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Here’s The Scoop … May 10, 2010 LBTS CIP/Stormwater Master Plan Workshop … Glug …Glug …

May 11, 2010 by Barbara

LBTS UNDERWATER …..

Dear Readers … Last night was the Capital Improvement Project/ Stormwater Master Plan Workshop… We hear former Town Planner Walter Keller was in the Jarvis Hall audience….http://www.whkinc.com/ and sat there mute just as the former Town Atty. did when he attended the termination of former TM Colon a few weeks back… We hear that Mr. Keller did a Stormwater Master Plan study for somewhere in the neighborhood of $130,000 in the mid- nineties for LBTS that went up on the shelf somewhere!… We are also told that despite some assertions made by the Chen-Town Engineer that LBTS did not have  a budget to do the entire town…and that only 20% of the town has been videoed by Tele-Vac…Tele-Vac   http://www.tele-vac.com/?page_id=9 has done 80-90% of the stormwater system in town to date with a current Town P.O. to finish the job…I am told that Muni. Dir. Don Prince has the videos and the reports …Hmmm…A look at the backup provided by Chen shows a chart with the south end of town being marked “unknown”….. http://www.chenandassociates.com/Between pages 122-243 are only 7 pages of handwritten “reports” from Dec.2009- Jan. 2010 of the north end of town..with much of the findings showing pipes that are cracked..squashed…and crushed…  3 of the 7 pages of these on site “reports” show no information at all…This writer has been informed that the town was told that the pipes under Bel Air are not repairable and major pipe replacement was needed for the area…Also, I was informed that an external fix in that area will not fix the problems…OUCH!…..

Mr. Barton did a repeat of the powerpoint he had shown at the last Commission meeting…and was rather long winded and at times amusingly telling in his verbage and statements where I am sure he did not mean to be… The big reason for using the “modeling”, he stated  is it is “impartial”….. There is no impartiality in deciding what are the most important areas to prioritize …He spoke of the LIDAR technology although he could not remember what the letters stood for …Light Detection and Ranging technology…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ LIDAR that while it gets a bad rap… it was well worth it because it could read within one and a half inches …then adding for building pads it could be off by twelve inches…it was also free (to whom?…not the taxpayers)…He said a regular survey would cost $750,000 in comparison…He spoke of the El Prado parking lot and how fast it drains…adding that was something that could be done…it all depends on the money …(This seems to be a running theme with out Town Eng…much like what he alluded to when discussing his charges for doing “studies” at a recent Roundtable)…He said for “a whole bunch of money we can be like the airport”… He dialed it back to talk about what is economic and reasonable …and spoke of residents and their need to “get on board” with the Commission …He also spoke about the South Florida Water Management and their rules for outfalls …no more are allowed …LBTS is maxed out…and the future may hold a decrease being required (it was in Hollywood) …Mr Chen later said as long as we maintain we are safe for now from more restrictions meaning a big cost to decrease out outfalls..Barton spoke of some illegal outfalls found …Com. Clottey asked if the Town was responsible for the illegal outfalls..The reply is no…Those illegally using outfalls may be receiving a visit … Mr. Barton spoke about the swales…the residents who have landscape in the swales and that a community outreach along with requirements of residents taking responsibility for their swales ie. removing their landscaping cutting down on the costs to all…In the end it came down to prioritizing the areas …the budget…and an overall plan…including the swales/pervious materials….. He ended by giving some suggestions on El Mar ..alleyways…and the Master Plan…along with keeping costs down when done with other projects…and of course the ways of getting funding ..Stormwater fees…grants ..which he said there were no real opportunities for due to the economy..loans (state revolving -low rates) and bonds…or a combination ….

The Commissioners asked questions…starting with Comm. Vincent who asked about the history and prior models…Barton responded there was no previous study done …

BC- as stated above it seems there was…it is this writer’s opinion a great disservice has been done to the taxpayers in this regard…Just as was mentioned last night by the new Int. Town Manager and the Int. Asst. Town Manager …when they stated we could have an “abbreviated update” for our 2005 Master Plan…or the additions being made currently by former Town Planner Walter Keller to the Comprehensive Plan…the same could have been achieved by Chen for the Stormwater Master Plan!…Was Chen kept uninformed as well as the Commission/ taxpayers by the former Town Manager/Asst. Town Manager and Dept. heads?…

Comm. Vincent also asked about the changes over the last 35-40 years especially in the south end of town and why we have more flooding now in addition to overgrown swales and lack of maintenance..Barton said he wasn’t sure there were no drainage problems in the past …maybe a higher tolerance back then!….

Comm. Clottey wanted answers about her area of Bel Air and spoke of the grading of the road after the sewers were put in and the runoff into peoples front yards (prev. posts…former VM McIntee’s house)…Barton spoke of the swale program being the answer for that area…..She added it was unhealthy for the kids playing there (tip to parents …don’t let your kids play in the standing water…it’s unhealthy!)…

Comm. Sasser asked Barton about the costs and time frame issues…and the Regional / local Alternatives …where they intertwined ..Barton replied they don’t and explained the difference between residential and commercial…low lying areas…and that residential areas are limited for pipe programs…Comm. Sasser asked about the El Mar Drive $3 million and Bougainvilla and Poinciana and the pipe replacement program…..and Barton spoke of them and  of the “pooling” at Bougainvilla/Poinciana…and the call perhaps to put pipe in once the projects are in the works  due to street grading…asphalt removal etc….(change orders!)…

Vice Mayor Dodd wanted to know about the photo study and the models …and the differences…also of the pervious materials…and asked about french drains…Barton said french drains were not ideal fro residential as most are underwater already and there was no permitting allowed for piping in some areas…Barton said he could bring vendors to the Commission who sell a variety of products …..Big Kudos to the Int. TM who responded to Mr. Barton’s suggestion of bringing vendors in by stating it would be more beneficial to speak to municipalities who have used the pervious materials to see how they fared…Barton then added the life of them is not known and close to the beach is not applicable due to sand  buildup and clogging!…

Comm. Sasser asked Mr Barton about videoing the sewer system …was there any video and Barton that they used it all and the Town did not have the budget to do the entire town..(see above)…

The Mayor asked how much was done and this is when Barton replied 20%…but then backtracked and said “don’t quote me” and he could find out the numbers….Mr Chen added that when Tele-Vac videos they clean first and this could alleviate some problems…Hmmm…

Comm. Sasser asked about the outfalls and this is when Mr Chen answered we were safe so far…after was when Comm. Clottey inquired about the illegal outfalls…and then asked about the $12.5 million needed …stating the taxpayers would “tar and feather” them for that cost…She said Chen offered up the “Cadillac version”…and asked for the “Chevy ” version …The reply was for further detailed studies to prioritize..

BC- What Comm. Clottey kept mum on was the former TM could have used the returned debt pay-out (prev. post -the one w/ the pre-penalty attached)…to offset the CIP for this project townwide!…

There was more discussion on the swales..maintenance and the fees for Stormwater…which seems likely due to the “greater good” usage of the streets for all residents …The Vice Mayor inquired about the in-equitable fee being imposed on the condos…who previously were found to get no benefit from the prior fees…Chen answered the streets and usage and that it held up in other municipalities…

The Mayor ended the discussion with calling attention to the sewer system and the age of it … in the south end of town and that had not been addressed in this equation.. The answer was to do it in conjunction cuts down on the overall costs to do it twice…along with working with Fort Lauderdale and the water lines (Ft. Laud. owns the waterlines in the south)… She also addressed  the swales…maintenance…pervious materials ..and thanked them for the presentation…

Mr Chen responded  “Our part is easy, your part is tough!”…

BC-He got that right!

The Commission took a fifteen minute break before addressing the CIPs…. which had been reversed per VM Dodd who felt the Stormwater Master Plan would likely be the CIP for 2010-11…

When they were seated the Int. Town Manager introduced her Asst. TM Bud Bentley who provided a handout to not only the Commission but the audience …It included the CIP from the 2009-10 Budget (prev. posts)…and the Master Plan projects from the 2005 Master Plan… There was initial back and forth as the TM and the Asst. are still getting situated in their positions and needed some input on what was what…direction on what was in and what was out to proceed… They went down the list for both and some info was correctly given while others require the Town Manager/Asst. TM to give a call to MPSC member Sandra Booth and Chair Paul Novak who can provide a full and accurate accounting … The Commission then went through a list giving them high or low priority status if still applicable…

The A1A -FDOT project in the north and the possibility of adding to it on Pine from A1A  to the portal were addressed …(for $101,000)…Just as the north A1A project has the condos already landscaped on the east side..the Pine Ave. section has Sea Ranch Club on the north side and the hotel on the south…The portal is completed as are all the entryways from Pine to Palm Ave… As far as portals for the north end..the Town Engineer was unaware that the Terra Mar entry to the beach is private..(Comm. Sasser informed him)..and the Mayor reminded all of the previous commission approving the entry near Royal Coast for wheelchair access..What the newcomers do not know and it was not brought forth is the consensus in the past was not to “highlight” the entry to the beach to non-residents which would increase usage and illegal parking by outsiders… The consensus as previously posted by the MPSC on May 5th from individual members was the A1A FDOT project was not a priority and did not seem worth the $220,000 cost to the taxpayers… A look at the CIP backup showed (prev. post) the plan for the project was landscape, low level lighting with shade trees and tree grates …which is a description that reflects the recent Seagrape Dr. project…Speaking of Seagrape Drive, Comm. Clottey wanted a look at a “traffic calming” for Seagrape!.. What!..We spent over a million and half dollars on it …and someone is asking for “traffic calming”…Please..no more speedbumps!… (sounds like a CIC “Newbie” Chair call?)… A few others were the Terra Mar Bridge… staff to do research…Signage and entry to the Bougainvilla Parking Lot off A1A..(see if FDOT will change it to the Mack’s Grove portion soon to be turned over to the Town and use the Mack’s Grove “historical” sign to say “PUBLIC PARKING”)…Alleyways…open the Pier Alleyway…forget past minutes and Clottey’s misrepresentations such as the restrooms (also discussed in an existing space or free standing) by the fence in that alleyway…It was a “payback scheme” by her former “Gang”… Those restrooms were included in some end discussion by the Commission on other items to look at ….such as upgrading to allow outdoor seating for businesses on the west side of A1A… the Marine Park that was turned down for grant funds…alternative lighting in the El Prado Parking lot….the M.I. A. Pavilion Clock (prev. posts- former Comm. Silverstone)…

In the end it still came down to the #1  CIP  being the drainage issue townwide …and the funds to proceed and prioritize…The areas most likely to be 1st …Commercial Blvd. Beach Pavilion/El Mar Drive north/south and Bougainvilla….

Also on the agenda (not online prior) …. was the Chamber roof (tonight’s agenda)……Tennis court lights …which are in process with looking at retrofitting on the existing poles…and direction to staff for revenue costs …

The Interim Town Manager responding to the Mayor stated she and the Int. Asst. TM could now move forward and would report back…

Adjourned….

more to come….

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