Gateway Sun

At the March 16 meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Gateway Services Community Development District, the board wanted to sign off on the necessary contracts to get work started on the next phase of the Lake Bank Restoration Project.

One problem: not all the contracts were ready to be signed on March 16.

Actually, two problems: rainy season is fast approaching.

So as announced on March 16, the board met in open session on March 22 in a short meeting to approve and sign the documents to expedite the  repair work.

At the March 22 meeting, Supervisor Kathleen Flaherty expressed surprise that the current $4.4 million round of pond repairs would not correct the problem in its entirety. She was displeased that the residents might be under the impression that everything would be solved this year.

The rest of the board bristled at Flaherty’s statement with Supervisor Ed Tinkle stating that he believed not even $16 million would be enough when all was said and done.

A sharp rise in the project costs from $4.4 million is not news.

The Gateway Sun reported on October 15, 2015 that (at that time) the estimate from engineering firm TetraTech was $13.19 million.

And that amount only accounted for the pond bank repairs. Tinkle described the pond problems as a “two-headed monster” – one ‘head’ being the pond banks, and the other being water quality.

Water quality is not being addressed. The Lake Bank Restoration Project’s only goal is to solidify the pond banks, some of which are crumbling and people are losing parts of their back yards.

Here are the numbers you need to know, as they stand today:

On August 1, 2016 we reported that $3.4 million was budgeted to be spent on the Lake Bank Restoration Project in fiscal 2017. But when it came down to it they needed to approve $4.4 million in actual spending in FY2017 … or $1 million above what was in the 2017 budget.

(That’s not a criticism. The Lake Bank project is a highly challenging endeavor and difficult to get a firm grasp on.)

The funding source? Loans from the State of Florida. Several months ago the five elected Supervisors authorized the district to borrow $6 million, and then this past month an additional $6.5 million.

As of today, $1.06 million (from FY2015) has been spent on the Lake Bank Restoration project. The Supervisors have formally approved $4.4 million to be spent, and have approved the borrowing of $8.1 million more for future pond fixes.

Added up, and assuming all the authorized money is spent, that’s $13.56 million in approved spending.

That’s pretty close to TetraTech’s $13.19 million estimate from October 2015. But the actual costs for pond bank repairs will probably rise to at least $16 million, according to Tinkle.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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