The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council agreed Tuesday to have its manager meet with the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District administrator to discuss an agreement to let district staff work with the town’s contractor on road maintenance and improvements in order to save money.
Councilman Ron Jarriel, who had just been chosen as vice mayor, brought up the issue, pointing out that residents pay assessments to the LGWCD. It has two tractors for hedging, and Jarriel said he thought the town should not have to pay its private contractor, Bergeron Land Development, for hedging services.
“Bergeron is doing an outstanding job,” Jarriel said. “They’ve got a routine, once a month. They’re very professional, [and] they’ve probably got more people when they do that routine than the district does when they’re out working every day. But it’s costing us $138,000 a year for one grading a month.”
Jarriel said that the membership of the LGWCD board will change in June, and the new board might be looking at raising assessments.
“I hope I’m wrong about that, but be prepared, because the equipment is shabby; the water trucks look like junk,” he said. “Our water control district is a nasty-looking place. The only way they can change that is to raise assessments. The only other way they can make things better is if this town starts working with the water control district with an interlocal agreement… There is a lot of money we could save if we were using equipment we’re already paying for.”
Jarriel asked whether Town Manager Bill Underwood could work with LGWCD Administer Steve Yohe to see if the two agencies can work together in order to save money.
Mayor Dave Browning said the biggest issue would be to come up with a plan that does not interfere with the Bergeron contract.
“We went through a process of putting it out for bids and got one that didn’t work out,” Browning said. “The next bidder was Bergeron, which has done a good job, and while that contract is in effect, I don’t know where we are as far as bringing somebody in to share that work.”
Jarriel said he did not want Bergeron to stop what it is doing, but to find areas of work that the district can perform.
“[Bergeron] is very professional,” Jarriel said. “When you ride our town roads now, you’re going to find that they’ve come up to par. The water runs off the roads now. If you ride a district road, you’re going to find that there’s a canal. When the floods come, the roads are going to be holding the water. It’s not the district’s fault, because they haven’t raised assessments, and they can’t afford to put road rock down.”
Jarriel asked for a council consensus for the manager and administrator to meet, and the rest of the council agreed.
In other business, Browning was re-appointed to another one-year term as mayor. He remains the town’s only mayor since its incorporation 10 years ago. Councilman Dave DeMarois nominated Browning, and the motion carried 5-0.
DeMarois also nominated Jarriel to serve as vice mayor, which carried 4-1 with Councilman Todd McLendon dissenting.
For the Planning & Zoning Board, Jarriel nominated Grace Joyce; DeMarois nominated Robin Crawford; Councilman Ryan Liang nominated Veronica Close; Councilman Todd McLendon nominated Robin Ford; and Browning nominated Dennis Lipp. Liang made a motion to approve the nominees, which carried 5-0.
For the Roadway, Equestrian Trails & Greenway Advisory Committee, McLendon nominated Hollie Proesel; Liang did not have an appointment; Browning nominated Dr. Bill Louda; DeMarois nominated Johnnie Hopkins; and Jarriel nominated Nina Corning. McLendon made a motion to approve the nominees, which carried 5-0.
For the Finance Advisory & Audit Committee, Jarriel nominated Bruce Cunningham; DeMarois nominated John Ryan; Browning nominated Ken Johnson; Liang nominated Jim Rockett; and McLendon nominated Connie Bell. Liang made a motion to approve the nominees, which carried 5-0.
For the Uniform Land Development Code Committee, McLendon nominated Thais Gonzalez; Liang nominated Mary McNicholas; Browning nominated Joyce Bachelor; DeMarois nominated Mary Ann Miles; and Jarriel nominated Karen Piesley. Liang made a motion to approve the nominees, which carried 5-0.