BULLETIN ARTICLES RELATED TO THE PROJECT-WIDE AGREEMENT
(BULLETIN AUGUST 2011)

"PROJECT WIDE AGREEMENT"

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES




The POA, as a "watchdog" organization with regard to residents' interests, is currently reviewing the Project Wide Agreement in place for the districts south of CR 466. At approximately $6M per year, this is a significant expense item and needs to be reviewed periodically to assure that it is accomplishing the intended purpose.

Those of you living south of CR 466 may have heard of the Project Wide Agreement or seen the "project wide fee" line item in your numbered Community Development District (CDD) budget. The "project wide" concept has also come up for consideration a few times recently at AAC budget workshop meetings and a CDD3 meeting. Let us take a little more detailed look at the Agreement and review some of what we see as advantages and possible disadvantages of the Project Wide Agreement in use South of CR 466 in its present format, from a resident's perspective.

On August 29, 2003, the SLCDD Board (developer elected) and the CDD5 Board (developer elected at the time) entered into an interlocal agreement identified as the PROJECT WIDE AGREEMENT, stating that its purpose was to provide that the expense of maintaining (certain, listed) project wide improvements is shared equitably among all Districts within the area subject to the Agreement. Over time, the agreement has been amended to now include CDDs 6, 7 and 8 (SR 466A north to CR 466) and the improvements to be maintained now include landscaped rights of way (Buena Vista, Morse, CR 466 and CR 466A) including street lighting, entry features (CR 466 and CR 466A), lakes, shorelines, conservation, storm water retention and buffer areas, roads and bridges, transportation/recreation trails and tunnels. CDD 9 will be included in the fiscal year 2011-12 budget and CDD 10 will be added sometime in the future.

First, some definitions:

The SLCDD is the Sumter Landing Community Development District. Its governing board is elected by the landowners in the Sumter Landing commercial area, primarily the developer. Like all CDDs, it is a unit of special purpose government under Florida Statute - Chapter 190.

Numbered CDDs, such as CDDs 5 - 8 are also units of special purpose government. Initially their governing boards are elected by the developer but over time, as residents move in, the residents become the electors.

Interlocal agreement - Under Florida Statute 163.01 (2) governmental entities can enter into "interlocal" agreements on "a basis of mutual advantage"; 163.01 (5) (f) provides for a method or formula for "equitably' providing for and allocating and financing the capital, operating costs and reserve funds.

Assessable acreage - Within a CDD, certain lands are considered "assessable" meaning they are part of the tax assessment base such as homes and yards and commercial buildings, while other lands within the CDD, such as nature preserves, road right-of-ways, and storm water retention areas are not assessable for tax purposes, but their operating costs are assessed via the annual maintenance fee assessed on each home site or business.

1) CDDs 5 - 8, approximately 92% of their acreage is assessable meaning only 8% of their land mass is not maintained by the residents individually. The cost of maintaining this 8% is covered by the annual CDD maintenance fee assessed against each home site. 2) For the SLCDD however, less than 18% of the acreage (commercial properties) is assessable, meaning that the cost of maintaining 82% of the property in the SLCDD is covered by their annual CDD maintenance fee assessment.

The Agreement states that "The actual cost of maintaining the Project Wide Improvements shall be allocated among all the Community Development Districts within the Project based upon the proportion of assessable acreage each District represents to the total assessable acreage within the project." If the Florida statute requires "equitable" sharing of maintenance expenses for the listed improvements, based on 'mutual advantage', then the use of total non-assessable acreage, as opposed to assessable acreage may be a more equitable allocation tool in this situation. For example, under the current formula, assuming the project wide improvement funds are spent on the non-assessable acreage, during the current budget year, the SLCDD contains 49% of the total acreage needing maintenance assessments (non-assessable acreage) while the combined total of all of the non-assessable acreages for CDDs 5 - 8 contained 51% of the total acreage needing maintenance assessments. Yet, under the current formula CDD 5 - 8 residents paid 98.36% ($5,951,188) of the total Project Wide Improvement assessment, while the SLCDD paid only 1.64% ($94,498). It is also important that participating entities are similar in structure; maybe mixing residential needs with commercial needs is not a good idea.

Additionally, only charging property owners within the development districts does not cover all benefitting parties. The next time you have a chance, look at a map of your numbered district. You probably expect to see a plot of land that is roughly bounded on four sides. In actuality you will see a plot that more closely resembles a slice of Swiss cheese. Several large parcels of land, other than homes and roads, have been cut out of the numbered district so that they will not be subject to district infrastructure bonds or infrastructure maintenance assessments that the residential homeowners are subject to. These excluded parcels enjoy just as much benefit from the infrastructure created (storm water retention areas, main road right-of-way lighting and landscaping, conservation areas, etc.), but paid nothing for its creation and pay nothing for its maintenance and replacement. They are the shopping center lands and other commercial ventures, country clubs, and property that will become recreation centers, pools and executive golf courses, none of which are or will be contributing to the project wide funding.

Sharing of maintenance expenses across development districts can be a great idea - for example where the item being maintained is used by all districts but located in just one of the districts. Recreation trails and tunnels are good examples. They are utilized by all residents irrespective of where they live. While the initial construction cost of these trails was paid for by the residents of the numbered district wherein each trail section is physically located, it seems reasonable for the maintenance cost of the total trail system and tunnels to be allocated based on the number of roof tops in the total area (i.e. CDDs 5 - 8) since we all use them and benefit from their proper maintenance.

Questions regarding the current project wide application begin to surface when you start to include unique maintenance items that only benefit a particular district or entity. Why include the Lake Sumter Landing Lighthouse ? Why include the Lake Sumter Landing Market Square which is owned by the amenity division of the SLCDD ? (The amenity system does not pay any part of the project wide expense and receives rental revenue 365 days per year for the square from the developer's entertainment department.) Why include conservation areas which are located outside of all of the Districts in a system that allocates expense based on assessable acreage when these lands are not assessable? For example, the SLCDD (on behalf of the commercial property owners or the amenity system) can accept the deed to a preserve or conservation area from the developer, and then have the project wide agreement cover the cost of maintenance of this property, almost all of which then falls on the CDD 5-8 residents.

The cost of most of the maintenance items within the project wide agreement are reasonably easy to estimate, as the districts north of CR 466 have been doing so for many years. While it would be difficult to determine the impact of nature (sink hole activity, etc.) in any given year, such costs could be estimated and reserved for as CDDs 1-4 currently do. By estimating each district's expenses, each district should end up paying its "standalone" amount minus a savings for any economies of scale resulting from the combining of the contracts across multiple districts. Clearly if there is no savings from such a pooling, the districts would be better off on their own where they can have clearer visibility of where their funds are being spent. If the suggestion is that there is no ability to estimate expenses by district, another alternative would be to use total acreage rather than assessable acreage, but it should include all benefitting properties - numbered districts, the SLCDD (both commercial and amenity acreage) and all other properties in the DRI (development of regional impact) that were specifically excluded from being in a development district. For example, Sweetbay Supermarket which was excluded from the boundaries of the SLCDD acknowledges the benefit it receives from the project wide improvements - storm water retention ponds, right-of-way lighting and landscaping, bridges, tunnels and trails - and voluntarily pays approximately $4,000 per year to the project wide fund. Should the Arnold Palmer Country Club, the Cane Garden Country Club and the Mallory Hill Country Club, like Sweetbay, also contribute something since they receive these same benefits ? Should all properties owned/operated by the amenity system be included in the amenity division's total acreage and the entity that receives amenity fee payments provide the appropriate amount to the project wide fund? If the right-of-way landscaping and street lights along the main roads are to be maintained via a project wide assessment, should not all property owners on those main roads be asked to make an appropriate contribution as was Sweetbay, even if they are recreational amenity facilities, commercial buildings or privately owned country clubs?

When residents first began to serve on the CDD4 board, they discovered that CDD4 residents were paying the total bill for the maintenance of the CR42 right-of-way even though CDD4 had only about 25% of the land fronting on CR 42. As a result of negotiations with the other property owners with CR 42 frontage, the maintenance expense is now shared between the Lopez Country Club, the VCCDD (Mulberry Rec Center frontage), the professional building owners, the Mulberry Shopping Center tenants and CDD4 residents. These other entities are not located in CDD4 or any other development district, but they NOW contribute to the maintenance expense that they all benefit from.

The current practice of utilizing assessable acreage as the allocator appears to shift additional expense to residents of CDDs 5 - 10. Storm water retention areas, nature preserves, conservation areas and main road right-of-ways create most of the expense in the project wide agreement but are generally not assessable acreage, so the expense "driver" is not tied to the expense "payer". Further, not including all commercial property within the DRI in the Project Wide Agreement, simply because the district boundaries were intentionally drawn around them, seems inappropriate. Residents pay amenity fees and these should be used to maintain the recreational facilities including their fair share of right-of-way maintenance (as Mulberry Rec Center does). Does this additional expense cause residents to pay more and/or get less for their numbered district maintenance assessments, which must cover the maintenance of the common lands and facilities within their specific district, many of which are not included in the project wide agreement?

Does the pooling of maintenance efforts in this project wide plan provide a visible savings to the numbered districts versus what it would cost them on their own? Certainly it should not cost them more. In next month's Bulletin, we will provide some facts and figures that can help you understand the financial impact of the current project wide maintenance agreement on both the residents and the commercial property owners.


Return





BULLETIN ARTICLES RELATED TO THE PROJECT-WIDE AGREEMENT
(BULLETIN AUGUST 2011)

"PROJECT WIDE"

PART 2


This month we will continue our review of the Project Wide Agreement in place for property maintenance south of CR 466. Last month we reviewed what the agreement covers and how the expenses are allocated to the participating districts. This month we will look at how maintenance expenses for the numbered districts north of CR 466, which do not have project wide sharing, compare to those south of CR 466.

The primary responsibilities of all the numbered districts are maintenance of the common property within their district boundaries, their storm water system, entry way annuals and signage, villa walls, roadways and signage, recreation trails and tunnels and district boundary fencing. The numbered districts are all quite similar even though they vary by size from less than 900 acres for District 3 to almost 1500 acres for District 6. Many of the expenses for numbered districts, such as Personnel & Professional Services, Accounting & Auditing, Postage, Rentals & Leases, Insurance, Printing & Binding, Permits & Licenses and Legal Advertising, are roughly the same for each district and are little affected by the size of the district. Expenses such as Operating Supplies, Capital Outlays and Renewal & Replacement Reserves can vary with size of the district, but vary greatly from year to year as specific projects are undertaken in particular years. Other expenses such as Utilities Service (electricity & irrigation water) and Landscape & Repairs are a function of the size of a district (the area to be maintained, illuminated and irrigated).

Chart 1 below shows the eight (8) numbered districts that currently have significant residential populations (of the ten districts planned for The Villages). The disbursement expenses from the 2010-11 Budgets are shown grouped by the categories described in the previous paragraph. All numbered districts are responsible for maintenance of their villa roads, but only CDD4 (in Marion County) is responsible for maintenance of all their residential roadways. For that reason, the non-villa roads portion of the Road Maintenance R&R expense has been removed from the CDD4 expense shown, for comparison purposes. Also, only 33% of the CR42 maintenance expense is included in the CDD4 Landscape and Repairs entry since 67% is reimbursed to the District by other benefitting parties.


CCD1

CCD2

CDD3

CDD4


CDD5

CDD6

CDD7

CDD8


Personnel Services

19,611

19,611

13,946

26148


10,417

11,767

0

0

Professional Services>

236,956

274,649

234,784

293,315


289,168

267,681

222,230

258,016

Accounting & Auditing

10,654

10,654

10,654

10,654


10,654

10,654

10,654

20,450

Other Contract Services

183

183

183

183


183

183

0

0

Travel & Per Diem

5,000

1848

800

1,200


5,000

1,000

1,000

0

Postage & Misc. Charges

1,500

2,225

2,500

1,000


1,800

2,200

2,000

2,000

Rentals & Leases

500

1,000

1,500

1,000


500

1,000

0

0

Insurance

5,000

5,000

4,500

5,000


5,000

5,000

5,000

5,000

Printing & Binding

500

500

500

1,000


100

500

500

0

Permits & Licenses

250

250

250

250


250

250

250

250

Legal Advertising

2,200

2,200

2,200

1,500


1,500

2,000

1,500

4,000

subtotal

282,334

318,120

271,817

341,250


324,572

302,235

243,134

289,716










Operating Supplies

8,000

13,750

13,500

7,000


2,500

1,000

1,500

1,000

Capital Outlay

162,476

0

155,408

0


106,731

0

0

125,000

Villa Roads R&R*

0

0

0

78,794


450,000

0

0

0

General R&R

0

0

0

0


0

0

0

500,000

subtotal

170,476

13,750

168,908

85,794


559,231

1,000

1,500

626,000










Utilities Services

139,100

165,000

177,000

208,600


306,000

289,700

159,400

218,000

Landscape & Repairs**

398,500

411,925

503,550

846,290


328,600

431,775

189,857

215,000

Project Wide Expense

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a


1,647,034

1,829,992

1,164,865

1,309,297

subtotal

537,600

567,925

680,550

1,054,890


2,281,634

2,551,467

1,514,122

1,742,297










TOTAL   (1)

990,410

899,795

1,121,275

1,481,934


3,165,437

2,854,702

1,758,756

2,658,013










District Acreage   (2)

998

989

894

1,187


1,406

1,496

976

1,098








Total Expense
per Acre   (1)/(2)

$992

$910

$1,254

$1,248


$2,251

$1,908

$1,802

$2,421



NOTES:

*    For comparison purposes, the CDD4 amount shown is 24% of total Road Maintenance R&R (villa portion only).

**   Amount shown for CDD4 includes 33% of the total CR42 expense since CDD4 is reimbursed 67% of the expense by other benefitting parties.





As shown in Chart 1, the first group of expenses is relatively similar for all districts, since they are little impacted by the size of the district. The second group of expenses varies dramatically depending on what projects a particular district is undertaking in the budget year and whether there are other special situations. For example, CDD8 is still developing and their budget includes $500,000 to significantly increase their General Reserves. This amount is likely to decline substantially in subsequent annual budgets as the reserves reach desired levels, as they have in the other numbered districts. Similarly, CDD6 has included $450,000 for a Villa Road reserve fund and several districts have provided for specific projects requiring capital outlays this year. It is the third group of expenses that we should focus on as they represent a major portion of each district's budget and are the items most noticeable to residents.


CHART 2

CDD 1 - 8 DISBURSEMENTS (2010-11 Final Budgets)

UTILITIES SERVICES, LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE & REPAIRS and PROJECT WIDE EXPENSE COMPARISONS




CDD1

CDD2

CDD3

CDD4


CDD5

CDD6

CDD7

CDD8









Utilities Services

139,100

156,000

177,000

208,600


306,000

289,700

159,400

218,000

Landscape & Repairs*

398,500

411,925

503,550

846,290


328,600

431,775

189,857

215,000

Project Wide Expense

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a


1,647,034

1,829,992

1,164,865

1,309,297

Total   (1)

537,600

567,925

680,550

1,054,890


2,281,634

2,551,467

1,514,122

1,742,297









District Acreage   (2)

998

989

894

1,187


1,406

1,496

976

1,098









      Expense per Acre   (1) / (2)

$539

$574

$761

$889


$1,623

$1,706

$1,551

$1,587

<----------------------- Average $698 ------------------------>| <------------------ Average $1,626 --------------->

Note:
* Amount shown for CDD4 includes 33% of the total CR42 expense since CDD4 is reimbursed 67% of the expense
by other benefitting parties.



For the numbered districts north of CR466, the Utilities Services and Landscape & Repairs line items cover the cost for all electricity, irrigation water, repairs and maintenance services. For the numbered districts south of CR466, Project Wide Expense must also be included to see the total cost. As you can see on Chart 2, on a per acre basis there is a significant difference in cost across the numbered districts for maintaining the property, from a low in CDD1 of $539/acre to a high of $1,706/acre in CDD6. The $1,626 average cost/acre for the four districts south of CR466 is more than twice the $698 average cost/acre for the four districts north of CD466. That seems to be a very large difference for what some might consider a relatively common set of activities. Clearly within acreage there can be different usage. For example, landscaping along residential streets requires little if any district maintenance while a walled villa community requires district maintenance of the wall, entry plantings and regular grass cutting and shrubbery trimming along the wall. Also, one district may have more conservation areas or storm water ponds to maintain than another. Still, you would expect that this would tend to average out over 8 districts and 9,000 acres.

The items shown in Chart 2 represent more than half of each district's total budget for disbursements and are clearly the key items affecting the appearance of our community. For the districts south of CR466, over 70% of this spending is transferred to a Project Wide account in the hopes that the district will save money due to economies of scale. From the comparisons to the districts that do not participate in the project wide agreement, the magnitude of this savings is not readily apparent. Perhaps now would be a good time for the boards of CDDs 5 - 8 to have staff review the project wide contracts and quantify the savings each of these districts are receiving. The alternative to project wide is for each district to retain control of their residents' maintenance assessments and to separately bid out their maintenance needs.

Next month we will look at the other beneficiaries of the project wide agreement - what they contribute and what they receive.



RETURN










"PROJECT WIDE AGREEMENT (PWA)"
(Bulletin October 2011)

Part Three

Section I. The case for a review by an Outside, Independent Consultant



Before we begin to further discuss the PWA, let's recall our purpose. As stated in the original article in the August 2011 Bulletin, the POA is a "watchdog" organization with regard to residents' interests. The POA will attend the meetings, do the research and report the facts we believe residents should be aware of. The PWA is an interlocal government agreement which involves a substantial amount of money (more than $7M annually), and consumes more than half of the annual maintenance budgets of CDDs 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. The POA believes that now that at least two of the CDD Boards are now controlled by resident elected Supervisors, it might be appropriate to review the PWA in its entirety.


We began our review by researching the topic of interlocal government agreements (IGA). We found that they are a common practice used by local governments throughout the country to work together to reach common goals and to solidify compromises they have negotiated. An IGA is essentially a formal written contract between governmental entities that sets forth the purposes, powers, rights, obligations, and responsibilities of each of the parties to the agreement. The purposes of an IGA can include long range planning, managing growth and development, revenue sharing, increased cost efficiency of development or delivery of services, and protection from the adverse actions of other public entities.


Inherent in all of the literature we reviewed was that the first step in initiating an IGA is for each individual governmental entity to determine what they have to gain and what they have to lose if they participate in a proposed IGA and then attempt to negotiate with the other parties in order to achieve the best benefit they can for their own constituencies. With this in mind, we then reviewed the Districts documents to determine how the PWA actually originated.

The original 2003 PWA was between the SLCDD (Sumter Landing Community Development District) and CDD5. (It has been expanded over the years to include CDD6, 7 and 8 and the 2011-12 Agreement will also include CDD9).


Transcriptions of the two meetings in which the PWA was adopted and the meeting in which it was first amended are as follows:

8/27/2003 - CDD5 Monthly Board Meeting

Pete Wahl, District Manager - "Mr. Chairman - you got a revised agenda at your place this morning,
(No public announcement that it would be on the agenda. - All supervisors were appointed/elected
by the Developer)

"The interlocal agreement that exists between District 5 and Sumter Landing for maintenance of
area wide Projects' - There are some projects which are part of or outside of the boundaries of
District 5 that District 5 enjoys the benefit of and this agreement is simply an agreement that
assures that you will be participating in the funding and operation and maintenance of certain of
these items.
So, that agreement is before you and we would recommend approval."

There was an immediate motion to approve. There was no discussion or any explanation by Mr.
Wahl upon what the formula was based, parameters of what was to be included, the cost savings or
increases that would inure to CDD 5, items which should be negotiated or anything else.

The motion passed.

10/13/2003 - SLCDD Monthly Meeting -All Supervisors appointed/elected by Developer

Pete Wahl - "Mr. Chairman, what you have here is an interlocal agreement between

this Board and CDD No. 5 indicating that they will share certain costs for what are

considered our project wide costs, and we will share in the funding of what are

considered their project wide costs so that everybody that benefit's the same gets to

pay the same."

Chairman - Okay, so we need a motion and discussion for this interlocal agreement.

No discussion.

The motion passed.

5/19/2006 - CDD 5 Monthly Meeting

The First Amendment to the Agreement was not listed on the agenda provided to the

public - It was brought up by Mr. Wahl under staff reports. Mr. Wahl stated that

"We do have a staff report - I put on your desk this morning - I think I did - a list of

Exhibit A. These reference the project wide costs… and we need to accept the list

with an amended Exhibit A as submitted and authorize the Chairman to execute an

amended agreement that is being developed, apparently I got it but I didn't realize

what I had so I don't have a copy of that for you but it will simply be incorporating

this language of Exhibit A."

The motion passed.

As 'ungovernment-like'as the above proceedings appear, the worst offense occurred at the November 17, 2006 CDD 5 monthly meeting when the Project-Wide was on the agenda, but in the presentation to the Board, which now included two residents, Mr. Wahl only presented the additions to the Project Wide list and did not advise the Board that by signing off on this Agreement they were taking away the right of the residential districts to have a vote on what improvements would be included on the Project Wide list.

THE ORIGINAL 2003 PWA READS AS FOLLOWS:

"PROJECT WIDE IMPROVEMENTS. For the purposes of this Agreement, Project Wide Improvements shall include those improvements described in Exhibit "A". As additional Project Wide Improvements are developed within the Project, the parties, by amendment, shall add such additional Project Wide Improvements to this Agreement." (Emphasis added.) "AMENDMENT. This Agreement may be modified in writing only by the mutual agreement of the parties in accordance with their respective laws, rules and procedures." (Emphasis added.)

THE NEW 2006 CLAUSE READS AS FOLLOWS:

"PROJECT WIDE IMPROVEMENTS. For the purposes of this Agreement Project Wide Improvements shall include those improvements described in Exhibit 'A'. As additional Project Wide Improvements are developed within the Project, Sumter Landing District by resolution, shall add such improvements to the Exhibit 'A' Project Wide Improvement listing as attached to this Agreement." (Emphasis added.)

This is the early paper trail for a matter which currently involves 7 to 8 million dollars annually and it certainly does raise some questions. The most paramount of which is - If an outside, INDEPENDENT expert had been hired by RESIDENT ELECTED SUPERVISORS to evaluate the merits of the proposal would they have advised the Supervisors to respond differently?

From the data the POA has reviewed, it seems reasonable that the numbered CDDs should request a 'first ever' review of the PWA. This is a high ticket item (over $7M) and should have the same level of professional involvement as a bond re-issuance.

Step 1 - Find out what each district, including the commercial district, is saving by
participating in the PWA. This is not that hard to do. In the maintenance contracts that we
reviewed, the bulk of the cost was based on area of grass to be maintained,
shrubs/trees/beds to be maintained and quantity of annuals to be changed out quarterly.
Each district knows what these volumes are and they are typically spelled out in the
contracts, district plans and Villages specs. This is also true with maintenance
responsibilities for retention ponds as their identification number for use on contracts
usually indicates the District which has the maintenance responsibility.

Each district should determine their standalone maintenance costs for the proposed
project-wide improvements so that they are in a position to evaluate the financial impact
various proposed formulas might have upon their residents.

Step 2 - While an outside independent, financial/consulting firm should have been used originally, it is not too late, that is, if the SLCDD developer elected board and all of the residential CDD boards agree to it as the PWA states that: "This Agreement may be modified in writing only by the mutual agreement of the parties…" IDEALLY, a district's share of the total maintenance cost should be based on their share of the maintenance expense they generate toward the total. If your district generates 25% of the PWA maintenance expense, then you should pay 25% of the total bill (and hopefully your 25% share is less than what it would cost you on your own). As far as reserves for sinkholes, that should be collected based on the area of your district to be covered by the sharing of risk (the "insurance" policy). Again, if your district has 25% of the storm water pond area to be included, you should contribute 25% of the transfer to reserve expense. Factors, such as can be found in The Villages, e.g.., CDDs 5 and 6 have greater financial exposure for landscaping expenses due to the amount of acreage they have along the Boulevards, as opposed to CDDS 7 and 8. By the same token, however, they had far greater infrastructure costs which they are paying through their infrastructure bond assessments to construct those Boulevards and CDDs 7 and 8 benefit from the beautiful landscaped roadways and recreation trails they use which were constructed with CDD 5 and 6 residents' money. It would be reasonable that CDDs 7 and 8 might agree to share in the maintenance costs because of the value they can perceive.


This is why an independent professional needs to be hired to do the analysis and to come up with recommendations for:

  • an equitable formula for cost sharing;
  • criteria to be used for placement of items in the PWA;
  • whether or not combining residential and commercial districts for the purpose of this particular IGA
  • are in the best interest of BOTH parties,
  • to assist in negotiations between the parties as needed, etc.

District staff has hired consultants in the past for situations involving far less money.



Section 2. Criteria To Be Used To Determine Inventory Covered by the PWA



As discussed above in Section 1, as a result of the passage of the November 17, 2006 Project Wide Amended Agreement, the residential boards have NO CONTROL over what properties are placed on the PW listing. What are, or are eventually to be resident elected CDD Boards have turned over more than 50% of their maintenance assessment funds to the control of the developer elected Board. So, why make a fuss about electing residents to the CDD boards in the residential districts if they are going to turn the majority of their responsibility and control over to the developer elected commercial district Board?


Below are a few examples of items that the SLCDD has approved for inclusion in the PW listing since the signing of the initial PWA:


  • accepted the deed and maintenance responsibility of over 600 acres of mitigation areas and then placed them in the PWA for maintenance funding;
  • placed Market Square, which is an assessable SLCDD owned property into the PW Listing and then assessed the PW fund $43,000 for its annual assessment which is paid to the commercial owners property maintenance budget; It should also be mentioned that the amenity system receives income from the developer for his rental of the town square each evening. (Note: The amenity system receives your amenity fees, rents the square to receive additional income and then has the residents via there numbered district assessment pay for maintenance of the square. And the amenity system contributes NOTHING to the PWA);
  • placed maintenance of the Sumter Landing Lighthouse in the PWA for funding;
  • placed maintenance of the Sumter Landing dock and gazebo in the PWA (why should residents pay via the PWA to maintain the tour boat landing which is part of the amenity system when their amenity fees are supposed to cover those expenses;
  • used $130,000 of PWA funds for architectural fees and construction of the new Recreation Department requested park instead of using the more appropriate amenity fees. (See Note above)
  • expended $8,500 to put up the Xmas tree on the Sumter Landing Square, to name a few.





At a glance, it would certainly appear that the criteria for adding properties onto the PW List should be better defined to eliminate inclusion of any expenses which should be the responsibility of the amenity budget and those which should be paid for by the commercial property holders, especially in light of the fact that the residential CDDs (5, 6, etc,) NOW have NO VOTE in the matter, nor do they have any say so in whether or not some of the entries identified above are appropriate. From our review of the minutes, it does not appear that these decisions are even included in agenda packets or discussed at the residential CDD meetings.


Section 3. Criteria For A Government To Be Considered for Inclusion in the PWA


Should the PWA be limited to the numbered (residential) districts 5 - 10, which have common needs and structure and only include their basic maintenance responsibilities:

Specifically identified landscaped rights-of-way including street lighting; entry features; preserves; storm water retention basins and other water retention areas; tunnels and recreation trails; or should it include the Sumter Landing commercial district which is structured substantially different because it continues to accept additional properties located outside of its geographic boundaries from the Developer, and includes commercial, income producing property.


{Just a Note: The PWA budget for fiscal year 2011-12 is set at almost $7.3M. While the Sumter Landing commercial property owners are assessed $94,498 of the total, which is less than 1.3%, they actually only contribute $50,990 since $43,508 is directly returned to them for town square maintenance. Are we to understand that their inclusion in the PWA and $51K contribution is in the best interests of the residents who pay the remaining $7.249,000, plus the balance of their own annual CDD maintenance fee and their monthly amenity fee?)


We have reviewed several Engineer's Reports for various interlocal government projects around the country and believe that hiring an independent consultant to take a look at the current PWA and make recommendations would be very worthwhile. At $7M and more, the PWA is a big ANNUAL expense for the residential districts. Residents of the numbered districts have no idea if they are receiving equitable benefits as required by F. S. 163.01(2) and 163.01(5)(f) . Hopefully they do. Isn't it time they find out?



HOME