EAST COUNTY — Because Heritage Harbour South Community Development District board showed a little faith, resident costs may soon go down.
Supervisors voted unanimously June 20, to move forward with refinancing the district’s 2002 bonds — a move that could shave off 10% of related costs for residents of Stoneybrook, as well as the Stoneybrook Golf Club.
After Brett Sealy, of MBS Capital Markets, warned about unpredictable future interest rates and urged the board to act now on refinancing its 2002 bonds, supervisors voted to approve a refinancing of bonds. Sealy had anticipated reductions of at least 20%, before comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake hinting at an increase in future interest rates rattled markets.
“I have no insight into where the rates are going,” Sealy said. “No one really knows. But, the general consensus is rates are going up. Things have gone against us in the past few days.”
The board unanimously agreed to act now, rather than risk interest rates rising even more.
“We need to consummate this deal now, be happy with what we get and move on,” Supervisor Lee Bettes said. “There will always be remorse one way or the other.”
Sealy said he would mail the details of the board’s refinancing proposal to Standard & Poor’s, a rating agency, June 25.
He said Standard & Poor’s would accept or reject the terms of the bonds by July 2.
The board’s decision to follow Sealy’s advice came before supervisors questioned the accuracy of new district manager Greg Cox’s 2013-14 fiscal year budget.
Specifically, Supervisor Joe Jaudon doubted the $125,000 set aside in the budget for stormwater system maintenance.
Cox agreed the figure seemed incorrect. He said he combined a few related accounts, including wetland maintenance and lake/pond maintenance, into the stormwater system account. He also acknowledged difficulty in transferring former district manger Jim Ward’s budget template to his own.
Bettes urged the board to believe in Cox’s competency.
“We need to learn to trust our district manager,” Bettes said. “He is our executive.
“This was a good meeting,” he said. “We worked on some issues.”
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TALKS OF TURNOVER
Heritage Harbour South Community Development District Manager Greg Cox presented his progress on a feasibility study to define the district’s assets and their associated costs, as the board requested in May.
The study will be used to determine which of the district’s assets, if any, should be brought back under CDD control. The Stoneybrook Homeowners Association currently maintains several assets on behalf of the district.
Cox sought to present the study’s status to get confirmation from the board he is on the right track.
Cox said staff met with Stoneybrook’s Homeowner’s Association to determine ownership of the assets and that he will update the board in July, before looking later at assets the Heritage Harbour Master Association manages.
Supervisor Richard Lane preferred to be briefed only once, when the study is finished in January.
“I don’t want to piecemeal this,” Lane said.
In other business:
• Supervisors agreed to a policy that says the CDD would provide legal defense for district employees. “This is for when district employees get dragged into litigation,” said Andy Cohen, the board’s legal counsel. “It’s based on good-faith performance. If the litigation found the employee did something wrong, they would have to reimburse us.”
• Supervisors voted to pay a reduced amount of $25,551 in outstanding invoices to former longtime attorney Kenza van Assenderp.
• Supervisors agreed to reserve $75,000 for hurricane/disaster management funding. The motion authorized property manager Greg Cox to spend the money to help the community recover after a disaster hits. If the costs equal more than $25,000, Joyce Sandy, board chairwoman, must authorize it.
• Cox said residents should expect to pay the same assessments as last year for the 2013-14 fiscal year. The budget will be adopted Aug. 16.
• After Supervisor Richard Lane had requested a time change for the board’s monthly meetings, supervisors said they will stay with the current 5 p.m. time for now. Meetings will continue to be held at the Comfort Inn, 580 66th St. Court E., Bradenton, for now.
• Cox agreed to contact Lennar Homes about reducing the number of construction trucks entering Heritage Harbour through its main entrance. Supervisor Michelle Patterson said residents prefer the trucks come through the Kay Road entrance.