Letter: Pine Tree Water Control District Takeover?

The Pine Tree Water Control District has three supervisors, two of which represent residential and ag interests, and one represents South Florida Water Management District STA-1E. Our voting system has been one vote per acre.

How is it allowed that the SFWMD, an area of approximately 4,000 acres in the Pine Tree Water Control District, can take over the entire district?

Rustic Ranches has 640 acres in the Pine Tree Water Control District. That’s the ag residential community. Board Member Joel Arrieta, representing SFWMD STA-1E, has stated in the past that he would not vote in our supervisor elections and issues concerning our Rustic Ranches community. He stated that he has no vested interest in the neighborhood; he is not a resident. His only input would be roads and canal drainage issues. But he had the SFWMD vote in this election for the purpose of a takeover.

This is what happened: newly appointed Supervisor Travis Deering was voted out previously for poor performance and unnecessary spending by the Rustic Ranches community for constantly trying to use funds for projects that didn’t need attention. We drain well, and our roads have never been better. Additionally, he boycotted every board meeting after he was voted out. Why did the SFWMD put in a candidate previously rejected as a supervisor?

This is my opinion of why this happened, and I am basing this on my observations at the supervisors election of June 15. There was evidence this takeover was planned by way of manner between Arrieta, Deering, Maria Fong and some Wellington staffers. You could hear it in the dissent of the residents as Deering was sworn in. Immediately after that, the supervisors started talking about spending money for unnecessary maintenance, particularly to the canals and with reference to removing silt.

Why is this necessary? Our canals flow freely. They were talking about using our reserves of more than $253,000, leaving only $30,000 in emergency reserve funds. What happens when that’s gone? You can be sure taxes will go up. See what the reserve will be next year.

So, this is the bottom line. We are now under the dictatorship of the SFWMD. They will use their muscle if they want you out, with no regard to the Rustic Ranches community choice. I am petitioning Governor Rick Scott and the SFWMD governing board members: 1. Hold the SFWMD to its agreement of not voting on issues where there is no vested interest, and 2. Void this election.

Chris Wallace, Rustic Ranches, Wellington