District News

This page will feature news releases by the District relating to meetings, petition and road referendum updates, elections, and more. This page will be regularly updated. If landowners have any questions about a news story, you may contact the District at 561-747-0550 or via e-mail at sirwcd@sirwcd.org. For older archived stories, please visit our Archived News page.

 

The District's Notes and News newsletter also provides information of interest to landowners. Please click here for PDFs of all the District newsletters.

2017 Insurance Check Reimbursement

District Receives Insurance Reimbursement

The South Indian River Water Control District has been awarded reimbursement checks for $2,786.26 and $1,098.65 by Christopher Kittleson of Public Risk Underwriters of Florida, representing the District’s insurer, Preferred Governmental Insurance Trust, for training and safety initiatives undertaken this fiscal year. The total the District received in reimbursement for the 2016-2017 fiscal year is $5,000, which is the policy year limit.

The Preferred Training Incentive Program for Safety 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 warning and no trespassing signage for District maintained canal easements and lakes and Safety Council of Palm Beach County OSHA seminar on injuries and fall protection, Stings, Bites and Zika Risks, and the new Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard. A safety assessment conducted by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Unit recommended the use of security cameras to deter crime at the District Work Center. Three cameras were installed that cover the parking area, entrance to property and the fuel pumps. In addition, OSHA-required protective equipment and first aid supplies were acquired.



19th Plan of Improvement Update

Pursuant to Board direction after petitioners met the minimum requirements, staff prepared a referendum for the landowner proposed project that was mailed October 17, 2016 with the request that the landowners submit their response to the District by December 9, 2016. On December 14, 2016 and on April 14, 2017, staff received the certification from the Supervisor of Elections on the results of the referendum. The majority of the landowners on the following roadways were “in favor” of the proposed project for asphalt in Palm Beach Country Estates (approximately 2.4 miles):

• 76th Trail N between 160th Lane N and 162nd Court N
• 76th Trail N between 163rd Court N and 165th Street N
• 78th Drive N between 165th Street N and 167th Court N
• 154th Court N. between 75th Avenue N and 81st Terrace N
• 159th Court N between 78th Drive N and 84th Avenue N*
• 160th Street N between 72nd Drive N and 75th Avenue N and 72nd Drive N from 160th Street N to 160th Lane N
• 175th Road N between Jupiter Farms Road and West End

At the February 2017 Board Meeting, staff receive approval to prepare the 19th Plan of Improvements. A public hearing for the filing of the resolution to consider approval of an amendment to its current water control plan to include this project was held on May 18, 2017. At this meeting, the board approved staff to prepare the Engineer’s Report and draft Plan of Improvement. The Engineer’s Report was filed on May 26, 2017.

A final hearing to consider approval of the report and proposed water control plan amendment was held June 29, 2017, where the District Engineer reported that the estimated costs will range from $787 to $1755 per parcel depending on location and on financing, which will be based on current interest rates over a term of up to 10 years. The upfront payment was estimated at $13,350.

During the public hearing, the Board heard landowner comments and discussed the project. *After further discussion during the regularly-scheduled Board meeting, the Supervisors voted three to one to approve the District Engineer's Report with an amendent to the plan to remove the section from 83rd Way N to 84th Avenue N and authorized the District Engineer to submit the proposed water control plan amendment to South Florida Water Control District.

The District Engineer announced at the Annual Landowner Meeting on September 21 that the District has received the approval for the water control plan amendment from the South Florida Water Management District. Plans call for a review of swales to determine if any swale maintenance needs to be completed prior to the survey, which should be completed by December. Design of the project is expected to begin in January 2018.

Please see our Referendum page for more information.


 

Family Day

Matt Wood and Carol Wise Celebrate Five Year Anniversaries with the District

Superintendent Matt Wood and Carol Wise, office assistant, were awarded certificates of appreciation by Michael Dillon, Manager of Operations and John Meyer, Supervisor on April 25 for five years of service to South Indian River Water Control District.. Matt was originally hired as a Level 2 Operator in May of 2012. He was the District’s full-time Backhoe and Motor Grader Operator until he was promoted to Superintendent in December of 2016.

Carol had previously worked part time for the District for 7 1/2 years from July 2003 thru December 2010. She returned as the office assistant in 2012, providing valuable assistance and expertise when Holly Rigsby took over the office administrator position from Greta Raymand after she retired. As a long-time resident of Jupiter Farms, Carol provides insight into the workings of the District.


 

Family Day

District Receives Safety Awards for 20th Consecutive Year

For the 20th consecutive year, SIRWCD has received awards from the Safety Council of Palm Beach County, recognizing the District for its dedication and committment to workplace safety. The Awards of Excellence for Vehicle and Worker safety were presented to SIRWCD staff at the annual awards luncheon held on March 9, 2017. Manager of Operations Michael Dillon and Board Supervisor John Meyer acknowledged George McGarry, Matt Wood and Arie Raz and the staff for their fine work on behalf of the District and its landowners. “We are proud of our personnel and their excellent safety record,” said Mr. Dillon.



Family Day

Matt Wood Promoted to Superintendent

Matt Wood has been promoted to Superintendent. Matt was hired as a Level 2 Operator in May of 2012. He was the District’s full-time Backhoe and Motor Grader Operator until he was promoted to Superintendent in December of 2016. Before working with the District, Matt worked for the City of Atlantis in the Utilities Department. In 2015, Matt received his certificate as a Qualified Stormwater Management Inspector through the Florida Depart-ment of Environmental Protection and has been taking management classes through the Florida Institute of Government Division of Continuing Education. “Matt is very dedicated to his job and gets along extremely well with others. His know-ledge and patience in working with new operators to properly construct the works of the District has been a tremendous asset that benefits us, as well as the landowners we serve,” said Michael Dillon, Manager of Operations..



Andy Billy Award

Andy Billy Acknowledged for 15 Years Service

Andy Billy was awarded a certificate for 15 years of service to the South Indian River Water Control District on November 7, 2016. Andy serves as the District's head boom mower operator.

" He does an excellent job in instructing others in proper mowing procedures," said Manager of Operations, Mike Dillon. "Before coming to SIRWCD, Andy ran his own mechanic shop for 30 years, so his knowledge of equipment has been a great benefit to the District.

Kubota Tractor

District Adds New Kubota Tractor

South Indian River Water Control District has added a new Kubota M6S Tractor to their fleet of vehicles. This is the second Kubota mini-excavator for the District. This equipment allows access to confined areas and has allowed for significant improvements for drainage. The new Kubota replaced a 2008 John Deere 6430 Tractor.



2017 Board of Supervisors Election

On June 29, 2017, Michael Ryan resigned from the South Indian River Water Control District (SIRWCD) Board of Supervisors. At an abbreviated Board meeting on July 20, 2017, the Board appointed John Jones, a resident of Palm Beach Country Estates, to fill Mr. Ryan’s seat until the 2017 Board of Supervisors’ election was conducted.

One Supervisor will be elected for a term of three years. That candidate may not reside in the District, but must own land in the District and must be a resident of Palm Beach County. Tom Powell, who has served on the Board since 1981, is running for re-election for this seat.

Due to the resignation of Supervisor Ryan, a second seat was also on the ballot. Candidates for that seat must reside in the area of the District East of the South Florida Water Management District Canal 18 (C-18) and own land in the District. That term is for a period of two years, the remainder of Mr. Ryan's term. John Jones and Robert Berman filed to run for this seat. Both are residents of Palm Beach Country Estates. As noted above, Mr. Jones has been appointed Supervisor by the Board and Mr. Berman has previously served on the Board from 1999-2010.

Official ballots were sent out August 11. Election ballots had to be received at the District office no later than 4:30 pm on September 21, 2017 or cast in person at the start of the Annual Landowners Meeting that evening.

The cerified results have been received from the Supervisor of Elections and are as follows:

Tom Powell - Unopposed Non-Resident Seat - Winner

Bob Berman - Eastside Resident Seat - 714
John Jones - Eastside Resident Seat - 1,717 - Winner

Swearing in of the Supervisors is scheduled for the October 19, 2017 Board of Supervisors Meeting.

All candidates have signed the Oath of Candidate, which states they will resign from office within 30 days if their residency changes and causes the District's Board of Supervisors to no longer be in compliance with Chapter 2001-313, Laws of Florida.

Please see our elections page for more information.



Board of Supervisors Approves New Roadway Enhanced Stabilization/Paving Policy

The Board of Supervisors, by a vote of four to one, approved a new Roadway Enhanced Stabilization/Paving Policy at their April 20, 2017 board meeting. The new policy had been conceptually approved at the Board's February meeting and discussed in detail at a workshop held on March 9 at the District's offices.

The purpose of the policy is to create a systematic procedure for South Indian River Water Control District's landowners to apply for road surface upgrades on roads maintained by the District.

The South Indian River Water Control District Board of Supervisors hereby establishes the following:

1. No roadway will be considered for enhanced stabilization unless the easement width, drainage swales, and road base are considered suitable by the District Manager of Operations and the District Engineer.

2. Enhanced stabilization shall be in accordance with the design and specifications approved by the District Manager of Operations and District Engineer.

3. Should a roadway need enhancements to be considered suitable for the project as determined by the District Manager of Operations and District Engineer, the landowners shall pay the costs of these improvements.

4. Enhanced stabilization projects require a petition by landowners having signatures from more than 50% of the lots abutting the road segment or lots within the benefitted area, as determined by the District Engineer. Petitions shall be submitted to the District Office requesting the project, along with a petition review fee (as recommended by the District Engineer and approved by the Board of Supervisors). Petitions shall be on a District-approved form which provides a range of preliminary estimated paving costs provided by the District Engineer and such petitions shall state whether the project will be financed by the District. The Board of Supervisors may approve or deny the Petition after the District Manager of Operations and District Engineer review, verify, and make recommendations.

5. After submission of a qualified petition, Board approval, and review by the District Manager of Operations and District Engineer, a referendum ballot will be sent to all landowners on the road segment or all landowners in the benefited area reflecting the estimated assessments. A successful referendum under this policy requires an affirmative vote by at least 90% of benefited landowners for passage.

6. There are two options for funding a project. The choice between Landowner financing or District financing must be part of the initial petition request and the choice must be clearly noted on the petition:
a. District financing: benefited landowners will be assessed for their portion of the actual cost of the project over the term of the financing secured by the District. Landowners who wish to pay their portion of the project without financing charges must submit their portion of the estimated project cost to SIRWCD prior to District financing of the project. Payment due dates will be announced to affected landowners.
b. Landowner financing: Projects not financed by the District must have all estimated costs paid in full prior to the project being added to a Plan of Improvement.

7. Petitions for landowner-initiated enhanced stabilization projects will be available from the SIRWCD office on the first business day in February of each year and must be returned to SIRWCD by the last business day in April of the same year. Petitions meeting the requirements of the District Manager of Operations and District Engineer will be presented for approval by the Board no later than August 31 of the same year. Once approved, referendum ballots will be mailed via certified mail to benefitted landowners. Landowners will have at least 30 days to return a completed referendum ballot with the date due for return clearly noted on the envelope and/or referendum ballot.

In addition, the Board of Supervisors incorporated "No Pave Petitions" language into the new policy. Landowners interested in placing a “no enhanced stabilization” or “no pave” restriction on the roadway adjacent to their property for a period of five (5) years may submit their request in writing on a District-approved form and must be signed by more than 50% of affected landowners. The Board also determined that the policy applies to no-pave petitions currently on file with the District.

Additional considerations do apply. (See our Petitions or Referendum pages for more information.)



New Boom Mower

District Receives New Boom Arm Mower

The District has added a new John Deere 6110M Boom Arm Mower to it's fleet of equipment. It's designed to mow canal banks and roadside ditches. It replaces the John Deere 6420 Boom Mower previously used by the District.


 

Michael Dillon presented with award for 20 years service

Manager of Operations Michael Dillon Presented with Award for 20 Years Service to the District

Board of Supervisors President, Stephen Hinkle, presented Manager of Operations Michael Dillon with a crystal award for 20 years service to the District at the 25th Annual Landowners Family Day held on March 12.

Mr. Dillon was hired as a level-two equipment operator on April 8, 1996. He was trained by Richard (Skip) Stuart to be the mechanic/shop supervisor and took over the position full time in 2000, when Mr. Stuart left the District. At the same time, Mr. Dillon began management courses with the Florida Institute of Government through Palm Beach Community College, which he completed in 2003. Three years later, Mr. Dillon advanced to Operations Superintendent and worked closely with former District Manager Gale English on the day-to-day operations of the District. He was instrumental in establishing the District's Safety Program and headed the program from 1998-2011.

Mr. Dillon also was instrumental in organizing information needed to secure grants from FEMA and the National Resources Conservation Service for repair work done throughout the District due to damage from the 2004-2005 hurricanes. The state and federal grants received for restoration work associated with the three hurricanes that impacted the District totaled approximately $3.6 million.

In March of 2011, after Mr. English's passing, Mr. Dillon was named Manager of Operations for the District, a position he has held for the last five years.

"We are most fortunate to have had the level of expertise and dedication demonstrated by Mr. Dillon during his 20-year tenure with the District," said Mr. Hinkle during his presentation. "With his responsiveness to the concerns and issues of the landowners, as well as his extensive knowledge of the operations and maintenance of the roads and water control, he has proven to be a great asset to the Board of Supervisors and District."