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Commission picks alternative renourishment plan

By Staff | Jul 13, 2018

TIFFANY REPECKI Captiva Erosion Prevention District Administrator Damon Grant talks with Commissioners Mike Mullins, Michael Lanigan and Dave Jensen about the upcoming beach renourishment project.

The Captiva Erosion Prevention District is moving forward with a cost-cutting alternative to the beach renourishment project that entails less sand fill and reduces the renourishment interval by two years.

At the July 11 meeting, the commission was presented with three potential scenarios to reduce the overall cost of the 2020-2021 project. The plan, as proposed last month by APTIM Coastal Planning & Engineering, was compared with options involving less fill, an eight-year life expectancy and both.

Chairman Dave Jensen, Vice Chair Mike Mullins and Commissioner Michael Lanigan voted 3-0 in favor of using both. Treasurer Bob Walter had to leave early; Secretary Harry Kaiser was absent.

The vote occurred after the dais learned that it could reconsider all the scenarios if it wished.

“We need to make a decision,” Mullins said of moving the process along.

In June, APTIM outlined its recommended plan for the project. It consisted of placing 900,000 cubic yards from Redfish Pass to Blind Pass, including sand to address the lack of a design berm in a portion of the previous projects. The renourishment would also last for an extra two years – 10 versus eight.

APTIM estimated the total cost of the recommended plan to be $36.2 million, with 15 percent for contingency. With cost share deductions, the adjusted cost for Captiva was about $14.7 million.

At the recent meeting, APTIM provided the following three alternatives:

– Scenario B: Maintain the extended 10-year renourishment interval, but remove the 124,600 cubic yards of sand that address the berm issue, for a beach and dune fill savings of $2.9 million and a total project savings of $3.3 million

– Scenario C: Reduce the renourishment interval to the typical eight years – cutting 122,000 cubic yards from the project – but maintain the additional cubic yards of sand to address the berm issue, for a beach and dune fill savings of $2.8 million and a total project savings of $3.5 million

– Scenario D: Reduce the renourishment interval to eight years and remove the additional cubic yards of sand that address the berm issue, for a beach and dune fill savings of $5.4 million and a total project savings of $6.5 million

Scenario A was the firm’s original recommended plan.

Prior to the vote, the commissioners raised questions with Thomas Pierro, APTIM’s director of operations. They asked about the price difference in cubic yards for the upcoming project versus the last one in 2013 and for the placement of the sand, which he said he would take another look at.

“Eight years has passed,” Pierro noted. “The economy’s different and things are changing.”

The dais and Administrator Damon Grant also asked about seeking federal funds.

It was noted that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not participate in the 2013 project.

Pierro pointed to parking access and lack of easements for a band of land running the shoreline.

“Even though it’s a protected dune area, they still want the easements,” he said.

Mullins described the federal funding component as a moot point.

“We’re not going to resolve it for this project,” he said. “Since we don’t know what the feds are going to give us, we need to exclude them.”

Lanigan noted, however, that the CEPD will need an answer for their lack of participation.

The commission and Grant directed APTIM to help set up a meeting with the Corps, put together a presentation on the facts surrounding the loss of federal funding in 2013, and outline the reasons why Captiva may not want the funding and participation from the Corps for the upcoming beach project.

Also at the meeting, Mullins raised concern over the bed tax figures shared by Dr. William Stronge at last month’s meeting via the “Recreational Use of Captiva’s Beaches and Economic Impact” study.

“It’s three times Sanibel,” he said. “There’s no way.”

While bed tax figures for Captiva have not been available by law to the CEPD for a couple of years, Mullins explained that one could extrapolate an estimated range and Stronge’s numbers did not add up. He also pointed to the reported amount of money each party from the study was spending on-island.

“There’s no way these accommodation numbers make sense at all,” Mullins said.

Grant and Assistant to the Administrator John Bralove explained that the numbers are used for the apportionment process, to establish millage rates and show Captiva’s impact on county revenue.

Mullins suggested that the figures be re-examined for validation or revision.

“He needs to get these things so it’s credible,” he said. “It raises a credibility question.”

Grant noted that Stronge had already agreed to go back over the study.

“He has recognized that there is a discrepancy,” he said.

IN OTHER NEWS

– The commission voted 4-0 to allow consulting firm Hans Wilson and Associates move forward in negotiations with the top-ranked candidate to replace Bralove as assistant to the administrator.

About a dozen candidates were interviewed for the position and then ranked by the firm.

“The new person, we’re looking to have them start the week of July 23,” Grant said.

– The commission voted 3-0 to revise its rules of procedure to raise the threshold from $10,000 to $25,000 for project approval without requiring a resolution adoption, only a motion to approve.

– The commission voted 3-0 to increase the current fiscal year’s equipment budget by $1,500 to purchase updated teleconference equipment and tablets. The budget previously sat at $3,000.

– Mullins brought up moving the CEPD commission meetings to Monday afternoons.

“Mondays would be easier,” Lanigan said.

“I’m very flexible, so I’d like to see what works best for the other commissioners,” Jensen said.

Damon was directed to get feedback from Walter on Kaiser on the suggestion.