CEPD proceeds with sand search of Redfish Pass
The Captiva Erosion Prevention District’s commission green-lighted a project to examine and evaluate Redfish Pass as a possible sand borrow area, as well as approved a draft budget for the coming year.
At the June 10 meeting, the commissioners resumed their discussion from the prior month about approving $349,932 for APTIM to conduct a comprehensive geophysical and geotechnical sand search of the pass, in order to determine if the sand could be used for emergency beach renourishments.
The proposed plan is based on a management study of the pass completed by APTIM.
Last month, the commission had multiple questions about the project and raised concerns about adopting the resolution to approve the expenditure if the county and state funds did not come through to cover it. Requests have been submitted to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and county Tourist Development Council to pay for the project, with the funds tentatively allocated.
A motion to approve the resolution died in a 0-4 vote.
At the recent meeting, Administrator Carolyn Weaver explained that staff and the district’s attorney reconfirmed the funding appears to be set for approval by the DEP and TDC for fiscal year 2019-2020.
She also noted that the proposed updated resolution pushes back the start date of the project from the current fiscal year to the next year, giving the district time to ensure that it will receive the funds.
“We would not start any work until we know we got the money,” Weaver said.
She added that if the commission approves the expenditure, but the DEP and TDC do not allocate the funding for 2019-2020, the commission can amend the approved resolution and cancel the project.
“You’re simply approving the money through the resolution,” she said.
The commission voted 3-0 to adopt the resolution.
Secretary Harry Kaiser and Treasurer Bob Walter had excused absences from the meeting.
Prior to the vote, the commissioners did have a few questions.
Commissioner Dave Jensen asked if the district has to use the sand immediately if all goes well.
“You could use the source five years from now, 10 years from now,” APTIM Senior Project Manager Michelle Pfeiffer said, noting that the sand would have to compatible and the area permitted first.
Chairman Mike Mullins asked if the district would have sole access to the borrow area.
“Anyone wanting to borrow will need to apply for a state permit,” Pfeiffer said, adding that the applicant would have to align with the study and the criteria to meet approval for the permit.
It was noted that only north Captiva might have an interest in the area.
Also during the meeting, the commission voted 3-0 for the 2019-2020 draft budget.
Weaver proposed a general budget of about $600,000, a 31.8 percent increase from the current fiscal year. Based on the early preliminary property tax valuations, the millage rate would be 0.40045.
The millage rate adopted for 2018-2019 was 0.2984.
Mullins noted that the millage rate can be lowered in the coming budget talks but not lifted.
Jensen agreed, supporting the move of starting high with the option to bring it down.
Also at the meeting, the commissioners heard a presentation from Jackie Kaiser, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, on the Captiva segment of the Lee County Shore Protection Project. She covered prior federal funding provided for the beach renourishments, why the 2013 project was not eligible for funds and what next steps the district should take to have the 2020-2021 renourishment considered.
Public access to the targeted beach and access to public easements were emphasized.
The commission directed staff to look further into possible federal funding.
IN OTHER NEWS
– Weaver reported that Jensen had submitted his resignation, with an effective date of Sept. 27.
As of August, he will have served the commission for 25 years.
“I’m going to always be supportive,” Jensen said of the work done by the CEPD.
He shared that his father persuaded him to get involved years ago when a seat opened up.
“I was so scared of that thought. I didn’t think I was smart enough or anything,” Jensen said. “But I learned from this – you had to care for the community. I’m just so grateful I got pushed into it.”
The others voiced appreciation for his time on the commission.
“Dave, I just really thank you for your service,” Vice Chair Michael Lanigan said.
– The commissioners voted 3-0 to approve about $6,374 to pay the outstanding balance on the two parking meters – which were not renewed last year – and to reinstate the policies for them.
– The commission directed staff to get an opinion from the district’s attorney on the potential legalities of hiring an outside appraiser to appraise some parcels for the beach renourishment apportionment.
– The commissioners voted 0-3 against proposed changes to the Standard Operating Procedure for district staffers tied to the process of providing administrative assistance to the commission.