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East County Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010 8 years ago

Residents concerned with changes

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — With vehicle burglaries on the rise, Greenbrook resident Ray Dumont is convinced now, more than ever, safety should be a No. 1 priority in Lakewood Ranch.

He and a handful of other residents attended Community Development District meetings last week to raise concerns about Lakewood Ranch’s new security providers, which assumed the duties of Wackenhut Corp. Jan. 15.

Allegiance Security Group is providing security for CDDs 1 and 4, while U.S. Security Associates is now providing security in CDD 5.

“I’m self-employed and I don’t see them coming through the neighborhood,” Dumont said of Allegiance. “I just want to see a presence. I have two kids and I want to make sure security, at least, stays equal, if not better.”

Supervisors were quick to assure residents the new contractors are charged with providing the same level of service Wackenhut provided. The one major difference, however, is the new security company will not have armed patrolmen.

“All the standards they had in their previous contract are the same,” said Ryan Heise, director of Town Hall operations.

The Greenbrook Homeowners Association had shared Dumont’s concerns that the new CDD 4 contract with Allegiance was not up to the same standards as Wackenhut’s contract, but HOA board member Joe Sidiski said he was relieved to learn the company will continue to do patrols of individual neighborhoods and would be taking phone calls from residents who wished to report suspicious behavior or other incidents.

In fact, CDD 1 and 4 residents now have access to three phone numbers for Allegiance security, including the one to the patrolman on duty.

“We wanted to make sure we didn’t lose anything through this competitive bid process,” Sidiski said. “We looked at the situation and realized we had incomplete information.”

Dumont and Sidiski said they favored armed patrols and that several members of the Greenbrook Safety Committee felt they had not been included in the process of choosing new providers or deciding what services were necessary.

Supervisors said a representative of each CDD serves on the safety committee, and the board made its decision based on feedback from residents.

Country Club resident Steve Baron also requested the regular monitoring of the cameras at the gates of the Country Club be included in security contracts. Heise said that issue is one of the security provider’s new responsibilities.

In Other Business

• The board approved an amendment to the landscaping plan for the southeast corner of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and State Road 70 that will provide for better visibility for a doctor’s office located there.


• Town Hall Director of Operations Ryan Heise briefed supervisors on an upcoming wetland-maintenance program that will begin in their district before spreading to other CDDs.

• Supervisors voted unanimously to move forward with litigation against two contractors, concerning storm drains that may have been installed improperly.

The board’s attorney said to budget around $85,000 for litigation.

• Repairs to four storm drains in Orchid Island, Vilamoura and Portmarnock are either completed or under way, but resulting repairs to the roadway are needed. Supervisors voted 3-2 to spend extra money to have the contractors pave across the entire width of the road, rather than in smaller sections.

• Supervisors agreed to a request by Mizner Reserve residents to install two street lamps within their neighborhood. The installation of the lamps will be included in the 2011 budget.

• The board agreed to move forward with efforts to acquire property from Schroeder-Manatee Ranch for a new operations office. The district’s attorney will draft a deal for the property, making its purchase contingent on results of a feasibility study.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

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