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East County Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2012 5 years ago

Heritage Harbour CDD approves budget

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

HERITAGE HARBOUR — Supervisors on the Heritage Harbour South Community Development District are sticking with a new assessment methodology, despite continued opposition from the Lighthouse Cove Homeowners Association.

At a public hearing Thursday, Sept. 6, supervisors approved the methodology 3-2, with Joseph Jaudon and developer representative Tony Burdett, of Lennar, dissenting. Burdett said he believes Lennar’s original assessment methodology was OK and did not need to be changed.

Most supervisors, however, believe the new methodology, as it pertains to the district’s stormwater management system, more fairly allocates costs.

CDD supervisors also approved a roughly $454,000 operating budget that decreases assessments by about $24,000 compared to fiscal year 2012. Heritage Harbour residents can expect to see decreases of about $25 annually, despite costs associated with litigation from the 2012 assessments for Lighthouse Cove and for the Stoneybrook Golf Club, which saw the most drastic increase in assessments because of the change.

Maggie Mooney-Portale, legal counsel for the Lighthouse Cove Homeowners Association and resident Joe Ramsey in a lawsuit against CDD, pleaded the association’s case yet again and noted the association’s legal efforts would continue, unless specific concerns are addressed.

“This year’s budget has the same flawed reasons,” Mooney-Portale said at the meeting. “The HOA’s objections are no different than (before). The HOA’s objections will continue.”

Ramsey, president of the Lighthouse Cove Homeowners Association and a plaintiff in the association lawsuit against the CDD, echoed Mooney-Portale’s sentiments and raised objections to specific spending provisions in the budget, including monies set aside for sign repairs and other neighborhood-specific items.

Ultimately, supervisors removed some of those items, trimming a few thousand dollars from the Lighthouse Cove portion of the budget.

To further trim costs, Jaudon asked to remove about $33,000 from the budget that was earmarked for aquatic and wetland plants and related projects.

“I’m embarrassed to look at the lakes we planted,” he said, saying many of the new plantings had died. “They’re deplorable.”

Chairman Lee Bettes disagreed about the plants’ health, but he and other supervisors agreed to re-evaluate their landscaping program and the success of plantings through a workshop before installing any new plants new year.

The approved budget includes $38,000 to cover the costs of insurance on common area district assets such as Central Park, and about $60,000 for ongoing litigation between the CDD and Lighthouse Cove and the golf course, among other items.

In other business, supervisors voted 3-2 to put out to bid a contract for wetland and lake maintenance. The board had been slated to renew a contract ECo Consultants for services, at a cost of $97,400.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

The Sept. 6 public hearing was the last scheduled meeting of 2012 for the Heritage Harbour South Community Development District.

Chairman Lee Bettes commended CDD board members Rosalie Celio and Tony Burdett, a representative of Lennar, for their service to the community. Both will be replaced in November during the general election, at which time the board will become completely resident-controlled. New supervisors will take office in January. 

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