ITID Budget Will Focus On Drainage Using In-House Personnel

Indian Trail Improvement District’s management staff has turned over, but the proposed $13.9 million 2017-18 budget will move forward unchanged, due to the new administration’s inheritance of a budget proposal developed by the previous staff, according to new ITID Administrator John “Woody” Wodraska.

The ITID Board of Supervisors will next meet Aug. 23, but discussion of the budget, which was adopted at the June meeting, will probably not be discussed, said Wodraska, whose management company, Special District Services, was hired last month.

Assessments will decrease an average of 1.46 percent for activated units, although the budget will be about $800,000 greater than the current year.

“Overall, the budget’s going up from $13.1 [million] to $13.9 million, and the reason there is a decrease in assessments even though it’s going up about $800,000, is we’re going to be moving $1.1 million out of reserves and carrying over about $747,000 unspent in the current year. That’s going to allow the overall decrease in assessments,” Wodraska told the Town-Crier on Tuesday. “I would characterize it as kind of a maintenance budget, since we inherited it when we came on board. We pretty much were forced to adopt and go with the plan that was developed by the previous administration and approved by the board.”

The average assessment will be about $492 per year per acre, or about $41 per month.

Wodraska said it was interesting that ITID provides the level of service it does at the rate it charges.

“We’ve got about 39,000 people in a 110-square-mile area and, admittedly, we’re not full service with drainage, roads and parks,” he said. “You get that for the $13.9 million, and if you were to look at Royal Palm Beach as a comparable from a size standpoint, they are full service with public safety and everything.”

Royal Palm Beach is set to approve a $49 million budget for next year.

“I think it’s a good value for the service that the residents get out here,” Wodraska said, adding that things are settling down following the management transition.

“I hired a new director of operations, so I’m very happy,” he said. “It brings up the level of professionalism. He lives out here. Next week, the woman who will be head of finance will be starting, so we’re finally staffed back to where we were before. These folks will be able to hit the ground running and get everything back on track here.”

Primary goals for the 2017-18 budget are to implement a comprehensive drainage plan and utilize in-house personnel to focus on canal maintenance. Emphasis will be put on telemetry to automate manually operated control structures and a road improvement schedule of proposed projects by unit.

The largest part of the budget by department is on road maintenance (45 percent), followed by stormwater management (17 percent), administration (14 percent), debt service (14 percent) and parks (10 percent).

By category, 37.34 percent is spent on personnel, 31.98 percent for operations, 16.82 percent on capital outlay and 13.86 percent on debt service.

The administration budget is proposed to go up from $1,894,258 to $1,918,763. The administration increase is due primarily to increased employee costs, which has been the pattern for the past five years.

The parks budget will go up from $1,222,112 to $1,396,741. The park increase is due to planned Sycamore Park equipment replacement at a cost of $130,000. The Sycamore tennis courts will also be rehabilitated at cost of $10,000. The Hamlin House roof will be repaired at a cost of $15,000, and a truck will be replaced at a cost of $28,000.

The maintenance budget will rise from $5,636,793 to $6,270,622. The maintenance and operations increase is due mainly to employee and equipment maintenance costs and an increase in capital spending. The maintenance department leases three graders at $27,517 each, a backhoe at $10,145 per year and one loader at $28,298 a year. The district proposes to purchase two pickup trucks at $35,000 each, one used grader for $120,000, one used semi cab truck at $70,000 and one heavy duty equipment trailer at $70,000.

The aquatics budget will fall from $318,345 to $281,872, while the M1 Basin budget will fall from $1,785,130 to $1,737,270, the M2 Basin budget will rise from $318,707 to $335,144, and the debt service budget will fall slightly from $1,931,768 to $1,927,884.

Pump operations and aquatics plans include the replacement of culverts at a cost of $500,000 and the purchase a $120,000 long-stick excavator for use in the M1 and M2 basins. A pump is scheduled for replacement at a cost of $25,000, as well as the replacement of three exhaust fans at $10,000. Telemetry improvements are proposed at $110,000.

A 2 percent employee merit raise is proposed, and collections for the R2 road overlay improvement project would continue at $375,000 per year with a total project time of 10 years.

Continued culvert replacement and canal maintenance is proposed in the M1 and M2 basins, and costs are proposed to be added for maintenance of the completed expansion project at Acreage Community Park.