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2018 CDD Assessments See Significant Declines for 17 Westchase Villages

The Aug. 7 meeting of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) saw supervisors pass their 2018 budget, which will see 17 Westchase subdivisions no longer paying district debt assessments.

CDD Supervisor Greg Chesney stated he had gone through the budget carefully with CDD Office Manager Sonny Whyte. He stated they paid particularly close attention to neighborhood specific funds for villages who pay for additional district services for such things as street lights and gates, alley and rights of way maintenance. His goal was to make sure they made sense, said Chesney, and their review led to one reduction.

Homeowners CDD assessments are made up of as much as three different components: debt service, which covers 20-year bonds that paid for Westchase infrastructure and which is paid off in many Westchase villages already; maintenance and operations, which covers costs associated with common areas, parks and ponds; and neighborhood specific funds for gates and private roads. Most non-gated neighborhoods outside of West Park Village do not have neighborhood-specific assessments.

Supervisors stated their goal was to pass a budget that saw no assessment increases. Because of reductions in its neighborhood-specific assessment, however, Harbor Links and The Estates will still see small decreases. Both will see a 1.71 percent overall decline due to a nearly three percent decline in their neighborhood specific fund.

Many villages in The Fords, The Greens and The Bridges will see far steeper decreases as they paid the final year of their debt assessment in the fall of 2017. The table following this article details their last debt payment payments made in 2017. That amount also represents the total expected decline in the neighborhood’s overall CDD assessment in 2018, now that the bonds have been fully paid. In many cases, these neighborhoods’ 2017 debt payments already saw a decrease over the previous 19 years of debt payments due to surplus funds in the villages’ bond accounts, which paid a portion of their 2017 debt bill.

With the complete dropping of these debt payments, the only Westchase neighborhoods still paying off their 20-year infrastructure bonds – and thus continuing to be assessed by the CDD for debt payments – are Greenpoint, Village Green, West Park Village and The Vineyards. All will complete their debt payments in the next few years.

Turning to other matters, CDD Engineer Tonja Stewart announced that the GIS map her company is building of Westchase, at an expected cost of $17,714, was ready to be finalized with the input of data layers supervisors wished that it display. Supervisor Matt Lewis was named the board liaison to work with Stewart to identify the information to be included with the map. The map’s purpose is not only to identify district owned parcels but also quickly illustrate the district’s past maintenance of areas such as ponds.

Stewart also stated that six townhome owners from West Lake Townhomes, including at least one member of its HOA board, had paid their HOA’s landscaper to cut back CDD owned property. West Lake Townhomes’ developer recently transferred that property, adjacent to the community, to the district. Field Supervisor Doug Mays and Stewart identified the areas as upland areas rather than wetlands. The unauthorized cutback, however, did not sit well with supervisors, particularly Supervisor Brian Ross who stated, “Not suggesting something nefarious, but to me it’s somewhat shocking that people think they can go onto property they don’t own and make changes on it.”

While supervisors initially agreed to request insurance information from the West Lake Townhomes HOA board, CDD Attorney Erin McCormick stated she was still working with that HOA on sensitive matters related to a SWFTMD permit governing the land transfer and suggested the action could impede a successful outcome. Instead supervisors agreed that the district would send a letter to all homeowners adjacent to the CDD land making clear its ownership and the district’s intention to protect it from future cutbacks.

Field Supervisor Doug Mays asked supervisors to approve bids to repair two portions of Westchase’s brick walls, one area near The Greens along the canal adjacent to the tennis courts and the other along Countryway Boulevard between Glenfield and Keswick Forest. Mays said The Greens repairs would cost $4,087 and the Countryway repairs would cost $6,827. The board unanimously approved both bids.

Mays also brought a bid for 1,000 feet of cattle fencing and a gate to prevent access to the newly acquired lake between Stonebridge and Sturbridge and West Lake Townhomes. Mays stated the lake has seen individuals pulling trailers with boats to its banks. The fence, he stated, would prevent the trespassing of boats and folks fishing on the lake behind the Westchase homes. Supervisors approved the $5,326 bid 4-1, with Supervisor Barbara Griffith opposed. Griffith stated she did not support the motion based on the fence’s appearance and was not swayed by Mays’ assurances that the fence would soon be hidden by hedges and other growth.

Mays also informed supervisors that the entrance call box to Harbor Links/The Estates on Countryway Boulevard was damaged by a tractor trailer. While insurance is expected to pay for repairs and he added staff was able to stand the box upright so that it could function, Mays said its full replacement would take place over the next few weeks.

Concluding the meeting, Hillsborough County representatives Larry Josephson and Alan Howell of Public Works offered updated plans for the extension of Linebaugh’s northbound turn lane on Sheldon Road. After July’s initial presentation of the project, supervisors requested the county use a landscaped lane divider rather than the suggested full-concrete, low barrier. Howell stated they were able to expand the divider to six feet with five feet of it reserved for landscaping. Supervisors backed Field Supervisor Doug Mays’ choice for plantings and Mays stated he was leaning toward a flowering plant called Dwarf Ixora. Josephson stated the county construction plans for the project would be ready by October, at which time the work would begin. He was unable to give an estimated completion date. Supervisors thanked the county representatives for working with them. As they departed, Mays again requested they work to shorten the proposed turn lane into CVS to preserve more of the Linebaugh median and its trees.

Closing the meeting, the board entertained supervisors’ comments. Supervisor Barbara Griffith encouraged supervisors to consider reaching out to cell phone carriers to offer land for a cell tower in Westchase to improve service. District Manager Andy Mendenhall cautioned, however, that while residents of districts often like the idea of improved service, once a tower location is announced, many residents will show up to meetings to oppose it. CDD Office Manager Sonny Whyte stated she would make some phone calls to explore the issue.

Supervisor Greg Chesney inquired whether the board supported assessing a portion of the expected $140,000 cost for replacing West Park Village’s street and traffic signs to West Park’s commercial property owners. The current neighborhood-specific West Park Village fund, however, simply assesses homeowners. “It would be a lot simpler to just assess the residents,” he said. “Normally I don’t think about it, but it’s a fairly substantial number.”

District Manager Andy Mendenhall stated he would discuss the appropriate possible division of the assessment with his financial team. 

In other actions:

Supervisors discussed actions taken and further steps the district will need to take to ensure the CDD’s web site is ADA compliant.

Supervisor Greg Chesney stated there were no further developments related to the district’s potential purchase of the Westchase Golf Course. He stated he had a meeting with the owner scheduled for mid-August.

Supervisors requested additional bids for pond erosion repair work in West Park Village after seeing a bid for $19,000 from BioMass to repair 220 linear feet of a pond bank.

CDD staff reported that residents of Harbor Links/The Estates were pleased at the recent replanting of landscaping and the installation of landscape lighting at the neighborhood’s Peabody entrance off Countryway Boulevard.

For the meeting, CDD Chair Jim Mills attended telephonically but excused himself at 5:35 p.m. Supervisor Matt Lewis arrived to the meeting, which began at 4 p.m., at 4:45 p.m.

Supervisors adjourned at 5:59 p.m.

Westchase Villages Dropping Bond/Debt Payments in 2018

Village

Last Debt Payment in 2017 (Decline in 2018 Assessment)

Overall Percentage Decrease in CDD Assessment

Greensprings

$583.51

-35.17%

Greencrest

$969.00

-47.39%

Greenhedges

$501.68

-31.81%

Greenmont

$762.00

-41.47%

Greendale

$775.00

-41.88%

Castleford

$313.55

-39.21%

Stamford

$313.55

-39.21%

Baybridge

$250.84

-34.03%

Wakesbridge

$276.08

-36.22%

Abbotsford

$389.00

-44.45%

Chelmsford

$313.55

-39.21%

Brentford

$599.00

-55.20%

Kingsford

$529.00

-52.11%

Stockbridge

$457.00

-48.45%

Sturbridge

$288.31

-37.22%

Stonebridge

$220.25

-23.11%

Woodbridge

$367.00

-43.01%

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

Posted Aug. 8, 2018

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