Meeting Minutes for August 28, 2023
Community Development District
The regular meeting of Board of Supervisors of the Heritage Palms Community Development District was held on Monday, August 28, 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)
Melissa Gindling – Assistant District Manager, PDM
Sam Marshall – Engineer, Banks Engineering
Chris Pepin – Field Manager, Community Field Services
Christopher Dudak – Client Services Manager, PDM
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 Assistant District Manager Gindling called the roll. All Board members were present, except Supervisor O’Brien. Also in attendance were Melissa Gindling, the Assistant District Manager, Sam Marshall, the Engineer, and Several Residents. Attending via web conference were Cal Teague, the District Manager, Chris Pepin, the Field Manager, Christopher Dudak, Client Services Manager from PDM and Some Residents.
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 Fiscal Year 2024 Budget and O&M Special Assessment Public Hearing
A. Consideration of Final Budget
District Manager Teague stated that there is no increase in assessments, and there is some discretionary spending available.
Chair Whitten opened the Public Hearing at 8:06 a.m.
George Smothers commented that he hoped the Board would take into consideration the aging of the community and its infrastructure as they plan their budget.
Chair Whitten closed the Public Hearing at 8:08 a.m.
B. Consideration of Assessment Rates
There was no increase or decrease in assessment rates.
C. Resolution 2023-05 Adopting FY 2024 Budget
On MOTION by Supervisor Kane, seconded by Supervisor Breisch, with all in favor, the Board approved Resolution 2023-05 adopting the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget.
D. Resolution 2023-06 Approving FY 2024 Assessment Levy
On MOTION by Supervisor Breisch, seconded by Vice Chair Switzer, with all in favor, the Board approved Resolution 2023-06 adopting the Fiscal Year 2024 Assessment Levy.
FIFTH 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 Regular Meeting Minutes for July 24, 2023
ii. Financial Report for July 2023
iii. FEMA Reimbursement Update
Staff reported that FEMA is still reviewing claim eligibility. There was discussion on FEMA’s process for determining eligibility, the timetable for reimbursement and the amount that will be reimbursed.
D. Consideration of Items Pulled for Discussion
SIXTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Attorney
A. Halperin Bromley Lane Fence Repair Demand Letter Update
There was discussion on the response letter from Mr. Halperin, when he stated that he was being blackmailed. The Board decided that they will send him a letter stating that if he does not pay, the CDD will file a lawsuit. Supervisor Breisch stated that the Board’s request for reimbursement for the fence, engineering and legal expenses was not blackmail, but it was a statement of intent, and the suit will include the complaint of libel. Chair Whitten also clarified statements that Mr. Halperin had made in his response letter.
The Board requested that Field Manager Pepin determine the location of the fence installation, and they asked that it be installed no closer than 3 feet to the property line. There was also discussion on the resolution of a code violation and the potential of filing another.
On MOTION by Vice Chair Switzer, seconded by Supervisor Kane, with all in favor, the Board approved the restoration of the fence, authorizing the Attorney to file legal action, demanding payment from the property owner for the damage to the fence, and legal and engineering expenses which the District has incurred to date, not to exceed $20,000.
SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Engineer
A. Roadway Milling and Paving Project Update
Engineer Marshall stated that they have received all of the permits except the Right of Way permit from the County, and he expects that it will be received in the near future.
He also stated that he has begun gathering information for the NPDES annual report, which is due in October.
Resident Cisco Navas was present, and he discussed his concerns with the flooding and slow drainage on the street near his home, and he presented photos which illustrated the flooding. Chair Whitten also stated that he had taken photos of the flooding in the Enclave after a recent rain event, and he stated that the water had dissipated after about one hour. There was also discussion concerning the heavy pooling of water near storm drains on Heritage Palm Estates Drive and the structure and function of the stormwater management system. They discussed what the next step should be, and Engineer Marshall advised that he would like to see the full report from MRI concerning their recent cleaning of the stormwater system, and he would also prefer to gauge the lake levels to see if any lakes are not flowing correctly. Field Manager Pepin also suggested visually inspecting the pipes. The Board decided to visually inspect the system, and Engineer Marshall will communicate with Greg Kreisch concerning the locations and availability of rain gauges and their readings. He will also explore other options for resolving the issue.
EIGHTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Old Business
A. Cane Toad Preventive Program Options
Chair Whitten stated that a resident had informed him that she had seen cane toads, and he went out at night and captured 9 toads. He brought them to the meeting, and with Field Manager Pepin’s assistance, they identified at least 3 cane toads from that group. Field Manager Pepin stated that using traps has been successful, and retrieval by a team could also be effective, if the residents are aware that the volunteers will be in their yards.
Field Manager Pepin stated that cane toads are present in the warm, humid months, and they hibernate in the winter. He has removed the traps at that time of year, but the majority of communities he works with keep the traps out year around.
From information Supervisor Breisch received, he is in favor of a volunteer patrol, and he believes it should be the community’s program and not that of the CDD. Vice Chair Switzer stated that the first step is informing the community about the issue, and that the CDD is working on a plan of action.
The Board decided to table this until it can be determined if there are volunteers. Supervisor Breisch will speak with members of the HOA and discuss putting together a volunteer team to hunt the cane toads.
B. Field Camera Options near Cut Fence by Lake L-6 Outfall Structure
Field Manager Pepin presented 2 options for installing a trail camera, and the Board selected the option that does not include cell service.
On MOTION by Vice Chair Switzer, seconded by Supervisor Kane, with all in favor, the Board authorized the Field Manager to purchase and install a field camera near the cut fence by the L-6 outfall structure, not to exceed $100.
C. Lakes Maintenance Concerns
Chair Whitten and Field Manager Pepin had spoken with Tim Ferrell from FloridAquatic and expressed their dissatisfaction with the condition of the lakes and the slow completion of lake maintenance tasks. Tim acknowledged that they were behind and stated that he has begun sending out two technicians the last two months. Field Manager Pepin is encouraged by the progress, and he noted that they had not charged the CDD for the Trexor harvester they recently used. The Board decided to further evaluate the contractor after they receive Field Manager Pepin’s next report.
Field Manager Pepin noted that a cable on the Lake 8 fountain was nicked while the new islands by the Golf Course were being installed, so he asked the CDD’s contractor to move the fountain further from the island to prevent this in the future.
NINTH ORDER OF BUSINESS New Business
A. Audit Selection Committee Recommendation
Proposals had been received from Berger, Toombs, Elam, Gaines & Frank and Grau & Associates, and the Board approved the audit selection committee’s recommendation of Grau & Associates for auditor.
On MOTION by Supervisor Kane, seconded by Vice Chair Switzer, with all in favor, the Board approved Grau & Associates as auditor for the District Board of Supervisors.
TENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Field Manager
A. Current Field Management Report
Field Manager Pepin reviewed his report, and the following was discussed:
Chris stated that the lakes are in fair to good condition, and they are treating water lettuce and torpedo grass in the lakes. He noted that FloridAquatic has been making more progress on lake maintenance, and he will continue to monitor their work.
Chris stated that aerator maintenance is performed semi-annually. He has noticed that there are a number of diffusers which need to be addressed, and he will remind Premier Lakes to repair the broken aerator on Lake 15.
He stated that he will ask for a proposal for a video inspection of the north side of the stormwater drain system.
Chair Whitten mentioned that he cleared out a drain on Gator Palm, which had extensive vegetation clippings.
B. Follow Up Items
i. Lake 14 Rip Rap Extend to Existing at Cart Bridge
This project is complete.
ii. Stormwater System Cleaning
MRI has completed this project.
The Board approved a video inspection of the drains in Heritage Palm Estates Drive, which had been discussed earlier.
On MOTION by Supervisor Kane, seconded by Supervisor Breisch, with all in favor, the Board approved a video inspection of the drains in Heritage Palm Estates Drive, not to exceed $1,500.
iii. Raking/Removing Salvinia and Algae from Worst Lakes
Field Manager Pepin reported that FloridAquatic manually removed the dead Salvinia from Lake 10 and the algae from Lake 2 with their Truxor harvester on August 17th.
iv. Sidewalk, Curb, and Gutter Concrete Repair
Chris stated that they will soon be pouring concrete. He has noted some trip hazards, and he will get a proposal for the repair.
v. Trimming Littorals on Lake 7 for Pond Watch Access
Field Manager Pepin stated that he had requested the contractor to spread out the spike rush on Lake L-7 to assist with water sampling. He stated that they will also kill of a portion of the spike rush, because it grows so quickly.
ELEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS District Manager
District Manager Teague had nothing further to report.
TWELFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS H.O.A. Report
George Smothers commented that he would like to see the video or photos from the storm drain cleaning. Field Manager Pepin commented that some areas were ROV-ed back in September, and he will share the report.
THIRTEENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Supervisor Reports, Requests, and Comments
Chair Whitten commented on the leak in the sidewalk on Wine Palm, and stated that he had reported it.
FOURTEENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Audience Comments
There were no Audience comments.
FIFTEENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Adjournment
On MOTION by Supervisor Kane, seconded by Supervisor Breisch, with all in favor, the Board agreed to adjourn at 11:02 a.m.
The Next Regular Meeting is September 25, 2023 at 8:00 a.m.