Lox Council To Hear From Management Firm Applicants

Two candidates responded last week to the call put out by the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council for a new town management firm. As expected, Underwood Management Services Group, the town’s current provider, was not among them.

Underwood chose not to submit a proposal, although it had a year’s renewal option in its current contract, which expires next month.

The candidates are Severn Trent Services, a large multi-national company with an office in Coral Springs, and Larry Tibbs of Loxahatchee.

Severn Trent Services is the management company currently overseeing the Seminole Improvement District, the special district set up by Callery-Judge Grove and now controlled by Minto West. Severn Trent has responded to previous requests for proposals by the town for management companies.

Both candidates are on the council’s agenda to make presentations on Tuesday, Aug. 18.

Town Financial Director Perla Underwood said the town’s legal staff is currently doing background checks on both candidates. Town Attorney Michael Cirullo gave only the names and addresses of the candidates during the bid opening last Thursday in a crowded council chamber.

Council members decided 3-2 on July 7 — with Councilman Tom Goltzené and Mayor Dave Browning objecting — to make a request for proposals (RFP), despite an outcry from several residents who said they thought Underwood had done a good job and had been responsive to the public.

Underwood’s contract is for $350,000, which has been a point of contention for members, led by Vice Mayor Ron Jarriel, who believe that they can find a better offer.

Questions remain whether the town’s planning and zoning department should be contracted by the town or under the town management contract, and whether the town’s storm debris manager should be an independent contractor or part of the management contract.

The schedule set out by Cirullo has the council making a decision at next week’s meeting, with a contract to be awarded on Sept. 1.

Also Tuesday, the council will consider a resolution regarding improvements to B Road in correlation with development of the Palm Beach State College campus and two nearby commercial projects.

The town contracted its engineering firm Keshavarz & Associates as engineers for the B Road improvements from the college entrance to Okeechobee Blvd., paving the currently dirt road with open-graded emulsified mix (OGEM) and adding speed bumps.

The company also asked for approval of catch basins at the edge of properties fronting B Road to alleviate potential drainage issues. Letters have been sent to property owners on the east side of the road asking for the dedication of a 10-foot-wide catch basin, which would be connected by a pipe underneath the road to drain into the canal to the west.

The schedule calls for the survey and design to be complete by Nov. 4, permitting complete by March 2016, bids awarded by May 2016 and construction complete by December 2016.

The council is also slated to recognize Quasi Modo, a local pooch who recently won first place in the World’s Ugliest Dog contest.