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East County Wednesday, Jun. 17, 2009 6 years ago

CDDs approve budget increases

by: Jen Blanco Sports Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — After spending several months gathering neighborhood input and analyzing the needs of the community, the four Lakewood Ranch Community Development Districts now have an idea of how their money will be spent in the upcoming 2009-2010 fiscal year.

On June 11, each of the districts approved a tentative budget schedule, which was sent to local government officials June 15. However, the boards of supervisors will be able to make changes through their Aug. 20 board meeting. At that time, a public hearing will be held and a final budget schedule will be approved.

“I just want to thank Bob (Fernandez) and Steve (Zielinski),” CDD 5 Chairman Dave Brucker said. “They were under very trying circumstances, and I think they did a good job pulling the budget together.”

In CDD 1, the board approved a tentative budget of $1,703,300 — roughly a 6.6% increase or $115,730 from the previous year. In addition, the new budget calls for a $61 per year average increase per residence.

Reasons for the increase include the hiring of an irrigation consultant, which will be shared between all four districts, the future purchase of land for a maintenance facility and a number of special projects, including tree thinning, among others.

“This board tried very hard to bring in a zero-based budget, but there are some rather large expense items that need to go forward,” CDD 1 Chairwoman June Stroup said. “Each of these items will benefit the community in the long run and allow us to move forward with (maintaining) the quality of this community.”

The CDD 2 Board of Supervisors approved a tentative budget of $2,498,500 — roughly a 9% increase or $205,420. Landscaping at nearly $680,000 and the gatehouses at nearly $255,000 are two of the areas with the most significant impact to the overall budget.

In CDD 5, the board approved a tentative budget of $1,779,640 — roughly a 0.3% increase or $5,350.

Finally in CDD 4, the board approved a tentative budget of $1,615,595 — roughly a 4.6% increase or $71,755. As a result, there would be an average increase of $45 a year per residence. Chairwoman Anne
Fischer and Supervisor Nancy Johnson both disapproved of the increase.

“I think we need to bite the bullet and bring the budget down,” Fischer said. “I feel too many people hold the line as closely as they can. I think we need to work harder and find a way, but I also don’t want Lakewood Ranch to go down in any way.”

Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].

• Engineer Michael Kennedy told the CDD 2 board that another section of Lake Uihlein has deteriorated and needs to be fixed. Kennedy plans to get at least three cost proposals before next month’s A&I meeting.

• CDD 2 approved a motion to enter into a $13,400 contract with Valley Crest Landscape Maintenance for Edgewater landscaping enhancements.

• The CDD 4 board approved a motion for the installation of sidewalks in front of 83 unfinished lots in Greenbrook East. Schroeder-Manatee Ranch will front nearly $108,000 in construction costs for the project. In return, a $1,404.38 assessment would be charged to each lot’s individual owner, which would be due to SMR within two years.

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