The Gateway Services Community Development District has announced the agenda for the February 5, 2015 meeting of the Board of Supervisors. As usual the meeting will take place at 13240 Griffin Drive at 3:00pm.

Your five board members are Chairman William Guy, Vice-Chairman Margaret Fineberg, Supervisor Pamela Gill, Supervisor Gary Neubauer and Supervisor Rod Senior.

All Gateway residents are invited to attend and are afforded the opportunity to directly address the Supervisors before the GSCDD board and staff begin going through the items listed on the agenda.

The first order of business will be to approve the minutes of the January 8, 2015 board meeting. The Supervisors typically approve the minutes or ask for minor corrections to be made and then approve the minutes (subject to the corrections).

Next will be a review of the GSCDD’s financial statements through December 31, 2014. Going over the statements it appears as though the GSCDD’s fiscal year ends on September 30th so this should not be a year-end review or have any special attention paid to it as a result of it being the end of the calendar year.

Although the statements are unaudited, it appears the GSCDD had approximately $3.47 million cash on hand and $4.97 million in Money Market Accounts on its balance sheet as of Dec 31, 2014.

After the district’s over-all financial situation is reviewed, the board’s attention will be turned to the costs of operating the Parks & Recreation Department. According to the meeting book GSCDD staff estimate there will be $38,500 in revenue from the soccer fields and dog park this fiscal year, while the budgeted expenses will be $589,817 for the entire department. Among the major items in the budget are $84,000 to replace the soccer field lighting and $56,000 for a restoration project at the Gateway Commons pool.

Next on the agenda is the first of four items relating to Gateway’s ponds – in this case an inspection report of the some of the ponds in Timber Ridge, Mahogany Run and eight other areas in Gateway. The report says the lakes look good over-all, however some residents are in disagreement over the presence of littoral plants.

The other pond-related agenda topics are discussion items relating to the creation of a Gateway Ponds Group to provide guidance to the board in all matters relating to pond problems, an item labeled “Jeff Keyes Pond Services” which contains a detailed report from Community Environmental Services about the lakes in Pelican Preserve, and lastly the GSCDD Engineer’s report on “Gateway Lake Restoration Program Update”.

The past few weeks have seen a small number of residents ringing alarm bells in regards to the status of the lakes in Gateway. It seems as though these residents want the ponds perfected despite the potential costs involved, and for now the GSCDD board is at least dipping their toe in the proverbial water, trying to gather more information on the subject.

Further agenda items include a maintenance inspection report, update on the Area 9 West of I-75 Access Easement and WCI Road Turnover inspection and information update.

Also listed on the agenda is a review of all existing contracts the GSCDD has with its various vendors. It’s an important time to have this discussion because some major contracts are set to expire in the next 60 days including those with Tetra Tech (engineering services), Mainscape (landscaping) and Morris-Riley (television/video inspection of stormwater issues).

Other agreements due to expire soon range from Jani King (cleaning services), National Exterminators (pest control) and Sweeperman (street cleaning).

In each case the board’s options are to advise the GSCDD staff to attempt to negotiate a renewal with the existing service provider, or to get new pricing from multiple vendors (via bid or a simple price inquiry) and then choose which company to go with.

Among the final items on the agenda are a presentation about water meter reading software, and another presentation in regards to financial grants from the federal government that Gateway could be eligible for.

In the process of the Gateway Sun introducing ourselves to various members of the community we once made the statement in an email that we would be following the GSCDD’s business affairs, but we would ignore trivial matters they involve themselves in – and we ironically named spending too much money on ponds as the specific example.

But that was when the amounts were in the tens of thousands, now we’re talking about amounts potentially in the tens of millions.

As a result of polite pressure from a small group of people the Supervisors are giving an ever-increasing amount of attention to issues involving Gateway’s ponds in the most recent board meetings.

So far the Supervisors have not done anything too costly, but once the opinions from the work groups the board is forming are revealed or the findings from the studies and inspections the board is authorizing are announced, something will have to happen.

Either the board will have to spend many millions of dollars to fix the problems it’s working so hard to find, or they will have to tell the pond-fixing supporters that the changes they want aren’t truly necessary or the costs involved are too substantial.

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

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