Boca Teeca

Preserving the Residential Character of Boca Teeca

Friday, May 11, 2018

$65 Million Windfall

A Hot topic at the recent joint meeting of the city council and the Beach & and Park District was whether the city was going to offer to spend some of the $65 million windfall on the improvements at the new Boca National golf club.  The 4 council members were non-committal on spending these funds from the sell of their municipal golf course located west of the Florida turnpike which they are expected to receive in approximately 1 year.  Residents and Beach & Park District commissioner Erin Wright repeated their request for using some of these funds for paying for the renovations to the new golf course.

How should the city spend this $65 million windfall?
1) Preserving and developing greens pace, and recreational amenities within the city?
2) A new city hall or other governmental buildings?

Let's hear from our residents.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

4-1 Vote by City Council to Support Park District Purchase

Last nights 7+ hour city council meeting included a 4-1 vote in favor of the city lending funds to the Beach & Park Disrict (BPD) for the purchase of the closed Ocean Breeze golf course.  Only city councilman Jeremy Rodgers voted against the purchase - amazingly he is running for re-election in the March election of 2 city council seats.  Councilman Rodgers has been the loan council member to indicate his lack of support for the purchase since the last joint meeting.   The property acquisition appears on track for a Feb 28th closing.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Purchase Moving Forward

Deputy city manager George Brown made a presentation at this week's Beach & Park District (BPD) meeting in which the negotiated InterLocal Agreement appears to be moving forward for the 2/28/18 closing.  The agreement now calls for the BPD to purchase the East property for $5 million and the title will be in their name alone and not subject to the agreement. The western portion of the property will be subject to the Interlocal agreement as the city will be providing funding for this purchase for $19 million and the title to this property will be in the name of the city until the BPD pays off that loan.  There is a Joint meeting of the BPD &  City Council on 2/28 with time and location TBA, but this is expected to be a back slapping event which will celebrate the acquisition of the 212 acres that will become Boca Natinoal Golf Club.

Several more meetings are scheduled as follows:
1/22 -1:30pm - City council workshop meeting-Public comments are available for speaking
1/23 -6pm - City coucil meeting / final approval of the ordinance to allow the city to borrow funds that will be loaned to the BPD for the purchase of the western portion of the former Ocean Breeze property per the above mentioned InterLocal Agreement.
1/29, 2/1 & 2/12 - 5:30-8pm+ / BPD Public meetings at Sugar Sand Park for interviewing the architectural companies that have responded to the RFP for redesigning the new Boca National Golf Club.  Each of the 15 companies will have approx 30 minutes to make their presentation and provide Q&A from the District commissioners (no public comment until regular BPD meeting).  These meetings should be very exciting as the new golf course proposals will eventually lead to the improvements that benefit all residents.
2/5 -5:15pm -BPD regular meeting, but this maybe changed due to scheduling conflicts with the Boca Raton golf championship (PGA Senior tournament) that the BPD is co-sponsoring with the city.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

City Staff Providing Poor Direction?

The Boca Raton city coucil workshop meeting on Monday provided further insight into the uncooperative efforts of the city staff in providing consistent direction to the city council.  The Interlocal Agreement proposed by the City Staff was very "aggressive" and was not consistent with the past Interlocal agreements in which the city financed the acquisition of Sugar Sand Park and Ocean Strand.  In both of these agreements the title to the property was held jointly and there were no other requirements or restrictions regarding the properties.  Both of these loans were paid-off early and the city transferred the title to the Beach & Park District (BPD) without any unresolved issues.

Council member Rogers seems to be particularly out of touch with this process as he had several questions about issues that were not even part of the draft Interlocal Agreement.  At the end of an hour-long discussion the City Council determined that there was too many unresolved issues in order to make a decision on the initial ordinance to start the lending process.  It is strongly recommended that council members who have questions attend the Jan. 16th meeting of the BPD at 5:15pm at Sugar Sand Park/most council members indicate that they were available on the 16th at this meeting.

The city council appears to be poorly informed about the cooperative financial arrangements that the Beach &  Park District has with the city, that is, 70% of the tax receipts paid to the BPD are paid to the city for maintaining the parks.  The BPD has used over $13 million of their funds for improving city-owned de Hornle Park and would like to spend another $7 million to expand that park on adjacent city-owned land.

Regarding the city's attempt to force the BPD to hire current city employees at the current municipal golf course, the city is getting $65 million from the sell of that property so they should have realized these employees would not have a job at the city once this property was sold.  But, there is an easy solution to this issue, that is, the city could use $6-7 million of these proceeds to buy the Hidden Valley closed golf course and turn this into a city-owned park and these employees could be reassigned to maintaining this park.  Mr. Tuttle stated at the P&Z meeting that he would be willing to sell this property at the same per acre price that the BPD is paying for the Ocean Breeze property which would be $6-7 million.

City council members coming up for re-election should be very mindful that if this deal is not completed by Feb. 28th, then there may not be an incentive for thousands of local residents & golfers to vote for their re-election a few days later.  Residents may also which to email or call the city council at 561-393-7708 in order to communicate their displeasure with the lack of cooperation by the city.

The next meetings of the city council are Jan. 22nd at 1:30pm and Jan. 23rd at 6pm.  It would be expected that the Ocean Breeze issue will be on the agenda under the BPD Interlocal agreement discussion, so be prepared to attend this meeting and speak in favor of a cooperative Interlocal agreement so this 2-yr process can be completed amicably.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Park District Optimistic on Terms with City

At last night's meeting of the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District (The District) executive director & District attorney Art Koski provided an optimistic update on the negotiations over the terms of the borrowing through the city to complete the acquisition of the Ocean Breeze property.   There were several negative issues in the draft of the proposed agreement by the City staff which Mr. Koski has discussed this week with city manager Leif Ahnell that indicated the city's willingness to be more flexible of some of the controlling terms.  Assistant city manager George Brown has been the point person within the city and Mr. Koski indicated that he is out of the office until Thursday at which time they will continue these negotiations.

The borrowing agreements in the past between the City and the District have included he joint title to the property being acquired and no other restrictions on either party regarding the operation or oversight of the acquired property.  Accordingly, the City should be able to agree to similar terms since they have already agreed to sell their current municipal golf course to GL homes for $65 million and they should welcome the opportunity to place the cost and operating responsibility of a new Boca National golf club onto the District.

This agreement is expected to be on the agenda at the City workshop meeting on 1/8/18 at 1pm and there will be an opportunity for public comments at this encourage the city council decision makers to be as cooperative as their predecessors were in the past in providing financing to the District for the acquisition of land for public parks.  Residents should consider attending this meeting and speaking in favor of a very cooperative agreement by the City in order to facilitate this acquisition by the District.

At the District meeting there was also discussion about the selection of an architect and their team for  re-working the acquired golf property.   The District will hold a meeting on 1/16 in which they expect to decide how many of the 15 companies they will select for interviews on 1/25 & 1/26--these meetings will not be open to the public under state of Florida statutes.  The RFP responses will be able for viewing by the public after 1/20 as there is a 30-day delay from when these
RFPs were received by the District.  All commissioners and Mr. Koski were confident that the selected "team" will provide a great golfing facility which will be available to District residents at a price discount from the general public.

There will also be a District meeting on 1/29 that is scheduled to discuss the golf course course, but it was not clear if this meeting will be open to the public since the selection process is exempt from public meeting requirements.  District commissioners did indicate there will be opportunities for golfer/public input into the development process after the architect team is selected, so please stay in touch with the District commissioners or attend District meetings if you wish to have input into this process.  The estimated completion date of the Boca National golf club is estimated to be 18-24 months from the closing of the purchase on 2/28/18 which should be shortly after the closing of the current city owned municipal golf course.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

City Staff Not Cooperating with Park District

City staff are not cooperating with the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District in their effort to acquire the Ocean Breeze golf course property.  The city has provided an Inter-Local Agreement (ILA) which is the normal process for cooperative efforts between the City and the GBRBPD.  This ILA provides the repayment and other terms of the lending of funds to the GBRBPD for the acquisition of the property, BUT the terms are so onerous that the GBRBPD commissioners could never agree to what the city staff has proposed.

First, the city has a requirement that they will control the golf course property until the loan is paid off to the city.  This is akin to a bank demanding the use of your home until the mortgage is paid off.  Also, none of the past ILA agreements have such an intolerable requirement.

Secondly, the city is requiring that the GBRBPD pay the salaries and benefits of the current golf course employees during any period when the current golf course is closed and the Boca Natinoal golf course opens.  The GBRBPD has not even agreed to use the staff of the current golf course and in no way should the GBRBPD be liable for these employees.  Isn't the city getting $65 million from the sell of the current municipal golf course?  Obviously the city is not planning to use any of these funds to cooperate with the GBRBPD in providing an upgrade recreational facility to the residents.

Thirdly, the city is requiring a penalty for early repayment of the loan, whereas, this term is typically not in the borrowing via municipal bonds that normally have the ability to be repaid after 10 years.  The city is only acting as a pass-through entity on this loan, so why is the city trying to make a profit off of the GBRBPD when they are already getting a $65 million windfall?

The GBRBPD has fully cooperated with the city in current ILAs that has the city employees operating the parks, so that over $16 million in the current fiscal year is being paid to the city for these services.  Maybe the GBRBPD should cancel that ILA and hire an outside service to maintain and operate the parks which could result in a large savings to the GBRBPD.  

Or, the city can act as the cooperative agent that has allowed the city residents to enjoy well maintained beaches and parks and provide the loan without any restrictions and pass through the funds as has been historically done in these property acquisitions that result in expanded parks throughout our city.  This is NOT a good effort on the part of the city which has expanded the population dramatically without providing sufficient funding to recreational facilities or schools within the area.

Now is a good time to call & email your city council members to let them know your opinions on their uncooperative efforts.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Ocean Breeze Update

At this week's meeting of the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District it was announced that the city and Park District are coordinating for a Feb. 28th closing on the closed golf course property.  Thank you Keep Golf In Boca for continuing to advocate for almost 2 years for all resident golfers who will officially have a championship level golf course within the city.

The Park District received an excellent response to their RFP for golf course architects to be in charge of the rehabilitation of the 27 hole golf course.  The interested architects included such well known organizations as Nicklaus, Norman, Reese Jones, Nick Price, Robert Trent Jones, McCumber/Fazio and many other designers.  For a full list of the respondents please see the web site for the Park District.  This is great news for all golfers in the area as this illustrates the interest from the top golf course designers who want to make Boca National a world class golf course facility.

Happy Holidays to All Residents of Boca Raton.