Coral Springs Special Districts Fully Accountable and Transparent

Illustration by Adam Baron

Illustration by Adam Baron

By: Dave Hulett

In an article published recently in the Coral Springs Forum, Coral Springs Commissioner Dan Daley expressed concerns about the “Accountability” of the Special Districts located in Coral Springs, the method of electing their Board’s of Supervisors and once again seems to single out the Sunshine Water Control District (a drainage only district) for special attention.

We can’t tell them what to do and yet, there are a lot of issues that aren’t handled. We have a responsibility to make the water districts accountable because the city now takes the flak for their actions.” – Dan Daley to the Forum.

The large districts in Coral Springs are the Coral Springs Improvement District and the North Springs Improvement District, both of which handle water, sewer and drainage in their assigned areas.

As to the accountability issue; the districts Board‘s of Supervisors are fully accountable to the property owners in their districts at all times. They operate under the Sunshine Laws, are completely transparent, with all actions of their board’s and staff open to public inspection at any time. This is exactly the same accountability as the Coral Springs City Commission.

The method of electing board members is an open democratic process. In the case of the Sunshine Water Control District, one of the three board seats is up for election each year. Property owners in the district territory may cast a vote for each acre “or fraction thereof” (includes all homeowners) that they own. This can be done either at the annual meeting of the district, which is widely advertised or individuals seeking the seat can solicit votes via a “proxy” form.

Seven years ago, the Sunshine Water Control District undertook a badly needed Capital Improvement Program. The board was faced with antiquated pump stations and main drain canals that were never dug to engineered depths of zero to minus one. The bottom of some key canals were at elevations of three to four feet, making it impossible to drain them below those depths.

As the Sunshine Capital Improvement Program began, certain members of the Coral Springs City Commission began an attack on the district’s Board of Supervisors and Staff for reasons that one can only conclude was politically motivated. Claims were made that the SWCD engineering company was vastly overpaid. Those claims were proven false.

The bottom line is that if the Sunshine Water Control District were run by the city, the city staff would have made the same recommendations to the city commission for badly needed improvements to a 50-year-old rapidly aging infrastructure.

Landowners paying taxes to the district expect that if called on in a time of heavy rain, the canal system will indeed provide the optimum amount of flood protection. That is why the Sunshine canals and ditches were dug in the first place. The city of Coral Springs would not exist without its system of drainage canals; it would still be the Everglades.

I suspect that Commissioner Daley has thrown in with his Tallahassee roommate, Senator Ring looking for an issue for what this writer suspects will be Commissioner Daley’s campaign in 2016 to replace Ring in the Florida Senate. Stay tuned!

Dave Hulett
Past President-Board of Supervisors
Sunshine Water Control District
Coral Springs

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About Dave Hulett

Dave Hulett Dave Hulett has deep roots in Coral Springs. His wife and him have lived in the Dells neighborhood for 35 years where they have raised their children. He has been very active in the community over all these years, including Past President of Kiwanis, Past President - Coral Springs Basketball Club, chaired the 2000 Committee in 1984, was Citizen of the year in 1984, a founding member and Past President of the Meadows & Dells Neighborhood Association, has served on Planning & Zoning Board, and most recently on the the Nuisance Abatement Board and the Board of Supervisors of the Sunshine Water Control District. Hulett has worked on many campaigns over the years and has known commissioners back to Geiger, Heafy, Gordon, Sanders and Tache and city managers back to Dodd Southern. He is currently contracted as the Chief Operating Officer of the Masters Basketball Association. The MBA runs a basketball tournament for men 40 to 75 and have 35 to 40 teams come from across the country to Coral Springs each May. They have played the tournament in the Coral Springs Gym for the past 13 years.

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  • Ira

    Mr. Hulett:

    On the northeast corner of Coral Springs Drive and Sample Road, where there’s a vacant lot adjacent to the long-closed Bank of America…

    Why did Sunshine fill in the canal between these two parcels, pave over the canal so the two parcels would become one, months before the Coral Springs Commission even held public hearings prior to approving the zoning change?

    And that the standing Commission approved the change at their very last meeting prior to the turnover to the new Mayor and new Commissioners?

    Seriously:

    Why was this work done ILLEGALLY?

    You are full of shit, it stinks of underhanded deals, and Dan Daley has nothing to do with it:

    He’s an insignificant putz in the scheme of things. But YOU are a downright bullshit artist.

    • Ira

      I should state that they didn’t totally fill in the canal. They cemented the bottom (which vastly reduces water retention), and installed a culvert through to the canal flowing to the south side of Sample:

      A culvert with maybe 25% of the original flow capacity, let alone the problems of cleaning/clearing it of debris.

  • Richard Luscombe

    Ah yes, this will be the same Sunshine Water Control District that arbitrarily (i.e. no debate, discussion or consultation) decided some years ago to strip numerous Coral Springs canals of all trees, foliage and vegetation because they MIGHT cause a problem in any future hurricane. It was his support for this hugely unpopular scorched-earth policy that resulted in total humiliation for Mr Hulett, the author of this article, when he sought re-election to the water district’s board in 2012 (only his fellow board members supported him, if I remember rightly). I, for one, totally support Dan Daley in this argument. And I live (thankfully) under a different water district’s authority, one that behaved quite reasonably in a issue over trees and canals. This article smacks of sour grapes to me.

    • SWCD President

      Hello Richard,
      It is unfortunate that you have not gotten all the facts about the projects in SWCD. If you would go to our web-site http://www.sunshinewcd.net and look at the minutes of the meetings you will have the ability to become informed. If you have any additional questions please contact our District Manager’s office 954-426-2105 or I invite you to attend our next Board Meeting on 12/10 at 6:30PM Sartory Hall.

      • Richard Luscombe

        The only “unfortunate” one here is Mr Hulett, who was well and truly beaten when he sought re-election after championing the wholesale elimination of anything growing along the banks of city canals. Thanks for the invite to the next meeting but as I mentioned, I live under the authority of a different improvement district.

    • Abunchofbullshit

      CAUTION, this program of ‘slash and burn’ (ROW or Right-of-way clearing as SWCD calls it) continues! If you live in this district BEWARE, as it hasn’t gone away and has been implemented in a ‘divide and conquer’ approach very piecemeal, and eventually will come to a neighborhood near you if you live in their district. It is all in their minutes on-line if you want to look back over the last three+ years and was supported by Mayor Gold, with the caveat to do it piecemeal so the City wouldn’t be inundated at Commission meetings like they were when they first tried it under the old regime of Mr. Petty around 9 years ago. SWCD took some 60-80 trees in the Country Club area within the last couple years along Canals AA and BB under Hulett as their President!! They paid the City some $34K for the ‘mitigation’ of the trees, so as far as I’m concerned the City is complicit in this action and continues to be until this action is stopped!! Oh, and by the way, after the trees were gone they announced that they would still have to do the canal dredging of those two canals by barge, not the bank…..which is why they said they had to do it!!
      PS: Those two canals have not been dredged to this day! One could deem that changing Coral Springs landscape is more important to them than water flow!!

  • Ira

    Funny how Mr. Hulett seems to have disappeared after writing this article.

  • Ira

    One might also notice this:

    Have you ever seen Sunshine working on their canals to actually CLEAN them? The author talks about their historic efforts to “save” a “50-year-old” system, and blames antiquated pump stations for their problems. What a crock:

    Pump stations can’t process a thousand cubic feet of water that’s mixed with 250 cubic feed of crap (dead plant and other debris). Many of these canals are at HALF their original depths/capacity, because Sunshine never dredges and CLEANS them as regularly scheduled maintenance.

    And who the hell is Joe Morero (Morera?) of Sunshine, who shows his face at EVERY Commission meeting?

    Why the hell are our lives so affected by this putz who no one ever heard of or voted for?

    • SWCD President

      Hello Ira,
      It will be my pleasure to meet with you and provide any information you may need in order to clarify what SWCD has done to date and any future CIP we will be doing to improve drainage and prevent flooding in SWCD.
      As far as name calling I will not use the same to describe you since I have never met you.
      So, if you are really interested in becoming informed please do call our District Manager’s office 954-426-2105 or I invite you to attend our next Board Meeting 12/10 6:30PM @ Sartory Hall.

      • Ira

        I apologize for the name calling, but that’s just my style.

        However, I ask you address the issue of Coral Springs Drive and Sample here, so that all Coral Springs Talk readers can be “illuminated.”

        The idea of calling your District Manager to “explain things,” or to attend a board meeting, seems a little strange when you have a forum to do so here. It kind of reeks of the “behind closed doors” activities that so many accuse you of.

        And I assume your moniker here means that you’re Joe?

        • Ira

          Are you there, Joe? Or whoever you are?

  • Ira

    You provide no clarity:

    These properties were never approved to be combined into one–yet the district went ahead and did the work based on its what–ASSUMPTION that the commission would approve the rezoning?

    Surely you’re not claiming this work would have been done anyway.

    I and others also SERIOUSLY question your engineers’ assessment that this culvert will not result in any loss. Do the math–and how do you CLEAN the damn thing? The point is, your engineers’ assessment and district work on the project were based on financial matters, getting a CVS built there, and not on the issues of water management. And claiming that the district now has 400 feet less of canal to maintain means exactly what?

    Huh?

    Why don’t we just fill in ALL the canals, so you’ll have NONE to maintain!

    Finally, I know all about your meetings, and no thanks.