Nuts and bolts of improving an improvement district

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District Manager Lawrence Blood told HISID commissioners last Wednesday that Stateline Drive had significant problems and needed a four-inch overlay from Venus Ave. to Thomas Circle. This project would consume a considerable portion of their roads’ budget for the year, and must be put out for bid. Commissioner Dan Kees wanted to proceed, but commissioner Linda Graves asked about other roads.

Road Department Supervisor Kenny DeHart responded they would need to get bids and see what’s left in the budget. Graves wanted more information about a plan for road repair, and DeHart said he would work with engineers to prioritize needs and identify options. Blood said he would keep the commission apprised.

Blood mentioned there was $1500 in their budget to clean up the area where golf course crews spray off landscaping equipment. Course Superintendent John Prange said it was important to get the area cleaned up, and spray running off equipment goes into a container that is filtered and resued. A complete makeover of the area could cost as much as $5000, which Blood said was available in their reserve fund, and Kees moved to take up to that amount from reserves. Vote to approve his motion was unanimous.

Blood reviewed how each department did in 2017, and was pleased to note the overall financial picture is positive. He said assessments came in slightly below budgeted projection but expenditures were within budget.

Cold weather, colder pipes, de-icing

Revenue from water and wastewater exceeded projections, and Blood said he was not aware of any leaks in the main water line. He noted, however, 14 water meters froze during the coldest weather and had to be replaced. They also had to thaw some sewer lines.

DeHart told the board he replaces meters as soon as they log around 500,000 gallons even though the life expectancy is closer to a million gallons. Chair David Makidon commented they stay ahead of the game and staff in the office watch for extraordinary readings that might indicate trouble spots.

Blood reported winter weather prompted plenty of roadwork, where crews applied 78 tons of chat for traction and used 1500 gallons of calcium chloride to melt ice and hard-packed snow.

Crews also chipped 30 downed trees near the 18-hole golf course producing seven chipper loads. Prange used the chips at certain spots around the golf course.

Rec Center, campground revenue up

Blood said the Recreation Center had a record year for revenue. The roof was damaged by the tornado in April, but insurance has declined to cover repair because of the age of the building. He is still working to get coverage, but the roof will need to be replaced soon. Blood said he would present a proposal to the board once he finds out about insurance coverage.

The golf course exceeded its budget projection by a small margin because of sales in the pro shop.

A fuel leak at the marina cost $83,254 so far to clean up, and Blood said the fuel system should be replaced. Funds are not in the budget, but he will report back in March.

The campground had a good year with revenue exceeding expectations by more than $2000 while expenses stayed within budget.

What to do with two buildings

Blood said two other issues were what to do with the Guard Shack and the Yacht Club building. Regarding the Guard Shack at the entrance to Holiday Island Drive, he acknowledged the board had voted to have it removed. However, it cannot be removed in one piece, and some residents have told him they want to keep it. Also, if it is dismantled and removed, there is no plan for what to do with the space, so he asked for further guidance.

For Graves, the simple solution was either to get a landscaping plan or leave it. Resident Alex Thurocy said he had heard the comment someone driving by might think Holiday Island was a gated community. He disagreed totally because there was no one in the shack and there were no gates. In addition, having the shack there might discourage an unscrupulous person from passing through.

Kees commented the volunteer who does the landscaping there now would walk away from it. “We’d be poking ourselves in the eye to remove it,” he remarked.

Makidon said they should wait until they become a town to decide. They could maybe fix it up a bit with an updated sign, but it’s not a big deal now.

Blood announced the asbestos report on the Yacht club came back clear, so they were free to demolish it as the public declared at the recent public forum, or they could refurbish it as a city hall.

Makidon thought the city hall idea deserved consideration as city government would quickly outgrow its space at the SID office, and the cost of fixing it might be favorable compared to buying another facility.

Kees stated, “My vote is to take it down to clean dirt and plant some grass. It will be two years before the city could do anything.”

After dissenting opinions surfaced, Makidon said the topic should be on their March agenda.

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