Live Oak making moves

Article Courtesy of The Tampa Tribune
Published June 25, 2009


NEW TAMPA - Live Oak Preserve's recently reorganized community development district boards seek to reduce landscaping service costs, and one has authorized an inspection of district-controlled ponds as work begins without the influence of developer Engle Homes.

The Live Oak I Board of Supervisors agreed June 16 to terminate its $73,500 contract with Raymow Landscaping Inc. and begin negotiations with Landscape Maintenance Professionals, a Dover-based company commonly referred to as LMP.

Supervisors Mike Ceparano and Heath Denoncourt said they supported switching to LMP because its low bid of $42,000 would produce a 40 percent annual savings for the district. Raymow also submitted a bid to reduce its fees by 14 percent to retain the job, district manager Andrew Mendenhall said.

Raymow provides lawn care services for Live Oak I, Live Oak II, The Hammocks town home community and Live Oak Preserve master homeowners association. But its contracts with all of the properties could be in jeopardy.

Board supervisors for Live Oak II and The Hammocks also directed Mendenhall last week to seek proposals from LMP, Cornerstone and Greenview, the three landscaping companies to submit the lowest bids for the Live Oak I area. The homeowners association also is accepting bids for landscaping services.

Live Oak's district supervisors and homeowners association leaders are reviewing numerous policies and service contracts approved when builder Engle Homes controlled the 1,100-home development.

Engle's parent company, TOUSA, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year, is in the midst of selling off its inventory of homes and residential communities. Engle employees resigned from seats on the district boards in April and homeowners association in May.

TOUSA also did not make the bond payment for Live Oak Preserve in May, said attorney Mark Straley, whose firm represents the district boards.

Despite the changes, Live Oak I board supervisors are still seeking a solution to the problem of empty and shallow ponds near the community entrance off Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and in the Oakwood and Cedarwood villages.

The board approved a recommendation by district engineer Larry Kistler to hire Driggers Engineering Services to inspect all of the district-controlled ponds.

"It's time for a maintenance punch list to look at every pond in CDD I and CDD II to come up with an overall inventory," Kistler said. "We have a pond issue and overall drainage issue."

In other CDD business, resident Amy Warenyk was selected to fill a vacant seat on the Live Oak I board. She also serves on the master homeowners association board.

Master homeowners

Meanwhile, the master homeowners association approved a plan June 17 to give delinquent homeowners and renters 30 days to pay their assessments or they will lose privileges to community amenities, including use of the clubhouse, fitness center and swimming pool.

Supervisor Anthony Leone said the measure is not a remedy but a step in the right direction.

An aggressive campaign launched in May, targeting homeowners who had failed to pay their annual assessment for shared community services, produced $12,000 in less than a month, Leone said. Last month the board reported delinquent residents owed a total of $644,000.

The homeowners association also voted to toughen public access to the gated communities, citing concerns about break-ins and a spike in unauthorized door-to-door solicitations.

Association leaders told residents they met with Bright House Networks officials in an attempt to negotiate an early end to a 15-year bulk cable contract. No action was taken, but discussions will continue.