Indian Trail Improvement District will see greater focus in 2019 on the implementation of programs that have already been put in place in recent years.
Betty Argue, president of the ITID Board of Supervisors, said the district is in good shape financially, and the board will concentrate on working more efficiently.
“I keep saying that we have to stay the course with our focus on the drainage infrastructure,” Argue told the Town-Crier on Wednesday. “We’re going to be stepping up our lobbying effort relating to water drainage projects and going after funding for canal restoration, as well as trying to make the district more efficient, so that all of our resources are being productive.”
Argue believes that the district is well on its way toward goals that were implemented in recent years.
“I’m looking forward to the completion of Acreage Community Park and moving forward into the next phase of improvements with respect to horse trails, traffic calming and the R3 road plan,” she said. “We have a public hearing, and notifications have been sent out.”
The R3 plan, which is designed to improve general purpose roads, will be discussed in a special workshop on Jan. 31.
The district is also working with Santa Rosa Groves to make that rural neighborhood an activated unit, so ITID can help resolve drainage issues that arose during severe rains last spring.
“We’re having another public information meeting for the residents of Santa Rosa Groves on Jan. 8 to answer any questions, because the HOA is having a vote to ask the landowners,” Argue said. “They’re asking the residents if they want to activate as an Indian Trail unit and turn over all the easements related to the South Florida Water Management District permit to ITID.”
ITID Manager Rob Robinson, who was promoted last year from director of operations and maintenance, is doing a great job learning the administrative role, Argue said, adding that he has put together a good team to focus on the priorities of the district.
“He has been really good about putting together the right people to get the job done,” Argue said. “I’m really happy with that. I’m looking forward to his ability to lead the district where the board is wanting to go.”
ITID is also working on increasing its water storage capacity, which will be discussed at a special workshop in January. “I really wanted to set up a workshop with the new board members to get a comprehensive presentation and understanding of water issues,” Argue said.
Argue said the board has given direction on cleaning up horse trails, which have become a dumping ground.
“I also think that one of the things that came out of that was that there is a connectivity issue, and equestrians are concerned about the safety level because of connectivity, because of increasing traffic and because of increasing lack of respect for equestrians,” Argue said.
The ITID board has indicated it wants to improve the trails and has taken steps to improve signage and clean them up.
“I think we need to do additional signage over and above replacing what we already had,” Argue said. “There were some ideas thrown out at the workshop in terms of educating the community. The board needs to give direction on that because it will become a budget item. I want to keep that moving. Sometimes it just takes putting one foot in front of the other.”
Argue stressed that ITID has a healthy budget and can support additional plans in 2019.
“We have very healthy reserves,” she said. “I’m not concerned about our budget at all. What I’m concerned about is operating more effectively and efficiently, making the best use of all the resources that we have so that we can increase our focus on infrastructure.”
Argue noted that recent board discussions about the newly created culvert crew revealed that the crew is doing well, but there may be enough demand that a second crew is necessary.
“Even with doing it in-house with the crew that we have, and they’re really banging them out, and they will become more efficient as they go, we have an incredible amount of infrastructure that needs to be replaced,” she said.
Argue said that she has been encouraging the board to look closely at priorities and reallocate attention where it is most needed.
“We really just need to try to accomplish replacing those culverts as quickly as possible,” she said.
Culvert replacement ties into the R3 plan, which is to identify general purpose roads that everyone benefits from and find a means to improve them so that the burden is not on just the residents of those units.
General purpose roads have been identified as roads that lead to parks, schools or fire stations. R3 roads are also those that take through traffic, such as Hamlin Blvd. or Tangelo Blvd., which both run parallel to Northlake Blvd., or 110th Avenue North, which runs parallel to State Road 7.
“The plan came out of trying to address some roads throughout the district that were problem issues over the past couple of years,” Argue said. “Once we go through that, it will allow us to address those problem areas and concerns for residents with respect to those roads.”
Argue is also concerned about maintaining the roads paved through the R2 road plan, which brought a paved surface to within a half mile of every residence in The Acreage.
“We have the R2 roads that are going to need resurfacing, and we’ve been collecting money and putting that aside,” she said. “Once we get through this R3 road plan, one of the things that we need to take a look at is the roads in the R2 road plan, and whether we need to be resurfacing them now, or if they can wait for another year or two.”
Argue stressed that those roads must not be allowed to deteriorate. “If you allow the asphalt roads to deteriorate, it costs you more money because you have to start from scratch,” she explained.