Last week was a busy one. Below is the University Park Recreation District (“RD”) report.
Highlights of the August 13, 2019 Meeting
The Board approved the 2019-20 budget. The operating budget has two components: (1) operating budget and (2) one-time operating expenses. The operating budget will increase from $151,800 to $255,530 driven by additional services provided by District Management (+25K) and District Attorney (+30K), Contingency (+19K), and Meeting Set up (+27K) all reflecting the expanded level of RD activities. The one-time budget was set at $280,000 to cover litigation and associated one-time costs. The budget is fully supported by the RD’s one-time assessment. There will be no further assessments for the 2019-20 budget.
Board Rejects Mr. Garrett’s Settlement Offer
Mr. Garrett proposed to settle his suit if the RD would give up its power to impose assessments without a referendum. The Board rejected Mr. Garrett’s settlement offer for the following reasons:
- The Board must retain its assessment powers. Otherwise, the Board could not respond to emergencies, such as hurricane damage to the community; and will likely pay a higher interest rate on its borrowings.
- The District’s charter has constraints for long term borrowing, Sunshine Law disclosure, term limits for Supervisors, and provides the same accommodations for public comments as other local governments – 3 minutes per person.
- The Board’s power is limited. It cannot s not within the Board’s exclusive power to amend its charter to limit its assessment authority. This requires both:
- A vote of the County Commission
- An approving referendum by RD electors (registered voters).
- Even if the RD were in favor of this option, which it is not, it would take at least 6 months to accomplish, which would push past the September 30th deadline to complete the purchase of the UPCC and related recreational facilities.
- Even if there was a settlement with Mr. Garrett, this may not also produce a settlement with others that Mr. Garrett and his attorney recruited to join the suit.
County Commission to Consider Mr. Garrett’s Settlement Offer
As you may remember, Mr. Garrett not only sued the RD, but he also sued Manatee County. On August 20th the County Commission will consider a settlement offer from Mr. Garrett. Mr. Garrett proposes that the County modify the RD charter to require a referendum to approve special assessments
Collection of the $1,000 Special Assessment for Operations and Maintenance
The RD has collected over $725,000 from its $1,000 per home special assessment. The District will also send reminder notices to all those who have not yet paid their assessments. If you have not already made your payment, please do so. You may pay your assessment in one of two ways:
- A single payment of $1,000 due no later than August 30, 2019 or
- In three (3) equal installments of $353.333 due as follows:
- Payment 1 Due August 30, 2019
- Payment 2 Due October 29, 2019
- Payment 3 Due December 28, 2019
You must include your University Park address on your check so that we can identify which parcels have paid their assessment. Please make your check payable to: University Park Recreation District.
Send your check to:
University Park Recreation District
12051 Corporate Blvd
Orlando, FL 32817
If you have any questions, please call or email
PFM Group Consulting LLC
407.723.5900 – main number
This is the only way you can pay the assessment. The Clerk of the Court in Manatee County will not accept payment. Please make your payment before August 30st. Otherwise, you will be in default and force the RD to pursue enforcement action.
The Proposed Bond Anticipation Note (“BAN”)
The RD has engaged Roosevelt and Cross, Inc. (“RC”) as its underwriter for the BAN. The financing team is working on the documents. Financing documents will be presented to the RD at its September 13th meeting. If the RD decides to proceed, the marketing period for the BAN could begin. Then, if RC is successful, they would present a BAN purchase contract proposal for the Board to consider.
“Concerned Citizens” E Mails
Although the RD Board has decided that the RD is no longer engaging in answering ongoing emails with the “concerned citizens”, their most recent posts require a reply organized by issues that they raise.
- Demand for Replies to Questions and Assertion of Sunshine Law Rights
Florida’s government in the Sunshine laws require that all governmental business be conducted in public at publicly advertised meetings. This does not give citizens unbridled rights to pose whatever questions they may have to the RD and demand answers. The Board will determine what to reply to how to do so, just like all other units of government in Florida.
- Appraisals of the Club and Recreation Facilities
Over 80% the community has voted in favor of acquiring the club and recreational facilities and land for $16.9 Million on two separate occasions: (1) in the formation of the RD and (2) in favor of financing the acquisition with bonds. The will of this community could not be any clearer. Overwhelmingly this community believes that the acquisition price is fair and they are willing to pay it.
- Bond Sizing
Concerned citizens naively assert that the RD has made a mistake in sizing the bonds to purchase the club.They point out that at an average value of $1,200 per home per year at a 4% discount rate, the present value or bond size is far larger than the RD’s estimate.However, the Concerned Citizens failed to account for two important facts: (a) the Manatee County Property Appraiser and Tax Collector, who collect the $1,200 assessments each year charge 3% for their services and (b) the assessments are collected along with all other property taxes and taxpayers are allowed to pay early and receive a 4% discount for doing so.These two deductions reduce the amount of revenue available by a combined 7%. As a result, it is the Concerned Citizens who have overstated the bond size, not the RD. This is a good example of why the SEC requires that only licensed, professional, Municipal Advisors, render bond sizing and debt pricing services to governments such as the RD.
D. Interest Rates
The Concerned Citizens represented to this community that the interest rate on the RD bonds could be as low as 2.5%. This is incorrect. It confuses the new issue market in which the RD would issue its BAN or bonds with the spot market for retail resales of bonds. The actual rate in the new issue market last week for similar quality issues to the RD was 3%-3.5%. This again illustrates why the SEC requires that only licensed professionals provide municipal advice.
The “concerned citizens” emails create confusion in the community, therefore, we ask that you communicate directly with the RD Board with your concerns, questions or comments. This applies to all concerned citizens.
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Special Meeting August 28 1:00 PM Lakeside Room
Workshop September 6 8:00 AM Card Room
Regular Meeting September 13 1:00 PM Lakeside Room
Workshop September 24 10:00 AM Card Room