Amended Meeting Minutes for September 25, 2023
Community Development District
The regular meeting of Board of Supervisors of the Heritage Palms Community Development District was held on Monday, September 25, 2023 at 8 a.m. at the Heritage Palms Golf and Country Club at 10435 Washingtonia Palm Way, Fort Myers, Florida and via web conference.
Present (or attending by web conference) and constituting a quorum were:
Mike Whitten – Chair
Stan Switzer – Vice Chair
Bob Breisch – Assistant Secretary
Dennis Kane – Assistant Secretary
Also attending (or attending via web conference) were:
Cal Teague – District Manager, Premier District Management (PDM)
Gregory Urbancic – Attorney, Coleman, Yovanovich & Koester, P.A.
Christopher Dudak – Client Services Manager, PDM
James Wesoloski – HPCA Liaison
George Smothers – Resident
Chuck Rawson – Resident
The following is a summary of the discussion and actions taken at the Heritage Palms Community Development District (CDD) Board of Supervisors Meeting.
FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS Call to Order and Roll Call
The meeting was called to order, and District Manager Teague called the roll. All Board members were present, except Supervisor O’Brien. Also in attendance were Cal Teague, the District Manager, and Residents George Smothers and Chuck Rawson. Attending via web conference were Gregory Urbancic, the Attorney, James Wesoloski, HPCA Liaison and Christopher Dudak, Client Services Manager from PDM.
SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of the Agenda
On MOTION by Supervisor Kane, seconded by Vice Chair Switzer, with all in favor, the Agenda was approved, as presented.rn
THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS Audience Comments on Agenda Items
There were no Audience comments on Agenda items.
FOURTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consent Agenda
A. Items to be Pulled from Consent Section for Discussion by the Board
There were no items pulled.
B. Motion to Approve Consent Items
On MOTION by Supervisor Kane, seconded by Vice Chair Switzer, with all in favor, the Board approved all items on the Consent Agenda.
C. Consent Items
i. Draft Audit Selection Committee Meeting Minutes for August 28, 2023
ii. Draft Regular Meeting Minutes for August 28, 2023
iii. Financial Report for August 2023
iv. FEMA Reimbursement Update
Included in the packet was an invoice summary sheet, even though there have been no new expenses. Also included in the packet was a memo from FEMA, which had been placed in the portal used for FEMA communication, and a draft response composed by staff. The FEMA memo stated that their representative’s attempt to access the community was denied, and it appears that FEMA is preparing a possible denial based on a claim that CDD’s are not open to nor serve the public at large, which is a requirement for reimbursement for public entities. This appears to be a change in their policy since Hurricane Irma. The draft response stated that the guards should have not denied them entrance, and the draft response also included a letter that was sent to FEMA after Hurricane Irma, stating that the community is open to the public. The Board suggested contacting Dan Davis of Heritage Palms security and explaining the post orders on general public and non-resident access to the community, specifying that non-residents and non-guests of residents cannot be turned away, although scans of driver’s licenses and photos of license plates could be obtained. The Board also asked if they identified themselves as FEMA representatives when they tried to gain access, and it is not known if they did or did not. Attorney Urbancic commented that the City of Fort Myers may require post orders, which govern access, and the Board may have modified the HOA agreement in response to this. Staff will review the HOA/CDD maintenance agreement to clarify what it may say regarding access.
D. Consideration of Items Pulled for Discussion
FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Attorney
A. Halperin Bromley Lane Fence Repair Legal Pursuit Update
Attorney Urbancic and staff have received no response from the Halperin since the last response letter received on July 28, 2023, in which Halperin denied his culpability for damaging the CDD fence. Attorney Urbancic believes that the cost of litigation could be prohibitive and that only the cost of damages could likely be recovered, as the legal fees are not recoverable by law and the engineering fees may only be recoverable if it can be established that the engineering work was required to assess the damages. He suggests that all repair work should be completed, so that the exact costs can be determined before litigation is initiated. In a response to the Board, Attorney Urbancic stated that small claims court is only an option if the amount sought is less than $8,000, which is less than the cost of the repairs by almost half. He estimates the cost of litigation is in the $5,000 -$10,000 range. Even if there is a favorable judgement, collecting the money could be an issue. Nevertheless, any demands can written into another letter. The Board agreed to have Attorney Urbancic send another letter when the fence repair is complete, and the final cost is obtained. He noted that there are 4 years under the Statute of Limitations to pursue litigation. The Board agreed to discuss this further at the next meeting.
SIXTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Engineer
A. Roadway Milling and Paving Project Update
Engineer Marshall could not attend, so District Manager Teague and Chair Whitten updated the Board on the status of the project. They stated that the road work will be from October 15th through October 20th. When speaking with the HOA, the HOA stated that they were concerned about community access through the gates, so it was determined that the construction will be at night between 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., with the ingress and egress routed through other gates. It was noted that the Winkler gate is broken, so it may need to be propped open.
B. Slow Drainage on Heritage Palm Estates Drive
The Board, Field Manager Pepin, and Engineer Marshall had received a copy of the drain scoping videos (ROV), and Engineer Marshall will review them and comment at the next meeting. The report detailing blockages was reviewed and discussed during item 7A.
SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Old Business
A. HP Estates Drive Stormwater System Scoping Results
The Board had reviewed the scoping video and report, which only showed a 40% blockage in two of the lines further downstream between 3 to 3A and from 3A to L11C. The other areas scoped were about 10% blocked, which was not believed to be poor enough to account for slow drainage. There was a question about the possibility that the pipes may be too small in circumference. As stated earlier in the meeting, Engineer Marshall will provide his opinion at the next meeting.
B. Cane Toad Preventive Program Options
Supervisor Breisch reviewed his efforts to recruit volunteers for the purpose of hunting cane toads in the community in the evenings. He had reviewed a report from Dr. Ernesto de la Vega which described the efforts of other communities that remove cane toads. He stated that, after he returns from vacation, he will send a letter to the office to be distributed to the community, which will describe the program and to hopefully elicit volunteers. Chair Whitten stated that he had heard that cane toads can be active all winter, although Field Manager Pepin had previously stated that they are dormant in the winter. Chair Whitten also stated that he had observed a couple cane toads as he drove through the community, and he has talked with some residents who are interested in volunteering. This will be further discussed at the next meeting.
C. Lakes Maintenance Concerns
Field Manager Pepin had observed from his inspection that several lakes are in poor condition, and there was still a high presence of torpedo grass, alligator weed, 5′ tall primrose willow and water lettuce. He stated that FloridAquatic was made aware of this, and the owner Tim Farrell stated that he would increase his company’s efforts. Field Manager Pepin felt that FloridAquatic is struggling to maintain Heritage Palms at a standard that the community expects. If conditions do not improve soon, he would suggest that the Board request bids from other vendors, and the Board discussed how long they will wait. Chair Whitten expressed his concern and stated that there should be immediate improvement. It was decided that Field Manager Pepin will monitor FloridAquatic’s performance, and the Board is open to change vendors in the future.
D. Proposal to ROV the Remaining Stormwater Lines in the Lower Half of Heritage Palms
District Manager Teague stated that an estimate of $8,000 had been received to ROV the remainder of the stormwater system. There was discussion on the design and effectiveness of that section of the system. The Board decided to delay their decision until Engineer Marshall inspects the area and provides his opinion.
EIGHTH ORDER OF BUSINESS New Business
A. Proposal to ROV the Stormwater Lines in the Upper Half of Heritage Palms
District Manager Teague reported that an estimate of $59,600 had been received for the ROV of the upper half of the community. The Board decided to delay their decision until Engineer Marshall provides his opinion. The Board wanted to ensure that a proposal to clean the two sections with 40% blockages is pursued and to ascertain whether the District should consider increasing pipe size or adding another swale to increase the outflow of the area. District Manager Teague stated that Field Manager Pepin has requested proposals.
B. Resolution 2023-07: Fiscal Year 2024 Meeting Schedule
District Manager Teague presented the Fiscal Year 2024 meeting schedule, which was in the packet, and stated that the December meeting was moved to the 18th, because the regular meeting would fall on Christmas day.
On MOTION by Supervisor Kane, seconded by Supervisor Breisch, with all in favor, the Board accepted Resolution 2023-07 setting the Fiscal Year 2024 meeting dates, as presented.
C. Discussion on Request to Take Over Electricity Billing on Lakes 8 and 22 Fountains
The HOA is requesting that the CDD assume the electrical payments for the 2 fountains. It was pointed out that the CDD bought, installed, and maintains these two fountains. Some Board members felt that the HOA had agreed to pay for the electrical usage, because it was easier and less expensive to connect the fountains to their existing service. After staff reviewed the minutes and agreements, District Manager Teague stated that there is no record of this understanding. Supervisor Breisch stated that he does not see the need to change from the status quo. It was decided that Chair Whitten will approach the Facilities Manager and find out how formal this request is, and if he can or will remove it from discussion.
NINTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Field Manager
A. Current Field Management Report
Field Manager Pepin’s report was reviewed, and the following was discussed:
Supervisor Breisch commented that the spikerush on Lake 7 is dying, and he had pictures. He suggested the removal of the dead material, so he can more easily take samples for the pond watch. District Manager Teague will ask Field Manager Pepin to have this completed.
It was stated that the reference to the well end of Lake 2 is actually Lake 22.
A resident complained to Chair Whitten that bacopa from Lake 33 is spreading into their yard. Chair Whitten stated that he spoke with Field Manager Pepin and District Manager Teague, and this will be addressed. He also suggested that the resident could treat the bacopa while they are waiting for Field Manager Pepin to address it.
There have been complaints from residents, and the Board also expressed concern, about the slow progress of the fence repairs.
i. Fence Issues Log
District Manager Teague stated that the field report included an update on fence repairs. It stated that Carter Fence was onsite for just over a week completing the fence repairs, and they completed approximately 40% of the repairs on the list. Field Manager Pepin was told that they will be returning on October 20th to resume the repairs.
B. Follow Up Items
i. Raking/Removing Salvinia and Algae from Worst Lakes
Field Manager Pepin reported that the task is complete, and he has observed improvement in the lakes.
ii. Sidewalk, Curb, and Gutter Concrete Repair
The contractor is onsite and the project is progressing.
iii. Trimming Littorals on Lake 7 for Pond Watch Access
FloridAquatic sprayed the littorals, and Field Manager Pepin stated that it will take some time for them to die. For access to gab samples for pond watch from Lake 7 the spikerush should be more open. The area needed is approximately 4’ X 4’ and there is dead spikerush all over this area. Chuck Rawson stated that he is available to coordinate with Field Manager Pepin, and District Manager Teague will relay this to him.
iv. 2A, 2B, 23, 24, 26, L1, L2, L3, L4, L5, L12 Aeration Repairs Update
Field Manager Pepin reports that the proposal was signed and returned on September 14th, and Premier Lakes is currently waiting for the backordered compressor to come in. They anticipate that they will be receiving the compressor in early October, and all repairs will be completed then. The Board wondered if an inventory of parts can be stockpiled, and District Manager Teague will ask Field Manager Pepin to provide his opinion on the feasibility of this approach.
TENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS District Manager
District Manager Teague had nothing further to report.
ELEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS H.O.A. Report
The HOA had nothing to report.
TWELFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Supervisor Reports, Requests, and Comments
Supervisor Kane expressed concern that the Winkler gate is down so often. Chair Whitten stated that his Georgia community has the same gate system and had similar problems, and they finally replaced their gate controller. Jim Wesoloski gave the names of individuals to contact for addressing the problem.
Vice Chair Switzer commented on his problems with Summit Broadband, which is an HOA service.
Supervisor Breisch commented on the poor lighting in the Penzance area and stated that this had been previously discussed. He wondered if it were an FPL issue or if the CDD can address it. Chair Whitten stated that it has been an issue since Hurricane Irma, and Joni has been working with FPL on the issue. Jim Wesoloski stated that they should contact Tracy and copy him, and he will follow up with Tracy, as the HOA manages this.
THIRTEENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Audience Comments
George Smothers commented that he believes it is critical to maintain the drains in the stormwater system. He also commented that the work on the roofing project will be taking place at the same time as the roadway project, and the contractors need to be aware.
Chair Whitten commented that he believes that additional pipes to the lake might help with the drainage in Heritage Palms Estates.
FOURTEENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Adjournment
On MOTION by Supervisor Kane, seconded by Supervisor Breisch, with all in favor, the Board agreed to adjourn at 9:45 a.m.
The Next Regular Meeting is October 23, 2023 at 8:00 a.m.