LAKEWOOD RANCH — Lakewood Ranch residents will see increases in their community development district assessments for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, primarily due to costs associated with construction of Town Hall’s new maintenance facility and to increases in costs for irrigation water.
Braden River Utilities, Lakewood Ranch’s irrigation provider, increased its rate for the second year in a row.
Lakewood Ranch Community Development District 6 residents will see the largest increase in assessments, with homeowners paying 26.9% more than in fiscal year 2012-13.
Town Hall Chief Financial Officer Steve Zielinski’s $862,070 operating budget for CDD 6 uses no reserves.
He warned of the district’s potential inability to obtain future financing unless it saves more money.
Zielinski projects CDD 6 to have $120,900 in reserves by Sept. 30, compared to $829,200 for CDD 1. As of Oct. 1 2012, going into the current fiscal year, the district had only $37,000 in reserves.
“We should really be at $160,000 in reserves,” he said. “Setting aside 15% of your operating budget for reserves is really the minimum bar to be fiscally prudent and responsive.”
District 6 also will pay an extra $47,500 for improvements to roads. The district’s limited reserves mean CDD 6 must improve assets in phases.
That fact will not limit CDD 6 from updating technology at its gatehouse, an added $27,000 expense that includes a design study. The improvements are required to update transponder readers that are 12 years old, said Ryan Heise, director of operations, and have nothing to do with changes to the operations of the much-discussed gate at Balmoral Woods and Lakewood Ranch boulevards.
“No one wanted to increase the budget like we did,” said Richard Williams, CDD 6 vice chairman. “To meet standards and complete our transition (to a resident-controlled board), this is what we had to do.”
In CDD 5, supervisors adopted a $2.3 million budget that includes a 7.4% increase in assessments. It will restore an anticipated $152,200 budget shortfall for fiscal year 2013, after the district dipped into reserves to fund storm drain repairs ($242,000) and litigation costs ($235,000).
Without those costs in 2014, overall expenses will decrease by $206,600.
CDD 4 adopted a $1.8 million operating budget, including a 7.8% increase in assessments.
Supervisors are preparing for repairs to mitigate beach erosion along the Braden River to drain its projected $573,100 in reserves.
CDD 2 adopted a $2.8 million operating budget, with a 9.6% assessment increase. The district is facing a 27.9% increase in landscaping expenses because of the economic rebound.
CDD 1 adopted a $1.8 million budget, after a 4.9% increase in assessments.
The 2013-14 fiscal year budgets take effect Oct. 1.
Contact Josh Siegel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN OTHER BUSINESS:
• Operations Director Ryan Heise introduced Town Hall’s new landscape manager, Eddie Tanguay.
• Town Hall will host a new-resident orientation at 4 p.m. Sept. 10.
• The board selected Robert Swiatek, the president of the Summerfield/Riverwalk Village Association, to replace the retiring Jean Stewart as CDD 1’s newest board member. Chairwoman June Stroup dissented in the 3-1 vote, as she expressed worry about potential conflicts of interest with Swiatek’s homeowners-association commitment.
There is no rule against serving on a CDD and HOA.
“I don’t see any conflict of interest,” Supervisor Alan Roth said. “He understands how governance in Lakewood Ranch works, and his law-enforcement experience can be useful here.”
Swiatek will report to the board in September and keep his position for the remainder of Stewart’s term, through November 2014.
• The board gave staff the go-ahead to install six light poles at the Summerfield Park basketball courts. Estimated costs are $17,000.
CDD 2 & 5:
• CDD 2 and 5 supervisors revised the language of their palm tree-removal policy. Both districts will remove and stump grind any street palm tree that is dead. The districts will not replace the palm trees.
• The CDD 4 board picked Spectrum Underground Inc. to repair erosion near the Braden River, along a trail behind Greenbrook Adventure Park.
• The board gave Eva Rey, Town Hall executive director, approval to enforce parking rules at Town Hall. The East Manatee Fire Department officials told Rey that, during Music on Main, people are parking on Town Hall’s property in places that prevent emergency access to the building.
Rey said Town Hall will put up two signs, at both entrances to Town Hall, warning that illegal violators will be towed.
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Coats for kids
Knights of Columbus Councils are helping children in need by providing coats to children in their communities through the order’s Coats for Kids program.
Santa and his elf made a surprise stop Dec. 13, at WineStyles, in San Marco Plaza, by Harley-Davidson motorcycle, during the store’s weekly Friday night wine-tasting event.
Members and guests of the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club ventured Dec. 4 to Orlando, to view holiday decorations at the Grand Floridian and to have lunch at Downtown Disney.