From now until the election, the Town-Crier will ask questions each week to the four Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors Seat 2 and Seat 4 candidates. This week’s question: How would you characterize the drainage services currently offered by the Indian Trail Improvement District? What improvements should be made? How should such projects be funded?
SEAT 4 CANDIDATES
Our drainage system in place right now, believe it or not, is a good system. The problem lies on where the water goes and when.
We pay big bucks to the people who are supposed to know how to run a water drainage system, and maybe there was a breakdown somewhere along the line. We, the people, really do not know what happened and when. We get conflicting reports on what transpired during the storm, so it leaves us not knowing who to blame. Someone along the line let the people down. I feel the water was sent to the wrong area when we first started getting the rain, which left us with no place to put the water when the worst part of the storm hit us.
The South Florida Water Management District definitely has to take some of this blame. They have to increase the outflow from one-quarter inch, either by reasonable means or by legal means. We have to follow through with this; we cannot stop pushing for more outflow. I am sure whoever was at fault is really kicking themselves for not doing more to stop the flooding into our homes. It’s time to stop the finger pointing and start figuring out a way to improve our system and make sure it doesn’t happen again. We definitely have to put our foot down and say “enough is enough.”
ITID dictates to us on how much we have to pay in taxes to maintain our system, parks, roads and swales, so the funding should come from them. Why do we have to pay more?
I believe Indian Trail’s current drainage system is adequate for any one rain storm that does not accumulate more than 10 inches in one day. The district needs additional discharge, more than the quarter-inch per day, and needs additional storage.
Currently, the district is working with other government agencies on partnerships that will allow us the ability to discharge in areas that need water. The governor wrote a letter requesting ITID work with the county, the SFWMD and Corbett to solve drainage issues, and the district is complying. It is my hope that we’ll see some relief when Mecca is sold to the SFWMD, even if it is only for emergency discharge. If Mecca only relieves the Corbett, then it’s still a win for The Acreage, as it was proven how dangerous their water levels are to The Acreage during peak hurricane season.
The SFWMD-led C-51 Project is also an opportunity worth exploring. The second phase of the L-8 pits could offer The Acreage the additional discharge we desperately need. There are many other opportunities as well, including with the City of West Palm Beach and possibly the Vavrus property.
Finally, any system after enduring a natural disaster is worth reviewing and analyzing for improvements. The district will review all possibilities and accomplish this task in a fiscally responsible manner.
SEAT 2 CANDIDATES
I would characterize ITID’s drainage services as adequate for the system we have. Our current system is a system of conveyance (canals), storage (M1 and M2 impoundment) and discharge. If we look at systems built in new housing developments we see storage (lakes), conveyance (canals) and discharge. The difference is that there is more storage in the newer systems, so it can hold more water. Our system is not the ideal system for drainage, but it does the job within its means.
The district can use additional storage, but the cost involved in obtaining it would be astronomical to the taxpayer, so the district must look at the additional outfall component of the equation. I feel that this component would give the taxpayers a better return on their money. Currently, we have a quarter-inch outfall permitted by the SFWMD. The district needs to work with a neighboring municipality like the City of West Palm Beach and discharge into the M Canal. A project like this would give the district additional outfall and would supplement the quarter-inch outfall we currently have. Another option would be to work with the SFWMD for additional outfall into the C-51 pits project currently being evaluated. This could add additional outfall also.
Like I have said before, we need to find long-term solutions to our outflow problem. Working with neighboring municipalities and government agencies will help us find mutual solutions to our regional water issues.
Drainage and maintenance operations at the Indian Trail Improvement District need improvement. The system in place works if it is maintained correctly. The board and engineers are not working in unison, and as a result, the residents are suffering.
The recent flooding brought this point home, and now we must find the failures, fix them so the residents are protected, and our roads, canals, culverts and impoundment areas work as they were designed to do. Any improvements need to be clearly vetted and verified that they are needed. The fiasco with Corbett is a perfect example. We paid several hundred thousand dollars in 2010 for repairs, and now we are being told tremendous sums will be needed for the exact same problem supposedly fixed in 2010. Luckily, the SFWMD recently did some repairs that corrected the previous work.
In this economy, we should pay as we go, using reserve funds when needed for real emergencies. Right now there is no set plan. ITID is dipping into reserves and revenue received from the county utility sale. ITID should step back, find any issues in the existing system if they exist, and then do the upgrades if needed. We are seeing the roads being covered with shell rock that have no rhyme or reason. Once again, ITID is failing to look at mistakes and acknowledge them. Until ITID admits to some human failures mixed with nature’s unpredictability that caused the road collapses and flooding, nothing will get done in a fiscally responsible manner.