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Tara Preserve seeks better financial plan

Chairman says CDD has veered from its five-year budget and needs a return to that strategy.

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  • | 4:40 a.m. March 2, 2016
  • East County
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After Tara Preserve residents complained about a plethora of lily pads in their ponds Feb. 23, Aquatic Systems brought the board a proposal.

Aquatic Systems, the maintenance company for Tara Preserve Community Development District's water systems, could perform a one-time application of a herbicide to eat away the current lily pads. The application would cost $2,225, and then lily pad control would be added into the company’s monthly maintenance routine.

While the amount might have seemed negligible, any kind of expenditures are being examined closely by the CDD.  The CDD’s contingency fund currently sits at $15,000.

The board decided to spend the money to treat the lily pads.

In the same meeting, the board voted to suspend 13 projects slated to begin this year in order to save money. Some of the projects included new landscape gardens, signage and pond aerators. The total cost of the slashed projects would have been between $100,000 and $200,000.

John Schmidt, chairman of the board, said starting in March when the board begins its budget planning, he will be re-instituting a five-year budget plan for projects.

Schmidt joined the board in 2008. When he first started, the CDD ran with a five-year plan, he said. However, the board began to get off-track with un-budgeted expenses, he said, and when new members were elected or appointed they came with new ideas.

“What happens is a supervisor has a new idea, and we say ‘well we didn’t budget for that,’ and (find funds)’,” he said. “So then we drop out of the five-year plan and the budget goes into turmoil.”

With a 15-year-old infrastructure, the community has some important financial decisions to make.

Schmidt said he can use his own home as an example. He recently had to replace his water heater, he said. The community center’s water heater is 15 years old.

He said sticking with a five-year plan will keep the board from having to raise assessments.

“With a five-year plan, we can be more assured to keep within budgetary guidelines and not have a tax increase,” he said.