August 18, 2020 Meeting SummaryGuest Speaker: Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, Governing Board Member South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). (website: sfwmd.gov)
Charles Grande introduced and welcomed Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch to the meeting. The two have worked together over the years on water related issues in the area.
Ms. Thurlow-Lippisch launched into her discussion by explaining the organization’s structure, reporting relationship, and the direction. It is composed of 5 Districts with the South being the oldest. The current problems with Lake O were placed in context by explaining the history of the development in the state since 1923. (Meeting presentation is available on the PC website, Governmental Affairs Committee.)
SFWMD began a new journey in 2019, when the Governor replaced all of the board members and the current mission was developed. For the first time “to safeguard and restore South Florida’s water resources” was included in the mission. Governor DeSantis 2019 Executive Order 19.12 outlines the new strategic plan and is useful to review in order to gain a better understanding of the direction.
The SFWMD projects all tend to be long term efforts and the 3 significant projects were described: the EAA reservoir, C44 reservoir, and C-43 reservoir. Funding for all of the efforts was also explained and more information is included in the presentation slides, including other major project timelines.
Ms. Thurlow-Lippisch was asked what we, as interested residents, can do to support water resources efforts. “Become an advocate!” was the reply. She further explained the need to build relationships with elected officials, speak out during public meetings and voice what’s important to you.
Additional questions from participating PC members were discussed, including one on the Lake O height schedule (LORS). The criteria for determining the level now considers “Human Health & Safety” impacts, along with agricultural needs. The Army Corp manages the Lake level and SFWMD is the local sponsor.
Ms. Thurlow-Lippisch’s enthusiasm and passion are infectious. We all took away information that we can share with others to support the effort to improve the water quality in our area.
Harvey Alligood provided a brief Beach & Dune update: the PPA has not yet been signed but, expected at the September BOCC. Also, at the September meeting, the final budget will be confirmed for the fiscal year beginning October 1st and tax rates for November 2020 tax bills. (Note: This information will be updated based upon the information in the TRIM notice received 8/19/2020).
To date, still no additional public beach access points and associated required parking and appears doubtful at this time. Consequently, funding plans will move forward assuming no additions.
Concerns remain about funding mechanisms, the extent of county-wide funding and indications to date that any federal funding not acquired (presently as much as $6.3MM), but lost because of beach accesses not forthcoming from the local community being part of any levy on the local community (Note: as outlined and updated 8/17/2020 on the County website: South County Renourishment Project Funding Plan)
As you may be aware, the first weekend in August there was a water main break that required repair and a precautionary boil water notice went into effect for South Hutchinson island. At that time, the normal alert process was put in effect by notifying the press, posting on the FPUA website and Facebook page. Since some were unaware of the alert, FPUA suggests that your Association can be placed on the customer notification list in order to be notified directly. If you would like to be placed on the list for future alerts, contact: Jann Widmayer, FPUA Community Relations Manager firstname.lastname@example.org .
Critical milestones continue to be the focus: signing of the PPA (Project Partnership Agreement), the funding of the local cost share, and the construction easements. As we advised, the July budget workshops were completed, and members of the PC board continue to advocate on behalf of the HI property owners.
Attached is the most recent letter sent by the PC Board to the County Administrator and the Commissioners regarding actions needed during this budget cycle to improve/increase county-wide funding. You can help to keep the Beach Nourishment Project on track by:
Calling or writing the SLC Commissioners before early September, when the budget is concluded. Their contact information is St. Lucie County BOCC,
2300 Virginia Avenue, Fort Pierce, FL 34982: Tel. 772-462-1100 and at: https://www.stlucieco.gov/about/contact-us
Emailing them via https://www.stlucieco.gov/about/contact-us/contact-your-commissioners
For more information about the federal 50-year So. SLC Beach Project:
Visit our website at: https://www.pcofhi.com/updates/category/beach-dune, which also includes links to the new SLC website pages about the project.
Other questions? Contact us at email@example.com.
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