Archived News

This page will feature older news stories previously published by the District.

Board of Supervisors Set New Policies for Petitions and Referenda

At the Board of Supervisors monthly meeting on November 19, 2015, the Board revised two existing policies for capital improvement petitions and referenda.

The Board voted three to two to change the minimum requirement for new capital improvement petitions from the current 35% of affected landowners to a majority of affected land-owners (more than 50%). This requirement is to be applied retroactively to those petitions already received by the District this year. As a result, the Board decided to change the cut-off date they had previously set from December 31, 2015 to February 29, 2016 to allow time for petitioners to secure the additional signatures needed to meet the new minimum.

In addition, the Board voted three to two to change the policy for voting on a referendum for a capital improvement to require that a majority of affected landowners (more than 50%) vote yes in order for the referendum to pass. The old policy required a majority of votes cast in favor in Palm Beach Country Estates and a majority of affected landowners in favor in Jupiter Farms.

Both new policies apply to the entire District. For more information, visit the District website at www.sirwcd.org or call the District office at 561-747- 0550.


 

Reimbursement check

District Receives Insurance Reimbursement Check and Safety Awards

The South Indian River Water Control District was awarded a reimbursement check for $403.84 on April 26 by Christopher Kittleson of Public Risk Underwriters of Florida, representing the District’s insurer, Preferred Governmental Insurance Trust, for training and safety initiatives undertaken from October 2015 to March 2016. Mr. Kittleson congratulated the District for con-tinuing to utilize the Preferred Training Incentive Program for Safety, which provides an economic benefit to its members and assists them in protecting personnel and property with financial incentives for safety training and safety equipment procurement. The program provides matching incentives of up to $5000.00 per year for safety-related signage, driver training, continuing education classes, and more.

District personnel continue to further their education and certifications with advanced training and programs to better serve the landowners and ensure compliance with mandated safety requirements. They recently attended a number of semi-nars offered by the Safety Council of Palm Beach County: CJ Wilbur, George McGarry and Arie Raz attended the “Back Talk” seminar on prevention of back injuries in the workplace; Michael Dillon and Holly Rigsby attended the “Identity Theft and Fraud” seminar to help recognize and prevent identity theft and fraud; and all employees participated in the “Monitoring Prescription Drug Use in the Workplace” seminar, which educates employees on the risks of prescription drug abuse and how to implement work policies that address the issue.

Safety awardsFor the 19th consecutive year, SIRWCD has received awards from the Safety Council of Palm Beach County. The awards of excellence for vehicle and worker safety were presented to SIRWCD staff at the annual awards luncheon held on March 10 at the Embassy Suites in West Palm Beach. Manager of Operations Michael Dillon was also called upon to emcee the event and hand out the awards when the original host was unable to attend. “Our personnel here at the District are among some of the finest in the state and we are proud of their accomplishments and excellent safety record,” said Mr. Dillon.



Board of Supervisors Unanimously Approve Engineer's Report for 18th Plan of Improvements

Following the second of two required public hearings on the 2015 Landowner- Initiated Roadway Improvement Project held on October 15, 2015 the Board of Supervisors approved and accepted the Engineer's Report at their Board meeting. The following roadway referenda passed and will comprise the 18th Plan of Improvements:

• 64th Way N between 146th Road N and 149th Place N
• 67th Trail N between 146th Road N and 149th Place N
• 68th Drive N between 146th Road N and 149th Place N
• 74th Avenue N between 155th Place N and 159th Court N
• 75th Way N between 150th Court N and 154th Court N
• 77th Trail N between 150th Court N and 154th Court N
• 78th Drive N between 155th Place N and 159th Court N
• 81st Terrace N between 150th Court N and 154th Court N
• 149th Place between 69th Drive N and 64th Way N
• 163rd Court N between 75th Avenue N and 79th Terrace N
• 163rd Court N between 75th Avenue N and East End

District Engineer, Amy Eason reported the estimated cost for the project was $1.4 million or approximately $385,000 per mile. The cost to affected landowners is estimated to be $1150 per year for 10 years, or a $8,813 one time cost. The prepayment date cut-off is May 31, 2016.

Please see our Referenda page for updated information on the progress of this project.


 

Tom Powell presents award to Tom Rice

Former Supervisor Tom Rice Presented Award

At a Special Meeting held on October 26, Supervisor Tom Powell presented Tom Rice an award honoring him for 25 years of dedicated service to the District as Supervisor and Vice President.

Rice noted he had enjoyed serving the landowners of the District over more than two decades and congratulated John Meyer and Stephen Hinkle on winning the 2015 election.



Policy Change Enacted at June 11, 2015 Board Meeting

At the April and May Board of Supervisors’ meetings, there were extensive discussions by the Board, with input from numerous landowners in attendance, regarding changes to percentage requirements for petitioning and voting on capital improvement referenda. The Supervisors noted that many landowners had expressed interest in establishing different requirements for the east and west sides of the District. Some changes were implemented in April, however, at their June 11, 2015 meeting, the Board voted three to one (Mr. Danchuk, Mr. Powell and Mr. Rice voting in favor, Mr. Hinkle against and Mr. Ryan was absent) to set the requirement for petitioning for capital improvements at 35% for the entire District; require a 50+% majority of votes cast for passage of a referendum for the lands lying east of the C-18 Canal; and require a 50+% majority of all affected landowners for passage of a referendum for lands lying west of the C-18 Canal.

If a referendum passes based on these policies, all landowners benefiting from the improvement would be assessed on a per parcel basis, unless a per acre basis is requested and approved by the Board.



District Receives Insurance Reimbursement Check for Training/Safety Programs

The District was awarded a reimbursement check for $1422.41 on April 22 by Christopher Kittleson of Public Risk Underwriters of Florida, representing the District’s insurer, Preferred Governmental Insurance Trust, for training and safety initiatives undertaken from October 2014 to March 2015. Mr. Kittleson congratulated the District for taking the initiative to utilize the Preferred Training Incentive Program for Safety, which not only provides an economic benefit to its members, but also assists them in protecting personnel and property by providing financial incentives for safety training and safety equipment procurement. The program provides matching incentives of up to $5000 per year for safety-related signage, driver training, continuing education classes and more.

Over the past six months, the District has installed danger and no trespassing signs every 500 feet on canal banks and locks on gates, which are to be used by District personnel for maintenance purposes only. This will aid enforcement by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department and reduces liability issues. In addition, District personnel attended a number of safety seminars and classes (see story below left) by the Safety Council of Palm Beach County.

 

 

 

 

 

 



Manager of Operations Michael Dillon and Supervisor Tom Rice,
who also is a Trustee of Preferred Governmental Insurance Trust,
accept the check from Christopher Kittleson



Congratulations

The Board of Supervisors and District Staff would like to congratulate District Operator Arie Raz and his wife Lennea on the birth of twin sons on May 17!

Best wishes to the family on this joyous occasion!





Election Results

Thomas Powell was sworn in at the monthly board meeting of the South Indian River Water Control District (SIRWCD) Board of Supervisors on Oct. 16. The board accepted the certified results from the Supervisor of Elections office with Mr. Powell receiving 810 votes, John Meyer receiving 612 votes and Rick Lee receiving 324 votes. Mr. Powell has served on the board since 1981.
Michael Danchuk was elected President, Tom Rice as Vice-President, and Jane Woodward as Secretary. In addition, the following committee heads remain in their positions – Tom Powell - Budgeting; Tom Rice - Communications; Michael Ryan - Parks, Recreation and Water; and Stephen Hinkle - Policies and Procedures.



Annual Budget Meeting

At the August 21, 2014 South Indian River Water Control District Board of Supervisors meeting and Annual Budget Public Hearing District Treasurer Charles Haas reported that the total assessments from ongoing programs will increase just .2% from $5,179,200 in 2013/2014 to $5,187,000 in the 2014/2015 budget year. Mr. Haas also stated that the District is fiscally sound and has received a total of $5,078,447 in assessment receipts through June 30, representing 98% of the budgeted assessments.

For most of the landowners in Palm Beach Country Estates the proposed assessments will increase by about $12.00 per parcel or 1.00% and for most landowners in Jupiter Farms, the proposed increase in assessments will be about $3.00 per parcel or 1.05%, while those not receiving road maintenance will have their assessments reduced by 6.4%. Assessments for landowners in Egret Landing are proposed to remain the same as last year.

After his presentation, Mr. Haas recommended the Board adopt the budget for the fiscal year 2014/2015. After a discussion, the Board approved a resolution adopting the budget and the levying of special assessments for 2014 on all lands within the District, pursuant to Section 197.3632, Florida Statutes.

Adopted Budget Fiscal Year 2014/2015
Audited Financial Statements 2013



George McGarry Celebrates 10 Years

Field Supervisor George McGarry was awarded a plaque commemorating 10 years of service on October 29 at the District offices. Supervisors Stephen Hinkle, Tom Rice, Michael Danchuk and Michael Ryan were on hand to congratulate him and thank him for his work. Manager of Operations Michael Dillon presented the plaque and said "George is one of our most valued employees. He is a dedicated worker who goes above and beyond what is expected of him." District landowners may know George from the annual Landowners Family Day as he often helps out serving beverages to the hundreds of attendees.


McGarry 10 Years

 

Reimbursement check

District Receives Insurance Reimbursement

The South Indian River Water Control District was awarded a reimbursement check for $1,115.09 on October 27 by Christopher Kittleson of Public Risk Underwriters of Florida, representing the District’s insurer, Preferred Governmental Insurance Trust, for training and safety initiatives undertaken from April 2016 to October 2016. Mr. Kittleson congratulated the District for continuing to utilize the Preferred Training Incentive Program for Safety, which provides an economic benefit to its members and assists them in protecting personnel and property with financial incentives for safety training and safety equipment procurement. The program provides matching incentives of up to $5000.00 per year for safety-related signage, driver training, continuing education classes, and more.

The initiatives undertaken included canal signage for District maintained canal easements and lakes, as well as gate padlocks to help prevent access to canal banks by unauthorized personnel. In addition, OSHA-required protective equipment and first aid supplies were acquired.

Staff also attended a Safety Council of Palm Beach County seminar to help prevent and treat heat-related injuries.



District Holds Workshop on Driveway Culvert Installation

The South Indian River Water Control District Board of Supervisors discussed the installation of driveway culverts at a workshop held at the District’s offices on February 4, 2016. Currently, the policy is that landowners are responsible for the maintenance and replacement of their driveway culverts.

The Supervisors noted there are problems with old driveway culverts that are non-functioning and have not been replaced by owners, as well as culverts that were installed years ago at the wrong elevation, both of which impact the drainage capabilities of the District. Discussions included whether the District should take over installation and replacement of culverts and provide maintenance to help ensure better drainage overall.

Supervisor Powell said that the Board is obligated to implement and maintain the District’s Plan of Reclamation and the swales and culverts are part of the secondary drainage system. Supervisor Hinkle noted that there are naturally low areas and the water on each street may flow differently, which is challenging. Manager of Operations Michael Dillon reported that some landowners are changing the topography of their lot, creating additional problems and that more control over the process may be beneficial. The District is considering requiring a permit for installation of driveway culverts associated with new construction in coordination with Palm Beach County. In addition, there was some discussion regarding the implementation of a District-wide, long-term replacement program, however, the Board asked staff to provide additional information for the February Board meeting.

March 2016 Update: There will be an update on the status of culvert installation shortly. Please check back for more infomation.


 

Steve Hinkle and John Meyer Sworn in

2015 Board of Supervisor Elections

The South Indian River Water Control District is governed by a five-member Board of Supervisors who serve three-year terms. Supervisors are elected by a vote of the landowners based on parcel acreage. Visit our Elections page for additional information.

Ballots for this year’s two Board of Supervisors positions were mailed out to all landowners on August 17. Voting was closed on September 17. The ballots have been counted and certified by the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections and the results are as follows:

Stephen Hinkle - 2812
Rick G. Lee - 951
John A. Meyer - 2719
Tom Rice, Sr. - 985

The Board of Supervisors discussed the Supervisor of Elections certified ballots at their October 15 Board Meeting. The District's Attorney, Terry Lewis noted an objection had been filed to contest the election with a request to canvass the ballots and this request has been forwarded to the Supervisor of Elections. Mr. Lewis noted that it was their legal opinion that the election had been legally and fairly conducted and that Mr. Hinkle and Mr. Meyer had been elected by a large majority. Any further challenge would be through the District Court. The Board voted three to one to accept the certified results and Mr. Hinkle and Mr. Meyer were sworn in by the attorney.

Mr. Hinkle was elected as president, Mr. Ryan was elected as vice president, and committee chairs will remain the same.



District Staff Certifications & Training

South Indian River Water Control District personnel continue to further their education and certifications with advanced training and programs to better serve the landowners, as well as ensure compliance with mandated safety requirements.

Operator Matt Wood recently attended the Florida Institute of Government seminar, “Customer Service for Supervisors and Managers of Municipalities” and along with Gregory Gell and George McGarry, completed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Stormwater Erosion and Sedimentation Control Inspector Training Program to become qualified Stormwater Management Inspectors. The program curriculum was developed to educate inspectors on proper installation,  inspection and maintenance of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for use during and after construction to minimize erosion and sedimentation and to properly manage runoff for both stormwater quantity and quality. Florida’s stormwater program is technology based, using performance standards and BMP design criteria. The use of innovative techniques and specifically designed erosion control systems is encouraged in order to prevent erosion and sedimentation during construction activity.

Employee CJ Wilbur attended a “Warehouse Safety” seminar sponsored by the Safety Council of Palm Beach County. Operators Gregory Gell, Matt Wood and Arie Raz received certificates for first aid and CPR training sponsored by the Safety Council of Palm Beach County.

In addition, the District received awards for driver and worker safety at the 18th Annual Safety Awards by the Safety Council of Palm Beach County held on Thursday, March 12 in West Palm Beach. The District had no recordable OSHA cases or incidents in 2013 and 2014.



Annual Budget Public Hearing - August 20, 2015

The 2015 Annual Budget Meeting was held August 20, 2015 in the Jupiter High School Media Center prior to the Board of Supervisors monthly meeting at 7:30 pm.

District Treasurer Charles Haas reported that the total assessments from ongoing programs will not increase from last year's level of $5,187,000 in the 2015/2016 budget year. Mr. Haas also stated that the District is fiscally sound and has received a total of $5,216,081.12 in assessment receipts through July 31, representing 100% of the budgeted assessments.

New assessments this year are the first year of a special five-year assessment approved by the Board for funding of canal improvements in Jupiter Farms and for the Palm Beach Country Estates (PBCE) park improvements in the amounts of $18,800 and $70,000 respectively.
For most landowners in PBCE, the proposed assessment increase will be about 3.79% or $46.00. For the Jupiter Farms neighborhood, the proposed increase in assessments will be about $2.00 per parcel or .69%. Assessments for landowners in Egret Landing are proposed to remain the same as last year.

After his presentation, Mr. Haas asked the Board for a motion to approve a resolution adopting the budget for 2015-2016 and the levying of special assessments for 2015 on all lands within the District, pursuant to Section 197.3632, Florida Statutes, and the board passed the motion unanimously.



Poll Results on Potential Capital Improvements Change Discussed at March 26 Board of Supervisors Meeting

The South Indian River Water Control District (SIRWCD) Board of Supervisors had directed staff in January to send a poll to District landowners concerning its policy for voting on landowner-initiated capital improvements. Currently, when a roadway or any other capital improvement petition obtains the minimum required number of signatures from all affected landowners, the Board may approve the petition to proceed to referendum. All affected landowners are then mailed a ballot to vote on the capital improvement. The ballot contains information concerning cost and financing of the capital improvement and allows each landowner to vote “For” or “Against” the improvement. The ballots are returned to SIRWCD and are delivered to the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections for counting and verifying of the results.

                Like most traditional voting, the referendum is approved or denied by a majority (more than 50%) of the ballots returned or cast. For example, if there are 20 parcels in the affected area of an improvement referendum and only 12 ballots are returned, with 7 in favor and 5 against, the referendum passes and all landowners would be assessed.

                The Board wanted landowner input on a proposed new policy that would require more than 50% of the landowners affected by the capital improvement be in favor in order for it to pass.

The poll was mailed to landowners on Jan. 28 and results shown below were responses that were received through March 26 and were presented to the Board of Supervisors at their March 26 meeting:

Palm Beach Country Estates - Leave Policy 214 • Change Policy 270
Jupiter Farms - Leave Policy 354 • Change Policy 925
Egret Landing - Leave Policy 25 • Change Policy 40
Jupiter Park of Commerce - Leave Policy 2 • Change Policy 5
There was a total of 16 invalid responses that either checked both boxes or neither box.

TOTALS - Leave Policy 595 • Change Policy 1240

The total number of responses was approximately 27.6% of the landowners in the District. Approximately 18.5% were in favor of changing the policy and 9.1% were in favor of leaving the current policy as is.

The Board heard comments from several residents of the District on both sides of the issue. Board President Michael Danchuk said there was not enough response to warrant changing the policy and Mr. Rice thought Mr. Powell, who was not able to attend the meeting, should be present for the discussion on a very important potential policy change. Mr. Hinkle and Mr. Ryan stated there was a clear majority in the results of the poll and felt the policy should be changed.

Mr. Hinkle made a motion to change the policy on capital improvement project voting to require more than 50% of affected landowners be in favor in order to be passed, however, this wouldn't be applied to the current referenda. Mr. Ryan seconded the motion. After further discussion, Mr. Ryan and Mr. Hinkle voted in favor of the motion and Mr. Danchuk and Mr. Rice voted against it and the motion was defeated.

The Board also debated the amount of time landowners must wait before submitting a new petition after a road referendum fails to pass. After discussion and consulting the District's Attorney, the Board unanimously passed a motion to set the amount of time before re-petitioning for a capital improvement to three years.



Board of Supervisors Remove Six Roadways From Referenda

At the November 20, 2014 South Indian River Water Control District Board of Supervisors monthly meeting, District Engineer Amy Eason reported that she had received and verified the following petitions in 2013 and 2014 for construction of asphalt roadways in Palm Beach Country Estates totaling approximately 8.2 miles:

• 64th Way N between 146th Road N and 149th Place N
• 67th Trail N between 146th Road N and 149th Place N
• 68th Drive N between 146th Road N and 149th Place N
• 71st Drive N between 155th Place N and 160th Street N
• 74th Avenue N between 155th Place N and 159th Court N
• 75th Way N between 150th Court N and 154th Court N
• 76th Trail N between 150th Court N and 154th Court N
• 76th Trail N between 155th Place N and 159th Court N
• 77th Trail N between 150th Court N and 154th Court N
• 78th Drive N between 150th Court N and 154th Court N
• 78th Drive N between 155th Place N and 159th Court North
• 81st Terrace N between 150th Court N and 154th Court N
• 85th Avenue N between Canal C and Canal D
• 85th Way N between 155th Place N and 159th Court N
• 88th Trail N between 155th Place N and 159th Court N
• 149th Place between 69th Drive N and 64th Way N
• 154th Court N between 75th Avenue N to C-18 Canal
• 159th Court N between 75th Avenue N to East End
• 163rd Court N between 75th Avenue N and 79th Terrace N
• 163rd Court N between 75th Avenue N and East End

The following roadway in Jupiter Farms has petitioned for the application of open-graded emulsified mix (OGEM) and is approximately .5 miles:

• 164th Court N between Mellen Lane and Alexander Run

Mrs. Eason noted that the Board had previously directed staff to proceed with the Palm Beach Country Estates referendums and not to proceed to referendum on the Jupiter Farms OGEM roadway petition due to the small size of the project. In addition, she stated that the Board had removed the petition for 88th Trail N between 155th Place N and 159th Court N from the proposed referendums at their October 16 monthly meeting due to a majority of residents on the roadway submitting a request for no roadway improvements.

Mrs. Eason said she has received five additional requests since the October board meeting from landowners who have indicated they wished to keep their dirt roads and would not vote for the proposed improvements for the following roadways:

• 76th Trail N between 155th Place N and 159th Court N
• 76th Trail N between 150th Court N and 154th Court N
• 85th Avenue N between Canal C and Canal D
• 85th Way N between 155th Place N and 159th Court N
• 154th Court N between 75th Avenue N to C-18 Canal

After careful consideration of the requests, the Board determined there was a majority of landowners who wanted to keep their dirt roads and rural lifestyle and would not vote for the proposed improvements. The Board voted three to one to remove 85th Way N and voted unanimously to remove the remaining four roadways from the upcoming referenda.

UPDATE: THE REMAINING FOURTEEN ROADWAY IMPROVEMENT PETITIONS WERE APPROVED BY THE BOARD TO GO TO REFERENDUM. BALLOTS WERE MAILED ON FEBRUARY 6, 2015 WITH A RETURN DUE DATE OF MARCH 12. VOTING IS NOW CLOSED.

Supervisors also discussed 71st Drive N between 155th Place N and 160th Street N and voted unanimously to end the roadway segment at 159th Court instead of 160th Street N. Supervisor Stephen Hinkle made a motion to notify the residents on 66th Trail N that several roadways around them are proceeding to referendum for roadway improvements, and should they also be interested, it would be the time to petition for improvement as well. The motion passed three to one.

The Board also had previously directed District staff to prepare a poll for all landowners to gauge interest in amending current voting policies for capital improvements. Public Information Officer Donna DeNinno, District Engineer Amy Eason, and District Attorney William Capko, presented information for the Board’s consideration. After further discussion, the Board directed staff to make revisions to the poll and to send it out to all District landowners as a separate mailing and to add a copy of the poll to the District’s website.

District Treasurer, Charles Haas, presented four amendments to the 2013/14 District budget after a final review in closing the books and recommended Board approval, which was unanimous.