For the second straight year I am making predictions as to what will happen in Gateway in the upcoming year.
If my 2016 predictions coming true are any indicator, I’m only half as smart as I think I am. But keep in mind I’m going out of my way to make difficult predictions rather than easy or obvious ones. It’s more fun that way.
Let’s begin by going over what I said would happen in 2016.
2016 PREDICTION 1: As a result of pressure from Gateway’s Board of Supervisors to reveal too much private financial information, the Gateway Soccer Association will relocate its program to another community.
This was well on its way to happening until I obtained and published a GSCDD memo in which district staff were going to evaluate whether to keep, sell or donate the Sherman Soccer Complex. Once the other members of the GSCDD board got wind of what one (now former) Supervisor was up to they did a complete about-face and passed a resolution in full support of the youth sports programs in Gateway. In a way, I derailed my own prediction… and I couldn’t be happier about it.
2016 PREDICTION 2: The three Gateway Charter schools will have a new Principal or Principals. The Current Principal (of all three schools) Sara Abraham will not be terminated from her position, but rather she will be promoted or transferred elsewhere within Charter Schools USA.
Yeah. No. Wrong on that one.
2016 PREDICTION 3: GSCDD politics: Ed Tinkle will run the most expensive campaign ever for a seat on the Board of Supervisors of the Gateway Services Community Development District – and lose. Bonus prediction: At least one of the three current Supervisors who are up for re-election in November 2016 will not run again.
I’m giving myself a half-point here since one Supervisor did not run again, and another halted their campaign before it really even started. As astounding as it sounds that anyone would have outspent Mary Carol Stanley in the 2016 elections, I believe Tinkle has enough support in Gateway Greens that his campaign would have been awash in cash. I’m second-guessing if Gill would have beat Tinkle or not. If Supervisor Flaherty could figure out the right things to say to defeat Stanley, I’m now thinking Tinkle might have figured out the right campaign strategy as well.
2016 PREDICTION 4: The stand-alone restaurant that will be part of the new plaza (where the new Publix is going to be built) is going to be Bonefish Grill.
I’m hearing it’s possible that Bonefish will indeed come to the area. But it won’t happen in the next four days so I have to give myself an X on this one.
2016 PREDICTION 5: Some time between May and August of 2016, an announcement will be made that assessments in Gateway will skyrocket. I predict an increase of at least 20% with the primary factor being the Lake Bank Restoration Project.
Actual assessments came in at a 17.88% increase. Close enough? 20% was an extremely aggressive and bold prediction if you think about it. Either way, the Lake Bank Restoration Project was the key cause.
And now I present to you my 2017 predictions. Please keep in mind these are purely guesses for entertainment purposes. Please do not email anybody (especially me) complaining about anything you read below.
SCHOOLS: The Lee County School District will award Gateway a new high school, presently designated within the LCSD as school “MMM”. There will be backlash from some Magnolia Lakes residents, but since the LCSD bought the property in 2003 and the Magnolia Lakes HOA was formed in 2004 the LCSD will argue that they made their intentions known before anyone bought in that community.
GSCDD: Rather than make another $5-6 million commitment to repair an additional set of lakes, I believe the Supervisors will pause and take a breath. Tetra Tech will try to urge the board to fix more lakes but I think the board will take 2017 and evaluate how their first $1 million and subsequent $5-6 million investments worked out.
BUSINESS: Although Gartner already has two full buildings, a training center and a third large building on the way that they haven’t even started working on yet, I predict Gartner will announce and/or build yet ANOTHER building either somewhere in Gateway or on the airport property.
HOAs: While there’s no way for us to track this, I predict that HOA elections will have more participants than ever as people are waking up as to what’s going on with their associations. The Stoneybrook elections this spring will be of particular interest to this publication.
POLITICS: I predict that it won’t be Chairman Margaret Fineberg who leads Gateway in 2017, but rather the tandem of Supervisor Doug Banks and Supervisor Ed Tinkle will emerge as Gateway’s new leadership on the GSCDD board. And I don’t believe it will be a competitive, me versus you, winner-take-all type of situation. But rather I’m predicting those two Supervisors will see each other’s strengths and work together to drive the agenda.
ASSESSMENTS: The district badly needs to beef up its reserves, additional staff needs to be hired, and there are a few key projects in the works. Therefore I predict assessments will rise about 9% for FY2018. If I’m wrong and the GSCDD does sign off on another round of lake repairs, I predict assessments will rise another 18%. (If I’m plus or minus 2%, I’m counting it as an accurate prediction).
WATER UTILITY: Look for big things to happen – focused heavily on study and analysis in 2017. I predict they will evaluate the water rates they charge you, the connection rates they charge developers for adding houses to the water and sewage networks, they’ll look at the status of the entire infrastructure, and be forced to determine how much they’ll have to charge the proposed new Timber Creek community for sewage flow through Gateway. Basically I predict the GSCDD board will do a top-to-bottom analysis of the utility in 2017.