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CDD Board Approves 2018 Budget

The Aug. 1 meeting of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) saw supervisors make final tweaks to their 2018 draft budget and continue their discussion of Westchase’s landscaping.

At the session, supervisors approved the budget, which largely leaves Westchase assessments the same or lower compared to 2017 assessments. Some neighborhoods that paid their last CDD debt payments in 2017 will see a significant decrease. These neighborhoods, Greensprings, Greenhedges, Castleford, Stamford, Baybridge, Wakesbridge, Chelmsford, Sturbridge and Stonebridge, will see overall CDD assessments fall from 31 to 40 percent.

Other neighborhoods that are making their final CDD debt payments in 2018 will also see their overall assessments decline in the range of 15 percent. Because of existing surplus balances in their debt funds, their 2018 debt assessments are lower because the fund balances will also be used to make their final debt payments. Neighborhoods seeing this decrease include Stockbridge, Kingsford, Brentford, Abbotsford, Woodbridge, Greendale, Greenmont and Greencrest.

After asking for resident comments about the proposed 2018 budget and receiving none, District Manager Andy Mendenhall turned to supervisors for their questions and suggestions. Supervisor Greg Chesney said he had several comments and thanked CDD Office Manager Sonny Whyte for thoroughly going through the budget and compiling the list. All supervisors agreed with his and Whyte’s suggestion to remove extra assessments for the Saville Row, The Greens, Stonebridge, The Vineyards and the gated neighborhoods of The Bridges. In all cases the extra assessments had been assigned for projects or repairs that had already been completed and all supervisors agreed that the contingency funds were no longer needed. “Neighborhoods can go negative,” said Chesney. “Then we assess them to build the fund back up. But we have to remember to go back and reduce it when the project is complete.”

Supervisor Jim Mills asked about an increase in general liability insurance and was told it would increase by 1.1 percent.

Supervisors adjusted the cost of plant replacement after Whyte told them that their current landscaping contract replaced flowers three times a year, not four as currently budgeted. Supervisors moved the extra money into budget lines for tree and plant replacement and pond erosion repairs.

Supervisor Barbara Griffith had questions about employee bonuses and how employees were reviewed. Mendenhall said the bonuses were based on his review of CDD Field Manager Doug Mays and Mays reviewed the rest of the staff. Supervisor Brian Ross said he thought the CDD had a great staff and that it was great to have a healthy budget for salaries and bonuses. He suggested that Mendenhall look at the way employee reviews were conducted and make suggestions for improving the process.

CDD Engineer Tonja Stewart reported that the drainage at the Flournoy apartments construction site on Sheldon Road was working properly.

Stewart added that a survey crew had also set up stakes along the canal between Glenfield and Bennington to locate wetlands. She said she was confident that they would be able to prove that there had not been any changes to the canal and that the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s case against the district for work there, opened after a complaint by Twin Branch Acres Homeowners Association, would be closed.

Stewart told supervisors she had been researching a new product intended to extend the life of road paving projects. She said the product had been used for 20 years out west and that an Alabama company had adjusted the formula to work in hot, humid conditions. She said using the product would be environmentally friendly as it would cut down on the number of times an area would need to be repaved and that it would save money in the long run. She invited supervisors to attend a meeting with the vendor and said that she would also set up a time for the vendor to make a presentation to the CDD.

Some West Park Village residents who have alleys have reported that the garbage and recycling trucks have damaged the grass along the district-owned alleys when the trucks turn too sharply into them. One West Park Village resident installed PVC pipes along the alley’s edge to prevent trucks from doing so. After another resident complained, the CDD has been investigating the matter to determine the extent of the CDD's land ownership along paved alleys. (The pipes, installed by the Villas of West Park Village homeowners’ association, were subsequently removed.) Whyte and Stewart reported that while they district did own a portion of the grass along the alleys, they were still not sure of its extent. Stewart, however, said that she would not recommend putting any pipes or boulders on the district owned strip to resolve the issues with vehicle damage.

Supervisor Ross asked them to find out exactly what areas were owned by the CDD and to make a recommendation of what should be done. Griffith suggested calling Republic, the garbage collector, and asking them to slow down. Mays said they had called in the past and sometimes Republic came to repair the area but many times they said they were not the ones who had caused the damage.

Supervisors also had many questions about building a sidewalk along the south side of Linebaugh Avenue from Bentley Way to Sheldon Road. They asked Stewart to do an analysis of the preferred alignment and discussed the possibility of asking Hillsborough County for help with the project once they had determined what they wanted to do.

Supervisors also unanimously approved an engagement letter for Erin McCormick Law, PA, their current attorney. Board members also approved $11,500 to purchase bricks to make repairs to community walls. Mays estimated the stockpile would last several years.

Mays reported that the landscaping along Countryway Boulevard would be replaced with more colorful plants and that four oak trees had been planted along the front edge of the butterfly garden on Linebaugh Avenue.

Whyte said she had received a request to ask the board if they would be interested in selling a parcel of land behind Stonebridge. All supervisors agreed they were not.

Griffith reported that she had rode along on an inspection with horticultural firm OLM and that she had questions about their service. Ross also said he thought the district should get information about retaining a landscape architect to evaluate and advise on landscaping. Based on the discussion, supervisors asked Mendenhall to compile information about engaging a landscape architect to review the district’s appearance and make suggestions for improvement. Supervisors also agreed with Griffith’s suggestion to host workshops throughout the year to discuss issues such as landscaping. Mendenhall concurred that most CDDs do have non-staff workshops throughout the year and said he would add the discussion to the agenda for next month’s meeting.

CDD Debt Assessments: Is Yours Paid Off?

After Radcliffe and all neighborhoods along Countryway Boulevard saw CDD bonds for debt service paid off in previous years, the following neighborhoods will also no longer be paying CDD debt assessments. The bonds floated to pay for their infrastructure were fully paid off this year (2017). They will see a significant drop in their CDD assessments for 2018:

Greensprings
Greenhedges
Castleford
Stamford
Baybridge
Wakesbridge
Chelmsford
Sturbridge
Stonebridge

The following neighborhoods will make their final CDD bond payments in 2018 (assessments will be paid as part of their property taxes this November). Because the bond funds currently have a surplus, these neighborhoods will see their final bond payments significantly shrink for in the 2018 budget. In 2019 the bond payments will vanish from their CDD assessments:

Stockbridge
Kingsford
Brentford
Abbotsford
Woodbridge
Greendale
Greenmont
Greencrest

By Marcy Sanford and Chris Barrett, Publisher

Posted 9 August 2017

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