The 80-minute Nov. 10 meeting of the Westchase CDD marked the final meeting for Chair Jim Mills, who didn’t seek reelection in November.
The meeting also saw reviews of progress made on two cell towers. CDD Engineer Stephen Brletic mentioned he had reviewed the proposed location along the TECO easement behind the Maureen Gauzza Library. Brletic stated his firm found a large area of uplands that would be appropriate for its placement, allowing them to avoid protected wetlands. CDD Attorney Erin McCormick stated she was still working through some lease language with Vertex, the cell tower builder. She added that, unlike the Glencliff Park cell tower, which is a monopole with internal antennae, the tower on the northern site would be a pole with external antennae. “I do anticipate we will have a lease agreement on that parcel for you to consider at the December meeting,” McCormick said.
Brletic then turned to an issue a Village Green resident had raised with the district over a district-owned two-foot wall at the Village Green park that the homeowner said was retaining water and flooding his grass. While the homeowner requested the district construct a French drain on his property, which Field Manager Doug Mays stated would cost about $1,000, McCormick stated it would be unusual for the district to construct a drain on private property. Supervisors asked Brletic to visit the site to see if there really was an issue being caused by the wall.
Turning to issues surrounding the proposed cell tower at Glencliff Park, McCormick stated the county requested that the district post on its web site renderings of the appearance of the cell tower base with its fence, and landscaping for resident review and comment.
McCormick concluded by stating that she had come to an impasse with TECO over accessing a district-owned parcel of land between Stonebridge and The Vineyards behind the large lake beside Westchase Elementary. She stated she had consulted another attorney with expertise in such matters and supervisors approved her continued consultations. In the interim, Field Manager Doug Mays stating he was working to get power to a well dug on the property and to a nanobubbler in a nearby lake. McCormick stated she would draft an email Mays could send to TECO confirming the district could bore beneath the TECO high powered lines to run electricity to the area.
In other actions, supervisors approved an agreement with the Westchase Soccer Association for Glencliff Park field use for the association’s spring and fall of 2021 seasons.
Field Manager Mays stated he had received a $91,000 bid for the removal of oleanders and replacement with viburnum along Montague Street fence in The Bridges. He stated, however, he obtained separate bids from Davey for the removal and a bid from Aventura for the purchase and installation of the viburnum that would save over $30,000. After Mays said the viburnum would solve a number of problems the aged oleander posed, directors unanimously approved spending up to $60,000 on the plant replacement. Mays stated he expected the project completion by Christmas.
Mays stated that the wrong LED lights for the two Westchase lake fountains were shipped but still expected to complete the conversion of their light kits, allowing the light colors to be changed, by Thanksgiving. He cautioned, however, that both pond fountains would have to be pulled for a couple weeks to be taken to a welding shop to complete the conversion. He emphasized, however, the fountains’ removal was temporary.
Supervisors also asked District Manager Andy Mendenhall to establish a fare wage for temporary office work for Tanya Riddock, the daughter of Office Administrator Sonny Whyte, who is covering while he mother is on personal leave for a family medical issue. In her absence, Mays stated Riddock would answer the district’s phone and respond to residents.
Mays concluded by requesting approval for the purchase and installation of an artificial snow machine for the West Park Village bell tower. Mays stated two options were available and the mixture used to create the “snow” would cost $48 per gallon (daily use would consume between two and four gallons).
Supervisor Greg Chesney, who suggested the project, recommended approving up to $4,500 for the project with Mays deciding which machine to purchase. He stated that staff had identified four days (Nov. 29, Dec. 5, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19: all Saturdays) during holiday season they would like to use the artificial snow machine, including the lighting of the tree by Santa during the Santa parade. The motion passed unanimously.
Supervisor Greg Chesney stated the district completed its most recent fiscal year with a surplus of $335,000. He stated that while funds could be earmarked for the development of the landlocked parcel that TECO has blocked access to, he encouraged board members to come forward with projects to enhance the community. “Our community is well funded and those things drive value,” he said.
Supervisor Forrest Baumhover agreed, adding, “I would extend that invitation to the community at large.”
Supervisors concluded major action by approving a motion to fund the use of sheriff’s deputies during the Westchase Charitable Foundation’s Santa parade, costs usually paid by the foundation, to ensure the districts’ residents and its infrastructure were adequately protected. “This board covering those costs,” said Supervisor Mills, “is a great gesture on our part.”
“Subject to any potential recount,” Mills joked at the conclusion of the meeting, “this is my last meeting on the board.” Supervisors offered praise for Mills’ leadership and tenure on the board. Mills, in turn, praised their accomplishments during his service, from park improvements and a new landscape bid to the hiring of a new engineering firm. “All of that without an increase in resident assessments,” he stated. “That’s a lot to look back on and be proud of.”
Mills added, “I’d be remiss if I didn’t say I’ll miss it.”
Supervisors adjourned at 5:23 p.m.
By Chris Barrett, Publisher