When is a public road a “town road” in Loxahatchee Groves? It depends on what official document one reads. If one reads the annual gas tax certification letter signed by the mayor, all the roads with green signs and names including A, B, C, etc. are listed in an attachment.
However, the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District lists several of these roads in a letter to a different state agency asserting their “ownership” of the same roads as does the town. Discussion in the council session of Aug. 2 revealed the LGWCD’s false ownership claim of Sixth Court North.
The letters go different places and are written by two different entities. The obvious discrepancy in ownership hasn’t been reconciled. To further complicate things, the LGWCD claims that gas tax funds collected for “their portion” of roads be transferred from town’s coffers to theirs.
Some town council folk agree with this rationale and provide the funds. It begs the question, if the roads in question are “LGWCD roads,” why does the town claim them in order to collect funds, which are subsequently transferred to the LGWCD?
Even more unusual is the circumstance of West D Road from the bridge at Pineapple/Tangerine southward. Former LGWCD Administrator Clete Saunier, the creator of the town’s gas tax map, placed this section of West D Road on the town’s gas tax map during its inception. The property survey of the LGWCD facility identifies the same area with a 30-foot-wide road easement.
Currently, this section of West D Road is fenced, locked and used to store rock, fill and dumpsters for the LGWCD. Once again, highly irregular at best. On Sept. 12, 2014, the town received a code enforcement complaint that the LGWCD was occupying and blocking the use of a public road. On Oct. 15, 2014, the LGWCD’S legal firm submitted a chain sheet to the town which identified ownership and rights over the east 30 feet of the LGWCD property from June 5, 1925 to Sept. 24, 2014.
The chain sheet reveals that in 1979, Loxahatchee Investments Inc. and/or Arthur Murray Trustee held the deed. Notes in the deed state that the deed is subject to a 30-foot road easement for road purposes over the northerly and easterly 30-foot easements. Town files reveal that on Dec. 9, 2014, current LGWCD Administrator Steve Yohe indicated that he was pursuing abandonment of the 30-foot road easement. On Dec. 12, 2014, town management received a letter from the LGWCD requesting removal of this section of West D Road from the gas tax map.
So, rather than comply, vacate the easement and return the area back into a public road, the LGWCD chose to be a defendant in an upcoming code enforcement hearing. The LGWCD has defied the town and public use of West D Road for some 19 months. Such monkey biz.
The LGWCD, a state entity, is not eligible to receive gas tax funding directly. Why is the Town of Loxahatchee Groves (by terms of the gas tax program) collecting funds for roads belonging to others? This is the problem.
Why are so many afraid of the solution? Simply, the LGWCD Board of Supervisors must turn over all roads to the town. Place it on the LGWCD agenda, make the motion and vote.
Examination by the Palm Beach County Office of the Inspector General has revealed that the former LGWCD administrator falsely calculated lane miles on the gas tax map, which resulted in the reduction of gas tax funds to the town.
As of a month ago, the town’s compliance with state statute 95.361 2 (b) provides town ownership of all roads, other than private, within its borders. In May, the Groves cookie monster unanimously voted to deny the town council’s request to turn over all LGWCD roads to the town. What’s with all the current monkey biz?
Keith Harris, Loxahatchee Groves