchase Soccer Association’s impact on parking within Glencliff came to a close at the May 1 meeting of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD). After hearing nearly two hours of discussion from residents and supervisors on both sides of the issue, CDD supervisors voted 4-1, with Supervisor Bill Casale in opposition, to renew the soccer association's exclusive right to use Glencliff Park fields for its 11-week fall season. The four hour meeting also saw supervisors adopt a preliminary budget for 2013 to establish a high water mark for county property tax notices.
Banking, irrigation and holiday bonuses were the topics of discussion at the Dec. 6 meeting of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD). Opening the meeting with an overview of their banking services, a trio of officers from Jefferson Bank made a pitch to the supervisors for the district’s banking business. Currently with SunTrust, the CDD in recent months has explored other banks in an effort to lower fees.
At their November meeting CDD supervisors expressed interest in exploring a Distributed Antennae System, which would alleviate the need for a cell phone tower within Westchase.
Tuesday, Oct. 4, marked a historic day for Westchase. After more than two years of preparations, a merged Westchase Community Development District (CDD) board of supervisors came together for the first time.
Passing a handful of final motions at their final meeting on Sept. 13, the CDD East agreed to be absorbed by the CDD on Sept. 20, eleven days earlier than anticipated. With the passage of a final motion and two resolutions – all effectively transferring property, contracts and outstanding bonds on the CDD East to the CDD on Sept. 20, the CDD East will cease to exist.