Clearwater Cay CDD Accomplishments
Clearwater Cay Community Development District
Grand Venezia 2020 Update
In 2005 the City of Clearwater granted authorization for the establishment of the CLEARWATER CAY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT. As result, the community does not currently own the land within the community, it is owned by the district and is managed by a 5-member Board of Supervisors. On November 28, 2018 the CDD Board of Supervisors changed direction and its relationship with the Grand Venezia community and landowners within the district. This was result of the election of Michael Herd, Pat O’Malley and Don Dwyer to the board. November and December 2018 were filled with a tremendous amount of work in an attempt to move the district forward and to address the internal corruption within the district related to the bond holders, the bank trustee, the district’s lawyers and the district’s management company.
1) REASSESSMENT – In January 2019 Resolution 2019-09 was presented which stated that the district is dissatisfied with the non-ad valorem assessment methodology as, among other things, were irregular, defective as well as not consistent with the direction from the circuit court, directing and authorizing the District Manager and counsel for the district to take certain actions in connection therewith providing for conflicts and severability and providing for an effective date. That resolution passed and a new reassessment methodology was initiated.
2) ENGINEER – Florida law requires that a CDD has an engineer on staff at all times. We have not had an engineer since 2008. Since 2008, there were only the lawyers of GrayRobinson and Fishkind as the management company. As result of this situation, the board agreed that Christopher Dausch of DGI will serve as the District Engineer for the foreseeable future.
3) LIGHTING AND LANDSCAPING THE ENTRANCE – In December 2018, the “new” board authorized that the Belair Road entrance be landscaped, replanted and that the trees be lit with small white lights. We completed that project. There were many electrical problems that were causing the lights to frequently not work. We believe we have overcome those issues and the entrance looks great.
4) GRAND VENEZIA ROADWAY FLOODING – The District Engineer was contracted to investigate the flooding issue. Two issues were discovered. First the Vue apartment complex connected their main stormwater drain to the wrong outflow connection into the bay. It was also discovered that the drainage system throughout the community had not been cleaned out in years. Both issues have been addressed and corrected. We had some flooding since the repairs, but the District Engineer reported that the storm water system was overwhelmed due to high-tide and the volume of rain within a very short period. Overall, the system is now working properly. However, we continue to improve the drainage issues.
5) THE COMMUNITY MAINTENANCE AGREEMENT – From 2010 until January of this year there were $78,000 collected from the GV community. That money was passed through to the GVCOA for the landscaping and maintenance of the community. That money, however, did NOT cover the overall maintenance costs of our community. The CDD board voted to invalidate that agreement and simply took responsibility for all landscaping, maintenance and infrastructure repairs and costs. The $78,000 is still being collected but you should know that the CDD spent over $140,000 in the community over this year on landscaping and maintenance of the community.
6) PARKING LOT REPAIRS – The parking lot was resealed in some areas under a warranty agreement negotiated by the board. Additionally, there were many potholes repaired and speed bumps installed. Because of its age, the parking lot continues to require repairs. We continue to monitor this situation.
7) TAMPA BAY ACCESS – On the bay-side of building 9 the CDD installed a set of steps to provide access to the bay. The board negotiated the required approval from the county environmental department. This provides safe access to the bay. Additionally, the board approved the installation of kayak racks that are available by request. There is, however, a waiting list. The racks were built by Ramon Rodriguez who lives in the community and loves to kayak. We are truly thankful to Ramon for his support of the community. We must, however, keep this area neat and clean in order to keep the stairs and racks. DO NOT STORE YOUR KAYAK WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION.
8) BRIDGE REPLACEMENT – The walking bridge at building 12 was completely rebuilt and repainted by Bill Bailey and his company. Bill is an owner in the community and stepped up to help us with the need to rebuild the bridge. We sincerely thank Bill and his employees who did a great job for the community.
9) MANGROVE TRIMMING – The board negotiated the required approval from the county environmental department to allow us to cut the mangroves to the minimum permit height of 6 feet. It was agreed, however, that it would require a spring cut to 7 feet and a fall cut to 6 feet. That was completed this fall. We also negotiated with the contractor to add a 3rd mangrove trim so that we will have the mangroves trimmed every 4 months. The next trim is scheduled to begin the 2nd week of April.
10) STORM WATER RETENTION / DRAINAGE BEHIND BLDG 2 – When the community was built, there was a requirement for a drainage swale behind building 2. That was never constructed. The CDD contracted with a company to correct this situation. The District Engineer oversaw the project for compliance with the requirements of the state and county. That project is now complete. However, behind building 1 there is a problem with the drainage. As result, the board authorized the District Engineer to contract a surveyor and another company to research the issue of the ground not properly absorbing the rainwater within the correct time. This project is still in work.
11) IRRIGATION SYSTEM – Due to its age the entire system was evaluated. The district has replaced one of two irrigation well pumps. Additionally, there have been many adjustments and replacements of the irrigation system.
Now that the irrigation system is working properly, sod and additional planting will follow throughout the community.
12) PALM TREES – We have approved the replacement of the large palm tree at the entrance to the community. This work will begin shortly. We have also approved the installation of four “new” palm trees that will be installed in the point in front of building 12. This work will begin shortly. Lastly, we approved the installation of three coconut palms that will be installed in the bowl area of the mangroves just behind the pool in the grass area. We have approved the construction of two firepits, with one in that same area near the pool, and the other just to the east of the gazebo at building 12. Both should be completed before the end of May.
13) LEGAL UPDATES
a) After the CDD voted to invalidate the 2018 (Fishkind) reassessment, Oppenheimer’s lawyers asked the state court to validate Fishkind’s assessment. The court refused and allowed us to continue through our reassessment process with unbiased professionals.
b) In order to protect the CDD board from intimidation, harassment and interruptions by Oppenheimer’s lawyers and to hopefully use the federal court to force US Bank to provide actual expenditure information, we filed bankruptcy in March.
c) In September, we completed and voted to accept a new 2019 reassessment methodology that was submitted to the county tax collector. That reassessment provides a per unit of $608.00 savings annually for Grand Venezia owners.
d) In November, at the same time, the bankruptcy attorney was in federal court to withdraw our bankruptcy case, while Dan Molloy (The CDD attorney) was in state court filing a motion with the court to validate our 2019 reassessment. We withdrew the bankruptcy because it had served its purpose and provided us the ability to complete our reassessment without having to defend ourselves against additional legal charges and court appearances from Oppenheimer, US Bank, Hopping Green and Holland & Knight attorneys.
e) On March 2nd, we were back in state court with Judge Jurotka. He decided that rather than validating our reassessment, he would order non-binding arbitration. Our hope is that the court will eventually validate the reassessment and the reduction in “Debt” will stand. Additionally, we may see a significant overpayment correction once the assessment is validated by the court. We truly believe along with our attorneys, that we will eventually prevail in this legal proceeding.
f) We recently authorized our attorney to move forward with potentially bringing legal charges against GrayRobinson and others regarding a variety of issues that have occurred prior to our election to the board.
g) We expect to see much less legal activity following the outcome of the March 3rd confirmation of the reassessment imposed. This will save the district a considerable amount of money as we move forward.
As a collective CDD board, we believe we have made great progress in correcting the wrongs of the previous CDD abuse that took place for years. We accomplished all of this in a remarkably short time frame. Our new board has worked as a team to accomplish what we were told could not be done regarding the Clearwater Cay Community Development District and the restructuring of the assessments.
2020 will continue to have new challenges for the district but we are certain (based on our collective experience) that we can overcome those new challenges. We look forward to your continued support and support of our relationship with the GVCOA board.
The Clearwater Cay Community Development District
Board of Supervisors
Michael Herd – Chair
Pat O’Malley – Vice Chair
Don Dwyer – Asst. Secretary
Al Glidden – Asst. Secretary
Jeff Wilson – Asst. Secretary