CDD Begins Landscaping RFP Process

The July 2 meeting of the Westchase CDD began with District Engineer Robert Dvorak’s report and a return to a discussion on the CDD’s role in sidewalk repair. Dvorak had previously supplied the board with a rough estimate of the costs to repair sidewalks in non-gated communities that were not yet funded by the county. Now that county-implemented sidewalk repairs are underway in The Bridges and The Fords, the CDD Supervisors informed Dvorak that they’d like to revisit the idea of tackling the rest of the community.

“If you want us to do a walk-around inventory, it’ll take a bit of time, but we can absolutely do it…and we can update the cost estimate and go from there,” Dvorak said.

Supervisor Chris Barrett asked if, after his assessment, Dvorak could help the board pinpoint which areas of the community would benefit most from early action.

Dvorak agreed. “There’s no point in doing an assessment for sidewalks if you’re not ready to do it. Too much can change too quickly,” he said.

Lewis informed the board that the meeting was going to be continued to the July 16 workshop and asked Dvorak if he could come back with some ideas on how to break sidewalk repairs up so they could discuss in more detail.

A resident asked why, if the county was doing sidewalk repairs, the CDD would also need to do repairs. Barrett explained that, at this point, only The Fords and The Bridges have been funded by the county.

In her report, District Counsel Erin McCormick informed the board that Vertex reached a settlement with Florida Gas that would allow Vertex to move forward with construction on the cell tower.  Vertex wanted a lease extension to the end of October to ensure they could get the work done in time. McCormick asked District Manager Andrew Mendenhall to include that on the agenda for the continued meeting.

Mendenhall reminded the board that they would be adopting the Fiscal Year 2025 budget during the August 6 meeting and that letters would be going out to residents soon to alert them of the meeting date and the proposed changes to assessments.

Mendenhall also noted that the Landscaping RFP is underway and 12 responses had come in. A mandatory pre-bid meeting is scheduled for July 8 to ensure all potential bidders are on the same page. On July 24, the public opening of the bids will take place. “This will be a process where you, as board members, can review all documents and evaluate all of the bidders,” Mendenhall explained.

Field Manager David Sylvanowicz began his report by introducing four members of the Fieldstone Landscape Services staff. Owner Chris Eastman addressed the board regarding ongoing issues with their performance. “First and foremost, I want to apologize that you are even going through this,” Eastman began, referring to the fact that the board was entering into a new RFP process just one year into their three-year contract. “I don’t make excuses. I am the leader of the team, so we failed.”

Eastman explained that the person who had created the current situation no longer works for Fieldstone and that, while they do not intend to re-bid the contract, they do have every intention of staying on the job until October. Eastman then implored the board to rethink the most recent inspection by OLM, which they failed. “We missed again by 2 percentage points…295,000 square feet of bed space took away 100 percent for weed control,” Eastman said.

He added, “The OLM inspection is a snapshot in time. It’s one day. To lose $16,000 is tough for us. I implore you to speak to your manager and ask if that one snapshot in time is representative of the 30 days before.”

Eastman also offered to provide his input on the RFP since they are not bidding and there would not be a conflict of interest.

Chairman Matt Lewis thanked Eastman for his time and said it was a bit of a surprise to hear that they would not re-bid the property. He said that he personally had noticed an improvement, but he would have to speak with his fellow supervisors regarding the inspection. “We do take a lot of pride. This is a premiere community in our opinion, and we want to keep it that way,” he said.

Barrett chimed in to thank Fieldstone for their time and also to ask if they could please take care of the flower beds. “Without even reading the grading report, the one thing I’ve noticed is that the beds look bad,” he said.

The Fieldstone crew thanked the board and left. Sylvanowicz turned to street flooding in the Vineyards and said that Florida Jet had successful jetted that system.

In The Greens, a gate hinge failure had been fixed and the A/C system at the guard station had been replaced at a cost of $7,400.

Regarding the landscaping on Gretna Green in the Fords, Sylvanowicz said he was waiting on a quote for irrigation for the new Viburnum that is replacing the Oleander, and the board unanimously approved a proposal from CertaPro Painters to repaint the fencing where the Oleander had been removed.

In West Park Village Plaza news, Sylvanowicz said the fountain was concreted in and awaiting tile. This led into a conversation regarding the addition of video surveillance to the plaza, which had been built into the plans. He explained that Office Manager Sonny Whyte had been working with the current gate vendor for pricing on surveillance and it had been recommended that they upgrade from standard coax cable ($140/month) to fiber optic ($260/month).

“I’d like to have a better handle on all of the places we have cameras. It seems like this has grown to be a large expense,” said Supervisor Greg Chesney

Sylvanowicz said that Whyte had done an audit and was told not to re-do their accounts or they would end up spending more. This led to a conversation as to whether surveillance cameras were worth the cost. Barrett asked Sylvanowicz to get two more bids on equipment and Sylvanowicz agreed.

Sylvanowicz informed the board that a resident had fallen in The Greens, which led the CDD staff to take care of what sidewalk trip hazards they could. The board then approved a proposal for $26,500 to fix the remaining sidewalks that pose trip hazards in The Greens and one in the Vineyards. Barrett reminded the board that sidewalks in gated communities are the CDD’s responsibility and asked Sylvanowicz to create a schedule to survey sidewalks regularly.

The board also approved proposals for structure pruning of trees (which promotes longevity of the trees) in The Village Green as well as the corner of Linebaugh and Sheldon at the monument.

When looking into maintenance of the sports field in Glencliff, Sylvanowicz said he received a recommendation to add an ArcGIS system for the irrigation system. This would provide GPS for every single aspect of the irrigation system, flush out where the zones are and track battery life, Sylvanowicz explained. “Just to have the knowledge of where our irrigation system is to pass on to the next landscapers would be invaluable,” he said.

Lewis made a motion to approve the ArcGIS system at a cost of $24,300.

“Do you think we should wait for our new vendor?” Chesney asked. “I’m just thinking whoever we hire might want to do it.”

Based on this comment, Lewis withdrew his motion and the board agreed to address the issue with the new landscaping vendor.

Sylvanowicz then turned to the issue of the nature trail at Baybridge Park. He informed the board that a resident had tripped on exposed tree roots and sustained an injury, and the trail had been subsequently closed. He presented the board with a proposal for $13,500, which would remove the remaining roots, repair the damage and tamp it down to return it to its original flat surface.

“I’m trying to come up with a more economical solution,” he said.

“I asked Doug to take a look at this when I first came on the board…we’ve just neglected it. It’s time we bring it to Westchase standards,” Barrett said.

The board voted 4-1 to repair the trail, with Chesney dissenting, stating that he favored simply buying some railroad ties and mulch and laying them down.

The meeting was scheduled to continue on July 16.

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