The Palm Beach County Commission approved an interlocal agreement with the Town of Loxahatchee Groves on Tuesday to allow the town, through the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District, to continue to provide services to an unincorporated portion of the district that was not included in the recent town dependency vote.
The commissioners approved the agreement unanimously with no comment. The agreement includes water control, maintenance and road maintenance.
The parcels include Palms West Hospital and some related medical offices, and the shopping center at the northwest corner of Southern and Crestwood boulevards. The district will continue to collect assessments to provide the services. County staff recommended approval of the agreement.
The former LGWCD attorney had raised the question during dependency discussions that the area might become an issue during the referendum.
Town Manager Bill Underwood said the town had sent the interlocal agreement to the county to resolve the potential issue.
“The reason we sent an [interlocal agreement] over was because the district still provides drainage to the unincorporated properties in that area,” Underwood said. “We don’t provide to the east side, but we provide to the west side [of Crestwood]. That really runs on the west side of the Folsom Canal, which is the west side of Folsom Road.”
He said the district needs to continue to provide services to those properties. “The county agreed, and that’s what was on the agenda,” Underwood said, explaining that the district would continue to collect assessments from those unincorporated properties to maintain the drainage system. “It does not change anything that the district was doing before. The plans that we’ve seen show directly that it impacts the district’s drainage system, and they are directly tied to the district’s drainage system. The council and supervisors would like to continue to provide that service, which has been provided for the last 100 years.”
Underwood said that all the properties in the agreement have always paid assessments to the LGWCD district for water and road service.
According to the county staff report, the district was an independent special district that provided services and levied special assessments for all properties within its jurisdictional boundaries, which included several properties in unincorporated Palm Beach County. On June 25, the owners of the properties within the district voted to convert the district to a dependent district of the town. As a result, the district’s jurisdictional limits became that of the town.
The properties located in unincorporated Palm Beach County, but within the former boundaries of the district, continue to be connected to the district’s services. The agreement permits the town, through the district, to continue to provide services to those properties and to collect the costs of such services as permitted by law, including through special assessments.
The staff report continues that the county may enter into interlocal agreements with other governmental agencies for them to perform functions on the county’s behalf. The town, through the district, is willing to continue to provide services to the properties in question so long as the town can continue to collect the costs of providing the services.