2014 Forecast for Lake Clarke Shores
Besides our normal business activities, 2014 will allow us to work on some extraordinary issues and projects. We have some exciting activities planned for 2014.
The first and most important to the Town's future is the installation of sewers along Forest Hill Boulevard. Property owners have discussed the possibility of having restaurants in Town. The Town Council embraces the revitalization to the properties along Forest Hill Boulevard and we changed our codes last year to allow for restaurants. The tasks of designing a system, defining proportionate share to the properties, assessing the properties, constructing the system, and acquiring permits and inter-local agreements take time. We have already started and will continue to work hard this year to make the sewer system a reality.
The Town Council has been discussing the annexation of three parcels of property on the west side of Florida Mango. The petition for annexation will be discussed and acted on in January and February. If approved, this would be the first ever annexation for the Town. Annexation raises our assessed valuation and generally can be accomplished without raising our costs.
The Town Administrator is working with the South Florida Water Management District, Palm Beach County, and the City of West Palm Beach to get accurate elevation data and flood event data to FEMA. FEMA is working to modify our Flood Insurance Rating Maps. The preliminary maps were grossly inaccurate and FEMA is accepting new data through February 28, 2014. New maps are critical to our Town as they will dictate who must carry flood insurance. The new flood insurance rates are not being subsidized and we have heard from other communities of flood insurance rate increases from 200% to 1000% and more.
One of my most ambitious projects is driven by the desires of waterfront residents who want access to the Intracoastal Waterway via the C51 canal. There are some great ideas on bypassing the lock system and offering a safe way to take small boats and kayaks to/from the Intracoastal Waterway. This issue affects all persons along the length chain of lakes. I will continue to work with the Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, and South Florida Water Management District, to see if we can help facilitate continued discussions, ideas, and start a much needed feasibility study.
The Town is also participating in a Palm Beach County League of Cities committee discussing fire/rescue services. We average 360 calls per year and 97 percent are medical in nature. The Committee, which includes elected officials, managers, and fire/rescue professionals, is attempting to determine if there is a better, more cost effective way to respond to those calls without putting the public or our first responders at any additional risk.
And finally, the Town was successful in acquiring a second phase to our Community Development Block Grant for the sewer system in Seminole Manor. We will be spending an additional $250,000 to upgrade four sewage lift stations this year. These improvements will enhance system reliability and are expected to decrease overtime costs. We want to thank Palm Beach County Water Utility Department for their assistance in acquiring and administering the grant.
Lake Clarke Shores continues to be a great community -- we still have movie nights for children, a fishing tournament, a lake cleanup day, a town BBQ in late March, and all sorts of other community focused events.