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Whatever Happened About…

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…AB’s drained pond
Work is expected to begin within the next two weeks on repair of a failed concrete dam here which once held back the waters cherished by a whole neighborhood of homeowners and untold numbers of wildlife.

The project to seal vertical joints opening up over the years in the structure designed to separate brackish Flamingo Canal from a large freshwater storm run-off pond backing up to homes along Lookout Drive is set to get underway at the next suitable low tide, said Steve Valdez, spokesman for Hillsborough’s Public Works Department. Estimated to cost about $10,000, the work also involving replacement of earthen bulwarks on the pond side of the dam should be completed about two weeks later, Valdez added. “If we’re lucky and our timing is right, summer rains should refill the pond quickly,” he noted. Whatever-happened-art

It’s welcome news to residents in the Edgewater Village section of whom many bought their properties bordering the pond for the “waterfront” effect it provided during the last decade, plus. When their water body drained rapidly earlier this year, leaving ducks, wading birds, fish and other marine life high and dry, they united to seek help from several public agencies. But, because no legal ownership of the pond or its dam could be shown, no maintenance responsibility could be established.
Resident leader Bob Collins commended Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner’s office and the public works staff for coming to the community’s aid, finding the means to restore their waterfront setting and prized wildlife environment.

…SCC CA Collections
Recovery through potential foreclosure actions of past due membership fees owed by Sun City Center homeowners to their Community Association is proving highly successful.

More than $11,000 in long overdue monies has been recovered since the effort got underway this spring, clearing the longest owing cases, said Ed Barnes, Community Association board president. The process now is being applied to the second tier of long unpaid CA dues, often owed by absentee owners/members who sometimes argue they owe nothing because they are not present in the community using its facilities.

When delinquent homeowners are advised of the debts owed and do not respond, the CA files annual liens for non-payment on their properties - posted in public records - and eventually sets foreclosure actions in motion through the accumulating unsatisfied liens. When homeowners settle the debts at this point in the process, they also are assessed the legal fees involved – currently pegged at $1,800 per case, Barnes noted.
Barnes said the CA plans to continue the collection process until all of the unpaid dues cases, some several years old, are resolved. When the foreclosure approach to collections was initiated, back dues owed topped $100,000.

…Ruskin Biz Center
Community leaders here now are exploring alternative approaches to creating a downtown business incubator with Hillsborough County administrators, deducing a joint deal with the U.S. Department of Agriculture cannot be sealed.

More than a year ago, the Ruskin Community Development Foundation applied for an $84,000 grant from USDA through its rural communities assistance programs. RCDF proposed using the funds for a comprehensive feasibility study to determine where and how best to establish the business incubator designed to encourage new commercial entities by sheltering them in a central location and thereby reducing their initial overhead expenses. USDA officials then suggested reduction of the grant amount to $50,000. Local leaders complied, altering the grant application’s proposed operation to fit the new amount. About a month ago, USDA Florida personnel again suggested a reduced grant amount for the study.

This week, Ron Wolfe, local activist and RCDF board member, said that while he did not know the exact amount last proposed by USDA, he’d gathered the figure is so low no worthwhile study could be accomplished. “We’ve done all that we can in terms of complying with the (USDA) information requirements,” he added, suggesting the time has come to pursue other approaches to the business incubator goal.
Copyright 2010 Melody Jameson

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