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here’s The Scoop … The July 28, 2010 LBTS Artificial Reef Workshop … Is This $76,480.00 Project Sunk? …..

CAN THIS THING FLOAT  …. SOME ADDITIONAL TAXPAYER FUNDS ?….

Dear Readers … sorry for the delay in covering the Artificial Reef Workshop held on July 28th at 5:30 pm… but better late than never…besides the buoy in question hasn’t gone anywhere …It’s still in full view for those of us who footed the bill and parked outside the Furth’s BlueSeas Motel on El Mar Drive… We guess the same rules that apply to boats … trailers and even pods do not apply to big yellow buoys paid for with taxpayer funds to the tune of close to $50,000 … Hmmm….

As the meeting began standing at the podium was Dr. Thomas Goreau … who came on his own dime to explain what has transpired since this project was approved in 2007 (although it came up before the Comm. in 2006) … He appeared to be dancing for his supper…and for this writer it was nerve-wracking to say the least …While I understand some Commissioners and staff are new to this project…the niceties at the beginning were unnecessary if they all read the extensive backup provided at the July 14, 2010 meeting (prev. post) …and even more so after the meeting was over it was revealed that the Commission found placed in front of them as they sat down  in their seats, a 9 page packet of answers to Comm. Sasser’s specific questions along with a complete permit requirements analysis made by Ms. Hoffmann and an exchange between Dr. Goreau and former Asst. TM Olinzock in May 2009…It is now online in the workshop backup..(see link below)…Due to the feel good PC presentation on saving the planet…the beaches and the reef that new material was barely touched upon…

A look at Goreau’s site lends itself to say this is what he does… http://www.globalcoral.org/index.html …. and to a novice it looks like there is some successes but not without some problems and there is a lack of any a comparison in start-up time to make sense of what went wrong with the LBTS project and why 4 years later we are not up and running with this big yellow bouy that is sitting out in front of Furth’s motel… You will see on the site, a recent addition of “SHORE PROTECTION IN THE REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS – PILOT PROJECT REPORT”… but even that brings forth more questions…especially when it uses 3 sources for powering the project and the solar power was the most problematic… A Google on the process also brings questions of success from purported lack of  documented published research and some experts that state problems come with rapid growth which leads to fragile coral as a result of the acceleration ..etc…After way too long on the “niceties” and the selling of what this will bring to LBTS… including a few digs from Dr. Goreau on the upcoming county beach re-nourishment program and its downfall …the oft touted “If we get this project up and running  it will put LBTS on the map”…and some rather disingenuous remarks about “permits being relatively easy to get”…Hmmm…Really?…. The last permit from the Coast Guard came in Jan. 2009 …and it ran out in Jan. 2010 and it was extended recently until June 2011…So, “relatively easy” is clearly not so!….He touched on the Pier power problem …not going with either story heard before…Furth’s side through Comm. Clottey that the Leasee’s of the pier tried to extort them …(prev. post)….or the pier leasee stance that it never even got to dollars and cents after a divide began politically…Dr. Goreau stated it was due to the hurricane destroying the power to the pier and a conflict with the fishermen…The pier leasee state the fishermen said it would initially be a deterrent but not long term and he was agreeable to try it…Dr. Goreau then spoke of the solar power buoy and the change in size along with increased cost …they wanted more power for faster growth…and the new one they had designed was 2x the power …He spoke about the change in design and stated option 1 was delivered…That would be the yellow bouy on El Mar Drive… He also stated that with the increase they would not need a 3rd bouy as is indicated in the present contract… He said the Town wanted a 3rd as a backup and that increases the cost… He stated they needed approx. $4,000to get done with the buoys and get it up and running… Mayor Minnet thanked him, but countered his remarks about parking being a problem when this project pulled in the tourists…Comm. Clottey began what was one of her worst performances on the dais…a flashback to her antics concerning the extension for Michael Arker’s hotel…the garbage contract and the parking device contract…She stated from “one college professor to another” and asked a hypothetical about bigger reefs with more buoys…Dr. Goreaus answered he could not answer her question about the cost for three and brought up Dan Clark from the non-profit local organization Cry of the Water … http://www.cryofthewater.org/ … This is the guy who is really doing the project …and his name along with his organization is found nowhere in the contract…Hmmmm…. He answered “in a perfect world” there would be the 3 buoys with increased power and they would accelerate the growth of the coral…He spoke of the increase and cost and spoke about his lack of funds and some Cry of the Water accounting that reminded this writer of some previous accounting problems coming from non-profits that caused their demise…from previous administrations… Clottey asked him for a time-frame and he stated 45 days for the 2nd buoy..That’s past Clottey’s previous warning at the last Roundtable that it needed to be done before Sept…. Vice Mayor Dodd as about solar power failure and rust coming if that happens (that was found in the Google search this writer did as well as a downfall)…Dr. Goreau answered it was depending on the limestone… The VM wanted to know about bird poop..because they would be attracted to the structure and they could add to the problems of function…Dr. Goreau stated they hoped the waves would wash off the bird poop and there was really no way to keep the birds off… Comm. Vincent added in the P.R. stating this would be the “first of its kind in our country” and made some back and forth with Dr. Goreau on the coral …the loss of it ..the reversal of it and beach errosion… Comm. Sasser spoke about the costs of the first buoy and asked if it was up and running..Dr. Goreau stated it was not..no wiring or sealing…Sasser asked about the time-frame as well 30 days for the 1st buoy and 45 for the 2nd…He asked if anyone had tested the buoy in the water…Dan from Cry of the Water said it floats ..there were design changes for weight and movability..What he described were major changes…This writer asks the Town to get a hold of the bills and the change orders and find exactly where the cost overruns fell …from solar power increases and/or design changes implemented by Dan…Comm. Sasser asked about the annual maintenance and Dr. Goreau answered it was a fixed time that was in the agreement to comply with regulatory requirements… Dan added it’s $10,000 the 1st year for cleaning and described what that meant…after the 1st year Dr. Goreau added it would take more funds (approx.$22,000 was brought out later on) or it could be “taken out” Dr.Goreau stated easily with a hatchet!… The TAtty. chimed in about the initial inquiry (prev. post) and the responsibility not being completely clear for maintenance and monitoring…The Mayor spoke and stated she was all in favor of protecting the reefs and what protection reefs offer the shoreline but she also stated they needed to be prudent where taxpayers monies go and this was to address the contract issues and wanting to know if the Dr. Goreau was agreeable to that… Dr.Goreau answered they did not go over budget they were underbudgeted…HUH?… and that hurricane season was a factor… She asked the questions we need the answers to…who owns the buoy…who’s responsible for it…the liability and also asked about wind power vs. solar…using a wind turbine…Dr.Goreau answered that wind power was not under the permit…and that the future was wave power and that was “off the grid” …The Int. TM wanted to clarify two things concerning the numbers brought forth from Dr. Goreau and Dan..She asked if the $4700 was needed out of the $27,000 left ..Dan responded with the costs he has incurred and how he moved around his own designated funds to cover what was changed leaving no money to pay the builder …The Int. TM asked if he wanted that money in addition to the contract and if they wanted $5,000 now and what guarantee did they have the prices would not go up again…Dan responded they would get “a hell of a better contract”…”Hindsight is 20/20″…Does he understand that applies this project as well?… The Int. TM also spoke of her experience with the Army Corp of Engineers and the DEP and permits…not being altered without problems…and the fact that this project will now be altered…Dan replied he had pre-meetings with them and was given the ability to move within a work area to lessen the impact once the service he will use comes to set things up…The Int. TM said she wanted to see where in the permits it states that and it should be a condition the Commission should have in place before they decide …Comm. Vincent took it upon himself to explain to the Int. TM what Dan was saying…He got it wrong and Ms. Hoffmann needed no intervening…He went on to talk of the maintenance and the costs as well as the lessened requirements each year…Vincent asked the costs again and Dan replied it was for the Town to maintain or remove Vincent also asked about the 2nd buoy stating it should be stored by the Town and be the Town’s responsibility…Dan spoke of the 1st bouy being used for donations…The Mayor asked Dr.Goreau if he would be willing to re-negotiate the contract for clarity and Dr. Goreau said he had no objections that he believed the buoy belongs to the Town…Then why is it in front of the Furths?… The Int. TM asked about the the permitting agencies and if using only one was acceptable …Dr. Goreau answered less was no problem and Ms. Hoffmann countered that would need to be in writing…The VM asked after that exchange why they would not go ahead with the first one… and not delay while waiting to build a second on…Dodd said he understood they wanted the second but if the 180 watts would produce results they should put the first in …see the improvement or not and then decide on a second buoy…AH HA! … Dr. Goreau stated they were concerned if they did not produce the 3 as required in the contract they would be violating the contract… Comm. Clottey asked about the status of the current project and if it was a binding contract through the chair to the TAtty… The TAtty.  said the contract was addressed previously and to summarize it was enforceable …it was lacking in detail and worse case scenario the Town is entitled to what we paid for… Clottey showing she is totally devoid of picking up proper cues…stated she was “getting the feeling” the Commission were not supporting additional funds …and spoke of donations to cover it and what effect that would have … but did not disclose her motives until after the fact..see below…The TAtty. said that was not a question for her and again referred to the current contract and that they want the money in the contract in the current condition but we don’t have all the facts ….Clottey stated she was not satisfied with the TAtty’s answer and again spoke of a donor coming forward and asked for a legal opinion …the TAtty. stated it was not a legal question…Comm. Sasser spoke next and added some levity after the hard to follow exchange between Clottey and Trevarthen by stating “I’m not a diver but I do watch Animal Planet and I did sleep at a Holiday Inn”…He went on to say he agreed with VM Dodd that nothing was stopping the project with the first buoy …He said as a businessman they should move forward and build the second buoy under a new contract …He added the current contract is in breech and they needed to come to terms …He spoke of the copyrights and liability …He said in his opinion they move forward with a new contract and that the second buoy would be based on performance…and Dr. Goreau would be covered for not having a third buoy… The Mayor asked it the Commission wanted to extend the workshop or come to consensus due to the time  with the Roundtable scheduled to follow…Comm. Vincent spoke in reference to Comm. Clottey’s statements of donations and lack of support she said she felt from the Commission The Mayor added to his comments by stating she also did not say she did not want the project she wanted to be prudent and protect the taxpayers funds ..She reminded all this project was being done only by the Town with no monies from grants and it was not all about the money …She stated the consensus was to move forward and review and revise the contract… Comm. Sasser thanked Dr. Goreau and the Mayor stated the Interim Town Manager knew where to go to revise the contract …resolve the breech issue..modify the performance requirements and have a payment schedule… she also stated it would be a line item in the budget …(and would follow in the coming years for maintenance and monitoring)…. The next budget meeting is August 25, 2010 at 5 pm with the only Aug. Reg Comm. meeting of the month to follow at 7 pm……. After they finished Comm. Clottey sounding like “Nellie Olson” said she was contacted by a resident who wanted to donate $11,000 and told her fellow Commissioners “That’s why I was pushing you ladies and gentlemen.”…The Mayor responded once more putting “Clueless” Clottey in her place…Mayor Minnet said that was “admirable” …”but the contract still needs attention”…and made it clear that the donor would most likely want that done as well!… Meeting adjourned…

After the meeting this writer received the 9 page handout with all of Comm. Sasser’s questions…It was from the Int. TM  and stated she had received them after the Roundtable discussion …She stated most of the questions were provided and the individual answering is noted… She included quotes from Dr. Goreau and a summary of information received from him…She also stated the Town did not have time to verify all of the statements “and is not necessarily in agreement with them.”…

1st question was “Are all three solar buoys still necessary? …The answer was Dr. Goreau was scheduled to come at his own cost to the meeting …The Int. TM sated in correspondence with him the week prior “he indicated the one solar buoy that has been constructed can provide double the power of the buoy originally designed, so I asked him whether that negated the need for a third buoy.”

“Hoffmann question If, because of the redesign, the single buoy will provide as much power as the two original buoys proposed, do you have to have two buoys installed to make the project work?”

Dr. Goreau ” No, we do not need to place 2 buoys to power the project. The original buoy design was for 90 watts per buoy. The buoy that has been built is 180 watts. This gives us the 30 watts per reef module that the project was designed for, now using one buoy instead of two. “…He went on to describe the original plan of 90 on 3 buoys and the ” reef module clusters ” to be built near each buoy …He said with twice as much power “we would like to move all the reef modules to one location so they can be powered by one single buoy.”…He went on to add”The solar powered buoys still don’t  produce  quite as much power as we would prefer, because the rate of growth increases with the power put into it, so this is not as good as having two 180 watt buoys, but it will work fine. The permits for the project only allow us to use charged structures, because these won’t rust. An uncharged structure would eventually rust and eventually have to be removed before it collapsed.”

The Int. TM added that Dr. Goreau assumed he would now only have to build two buoys, but the permits call for two buoys (a typo I believe the permits called for 3)…Ms. Hoffmann stated what she stated from the dais that it is unknown how long or how complicated it might be to get the permits amended…

The rest of the questions from Comm. Sasser …an overview …with pertinent quotes…

1.Is the Town in receipt of Exhibit B and C signed or executed for Stage I or II being completed?… Int. TM responded that Dr. Goreau provided a signed statement dated Aug. 25, 2009 “that all First Stage Work (as such term is defined in the Construction Contract between the undersigned and the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea has been completed” and stated there were no liens, encumbrances from himself or subcontractors…

2. What are the details of why the decision was made to switch from the pier powers source to solar buoys?…Dr. Goreau responded as he did at the podium about the hurricane and cost of replacing power lines “we decided in consultation with LBTS to move to a solar power buoy instead.” he added it “would eliminate the cost to the Town of electrical repairs on the pier to provide electrical service for the project.”…He added the reef would have had to be closer to the pier to use the pier option which would have caused safety problems between fishermen and divers.

What are the costs of each option (pier vs. solar buoys)?…Dr Goreau stated the 1st choice was the pier  and when that “option was closed” the “realized that a solar buoy could actually be cheaper in the long run because there are no external costs that would be required to power from the pier.” The difference in contract cost was $11,200 before the revised contract added a 3rd buoy…then it was $16,200. The buoys were $15,000 plus $7,000 for drilling anchors and moorings. Also included was a partial comparison between the two for cable the pier $2,000/solar $200 …power supply for pier $4,000/ solar $15,000….mooring for pier 0/solar $7,000/electric bill-wiring to pier-service box and meter all had ? no amts…

3. Who will be responsible for oversight of this project?…Dr Goreau responded “I will personally be in charge of our very competent local dive team, as I have done hundreds of such projects all around the world. Our local team have not built  Biorock reefs before (this will be the first for corals in the US, although we have several oyster projects), but they are highly experienced underwater workers, who will quickly learn the details.”…The In.TM added the contract “references that HE will provide maintenance and monitoring . We need more information about what exactly is involved for each of the parties in maintenance, monitoring and oversight of this project”… Also stated now was the Asst. TM will have the oversight responsibility going forward but again referred to the responsibilities “laid out in various permits” and the Town may need to hire a marine engineering fiirm or marine sciences firm to do technical monitoring and inspections after the 1st year of installation. Any problems found are not defined in the current contract as to if the responsibility would fall to Dr. Goreau to rectify.

4. We need line item details of the increase request…..Dr Goreau responded he would need to discuss that with Bob Parkinson (buoy builder) and Dan Clark (Cry of the Water) “But my current understanding is that if we can move forward the $5,000 allocated for the back-up buoy after the end of the project, and apply this to the second buoy now, that we would need an additional $4,718 to complete the second buoy based on Bob Parkinson’s current cost.”..He added they looked for private donations and collected $682,00 …”If you add the $3500 we have left in our budget (from  the 3rd draw) that leaves the balance to $4,718 needed to pay the $8,900 cost of the backup buoy.”

5. Are there any patents associated with this project? … Dr Goreau responded there is a patent on the Biorock technology and it is held by the heirs of his late partner and himself …The TAtty. added “we do not know the answer to this question, but it is likely that there are patent issues related to this project particularly in light of the budget exhibit which has a line item of $3,000 for patent fees.”…She went on to add she did not know if we would need any further agreement with other patent owners and if they are involved as well as it being unclear as to ownership of any additional patents that may be developed pursuant to this project.

6. Have references been contacted? Per the backup material this has been implemented in other places. Have we checked to see if the solution is exactly the same? What were the results of prior implementations?…The Int. TM responded according to Dr. Goreau LBTS will be the 1st application in the US and “there is nothing in the Town files regarding applications elsewhere other than a few newspaper articles”…They reference Mexico/Turk Islands and southeast Asia…also nothing found on file of contacting references on prior or existing applications.

7. Who is responsible for maintenance of the system? …Dr. Goreau responded “Dan Clark will be in charge of maintenance, and I will come down if there is a need for major repairs.”…The TAtty. stated the contract “is not completely clear on this point.” and added the vendor has some level of responsibility and while it is a line item it needs to be further defined….She also brought forth the line item “shall not be reduced or relocated” which definitely needs to be rectified before moving forward.

What are the details of responsibilities and what are the costs associated? … The Int. TM stated the Town has responsibility under the permits for maintenance of installation but Exhibit A of the contract provides payment to GCRA in advance for maint./monitoring in the 1st year $22,000 …more detail was required.

8. There have clearly been breaches in the timelines associated with this project. What are the remedies? What is our recourse?…The TAtty. responded about the contract providing for “time is of the essence”…and it provides stage 1 was to be performed within 60 calendar days of execution..Stage 2 was also to be performed within 60 days of the FDEP permit being issued …She also brought to light some confusing deletions and revisions to these points…She stated remedies include breach of contract action and suit for damages….those would involve amts. paid to vendors plus interest and maybe some amt. for lost tourism dollars and any other damages the Town could show…The Town could also seek a “mandamus or specific performance”.

9. What do we presently own? What will we own at completion?… The TAtty. responded “We have a lien or may own the structure that the vendor created and/or documents, schematics and plans created by the vendor. The rights to patents is currently unclear. After completion, we own the structure that is created. The contract is silent on ownership of the other elements, such as working documents and additional patents.”..So why is the Town allowing it to be parked at the Furths?…

10. What contractual guarantees and/or warranties do we have?…The TAtty. responded the contract is silent on this and “we have implied contract warranties and warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. This means that the Town is entitled to expect the structure will perform as advertised, and that its expenditures will yield a benefit.”

11. Do we currently have rights to schematics and plans needed to complete the work on our own or have the work completed by another party should we decide to provide notification of breach?… The TAtty. responded “No.” there were no contract provisions on this.

12. What are our measurements to monitor success or failure?…The Int. TM stated there are no measurements provided in the contract but the Army Corp of Engineers permit requires differences in the coral growth, survival and fish populations at the artificial reef be compared to 4 other control areas and be documented during monitored dives. None of the permits define perf. measure success.

13. What independent party will measure success of the project and science?…The Int. TM referred to Q.#12 and again stated the Town may need a Marine engineer or scientist to do the req. monitoring.

14. Who is responsible for completing the 3 buoys?…The TAtty. responded Global Coral Reef Alliance has the responsibility to erect and operate a reef habitat, the buoys are not specifically mentioned although they are an element of the whole reef habitat and “it is reasonable to infer that the vendor must complete them in order to complete the services required under the contract.”

15. Has the proper due diligence been completed on GCRA for liability of project in- completion, failure or liability after completion? …no response

16. Options: Notify GCRA of breach and option to re-negotiate or turnover all documents, schematics, permits, etc. to complete project. Or, refund all funds paid to date. Or, curt our losses and undertake a more viable solution…..The TAtty. responded “Before risking more funds, the Town may want to consider requiring the vendor to provide proof of his financial viability and an indication of what he has spent the money on already. It may also be prudent to seek substantial changes in the contract as a condition of continuing with the project. If GCRA does not turn over anything, the Town should seek the rights to the intellectual property, as well as the structure, and the plans and other materials.”

Again, why is this buoy still in front of the Furths after reading these responses?… and…Again, this is why Comm. Scot Sasser is called “the Contract Guy!”…

The Int. TM also included the a review of the permits …The BC Aquatic & Wetland Resources License was issued on 11/20/09  refers to 2 solar buoys…req. 48 hr. notification prior to commencement of project and 48 hr. notice after completion…no impact on existing natural resources…any impact the County will impose penalties on Town and/or req. mitigation….monitoring req. for 5 yrs from the Town ea. mo 1st yr/quarterly yrs 2 & 3/yrs. 4 & 5 annually w/ report sent into County for each site inspection….structural integrity and stability of structures must be maintained in perpetuity ….As-built drawings must be submitted to County within 30 days after installation. Failure to install the structures “as authorized WILL result in enforcement action….various conditions relating to protection of manatees during installation are imposed… Int. TM also located a receipt the Town paid $2,400 application fee in June 2009 for license/$1,00 of which were monitoring fees… FDEP general permit issued 12/12/2008 refers to 2 solar buoys to be installed…Town pd $250 for FDEP permit application fee…The state imposes following conditions…spec. art. reef materials must free of defined pollutants including oil/grease…prohibition of existing natural resources go BEYOND that imposed in the County license…site marked by perimeter buoys during construction…structure maintained in functional condition…removed if dilapidated…Construction completed within 5 yrs permit issue date….Army Corp of Engineers …Includes ref. “a total of eight buoys”….Req. work completed by June 10, 2014…protection of existing natural resources clause “is the most extensive of all the permits and includes a requirement to maintain a deployment buffer of at least 200 feet from any submerged beds of sea grasses, coral reefs, live bottoms…””This protection appears to conflict with actual ground conditions. The Int. TM wants Dr. Goreau to state how he will resolve this matter…Req. 14 day notification prior to installation and they will inspect material to be installed…Req. a post-deployment report within 30 days of install and that install materials be accurate within 5 meters …depths within 1 meter….”By signing permit, the Town certified we own all artificial materials deployed and accepted liability for them”..Req. similar monitoring as County permit…specifies 1st report be submitted 30 days after install…specific direction on info to be included in monitoring and high resolution digital video documentation of the inspection…Fish counts are to be conducted on each monitoring inspection…4 control sites must be established and documented what happens at them …Analysis must be made of “recruitment, growth, survival rate of sessile populations and of fish on art. reef compared to control sites…each structure “all visible hard and soft corals will be photographed with a acale so that growth and survival rates can be computed.”…The Int. TM ends with stating no estimates of ongoing costs have been found in the files and need to be obtained from either the Town Engineer or Dr. Goreau…

The last inclusion of the packet were email between former Asst. TM Olinzock and Dr. Goreau in May 2009 where Olonzock calls Dr.Goreau’s attention to the permit clause stating the req. 200 feet from submerged beds as stated above int he Int. TM permits analysis… Dr.Goreau responds that “Yet they approved the project”…event though the maps showed it would not be adhered to and a need for an exemption will need to be asked for…as 200 feet would be impossible to find…Dr. Goreau also added he felt “I believe this is simply boiler plate language automatically and routinely put into all permits…..” He added the Army Corp. of Eng. have essentially waived the req. by approving the permit…He said they seek a private understanding on this after he returned in June 2009 …He added his legal adviser’s name…Richard Ruschman would be in touch with JohnO…There is no inclusion of any follow-up exchange on the matter…

BC-All that really needed to happen at the Artificial Reef Workshop on July 28th was for these questions and answers to be read aloud ….and for direction to be given to enter into contract re-negotiations ….and follow-up with the permitting agencies to make sure the Town will not be held responsible if all the permits were not in order when approved…

http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/town/reefbackupW.htm

more to come….

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