LAKEWOOD RANCH — When Ryan Heise says Lakewood Ranch’s control-access system is out of date, a simple palm frond illustrates his point.
With the community’s existing technology, a fallen frond, located in front of receiver, can — and has — disrupt gate communication and cause access problems for residents.
But now, contractors are installing a new $93,000 resident database and access-control system that will allow residents to access gates and facilities more reliably.
“We needed to upgrade our technology,” said Heise, operations director for the Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority. “Now, we’re going to have hardware and software supported by the manufacturer. We’re going to have less failure rates with equipment. It’s a much more efficient system.”
Contractors first will upgrade access-control equipment, including card readers, control panels and more.
Next, they will upgrade how IDA staff communicate with that system, eliminating the use of Verizon analog phone service and wireless point-to-point network to establish a network of broadband communication.
“It brings us into the 21st Century,” Heise said.
Upgrades include new transponders for eight gates within the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, including Edgewater, as well as swipe-card systems for bathroom and park facilities within Lakewood Ranch’s community development districts 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6.
The gate to enter the Edgewater community now will have a computerized guest-access log, Heise said.
New residents will receive new transponders and cards, but the new system is reverse compatible, so existing equipment will be replaced with the new technology as it fails.
Contractors will be in Lakewood Ranch off and on through the end of August completing system upgrades.
Vendors already have set up the system’s “backbone,” including fiber optics to the gatehouses and the installation of a loop reader at the Balmoral gate. Installations of new readers will begin July 30.
“Gate operations have been a challenge due to the antiquated technology,” Heise said. “The board has fully funded and budgeted these projects. We look forward to having a more efficient operating system for our gates and facilities.”
District 6 proceeds with bond refinancing
Lakewood Ranch Community Development District 6 supervisors plan to move forward with refinancing the district’s 2004A bonds — a move they expect will shave between $190 and $360 from CDD assessments.
The district postponed voting on the refinancing and continued the meeting to 9 a.m. July 31.
MBS Capital Markets and the attorney on the deal reduced their rates to help the district fill a gap of about $70,000 that makes the refinance cost feasible. Now, the CDD must find $58,000, which it likely will pay for through reserves.
Steve Zielinski, the district’s financial manager, said the current bond rate is 6.125% on a $4,905,000 bond, but Centennial Bank is offering a rate of 4.5%.
CDD 4 also plans to refinance its bonds within the next two months.
In other business:
• Town Hall Executive Assistant Kay DePaolo received a certificate of service for five years of employment. Other July anniversaries included Jan Adams (four years) and Teresa Alexander (one year).
• Supervisors adopted their $3.3 million 2015 Fiscal Year budget. An overall 5.4% increase stems primarily from a new cost-sharing agreement between CDDs 2, 5 and 6 regarding Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club gates, as well as community-wide connectivity issues.
• Supervisors approved spending about $38,000 for two new vehicles for operations. Money from the 2014 fiscal year will be used to purchase a 2014 F150 (for about $21,000) and a 2015 Nissan Frontier (for about $17,000).
• Operations Manager Ryan Heise will reissue request for proposals for a new district engineer due to poor response.
• Supervisors approved a policy for the replacement of canary date palm trees. Because the canary date palm is prone to disease, the district will replace diseased palms with alternative palms, including Medjool and Sylvester varieties, in locations where no soil-born fungus is found. If fungus is present, the district will replace the trees with a hardwood species. The district will work with neighborhood associations on replacement options.
• Based on resident concerns, Supervisor Tom Bishop asked staff to contact the golf course about potential security enhancements along Lorraine Road, where a few ungated areas exist on its property.
Supervisors approved a pond maintenance agreement with Lakewood Ranch Golf Co.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].