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CHR lease renewed by City Council

October 11, 2017
By MEGHAN McCOY (mmccoy@breezenewspapers.com) , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The City Council approved a lease for Community Housing and Resources until Sept. 30, 2022.

Councilman Jason Maughan said Community Housing and Resources was the start of an important city obligation of a community planning act, who does it considerably cheaper in his estimations than if they had to handle the matter themselves. He said the new lease takes into account some additional costs relative to insurance, including some items that transpired recently for audit reimbursement.

On, or before Jan. 15 of each year CHR provides an audit, which has a price tag of $15,000. According to their lease, "CHR shall submit for reimbursement from city for its reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining this audit, not more than $15,000.)"

In addition, Maughan said the lease includes language to anticipate the changes for the Center 4 Life down the road to keep the same arrangement and flexibility for the engineering and planning of how it looks.

"The shared space with Center 4 Life has been a good relationship between the seniors and the CHR administrative staff and executive officers," Maughan said. "The truth be told, originally I was going to discuss having a separate office somewhere, so they weren't linked, but there was a request by both sides quite frankly that they have enjoyed working together."

He said he wanted to make the language vague enough that there is a minimum requirement of the eventual plan.

According to the lease, the first fiscal year of the agreement, commencing on Oct. 1, and ending Sept. 30, 2018, $324,753.45 that will be paid to CHR by the city as the administrative budget. "Annually, CHR's annual administrative budget payment by the city will be increased by 5 percent for the term of this agreement."

Vice Mayor Mick Denham said he was a little concerned about the increase from 3 percent to 5 percent. He said he is a little concerned about the restraints it will put on the city.

"At some point in time we will certainly run into a conservation relative to the budget. I will tell you the impacts of the storm were significant. As we go through the exercise this evening (first budget hearing Oct. 3) we will see exactly how impactful the storm has been to our budget and our balance sheet," Mayor Kevin Ruane said. "We prepared for it, but we certainly utilized all the reserves we had in place . . . it is certainly not much of unappropriated cash that we had left in the budget. I think there is $94,000 if I recall correctly. We are going to have a consideration tonight in the change of the Rec Center and some of the fees that we talked about. That won't be embraced and that's $174,000. This increase is nominal in nature at $15,000. I understand that."

He said there is only so much financial capacity that he has with the storm having an impact.

"I certainly support what CHR does and everything it has to do in that regard. Certainly we understand the nature, just like the affects of the storm, you certainly will have the affects of this," Ruane said. "I certainly support this change, and I certainly support the increase."

CHR President Richard Johnson said there was a different time in the organization's life where it was necessary to pull themselves up by their boot straps.

"Prior to that it was an automatic annual increase," Johnson said. "We are asking to go back to that automatic increase. The reason for that change is during the last contract period, I believe there were some concerns about the viability and operation of the organization at that time. I believe and am very confident standing before you and the public to say that those times are clearly behind us and we are moving in a good solid financial and providing a much needed, evidence by the waiting list we have currently, resource here in this community."

Councilman Chauncey Goss asked if they are moving in a direction of 5 percent annually and need 7 percent, would it not be better to come in and ask for the 7 percent.

"We are comfortable with five automatic. One of the things that we have been able to do is change the culture of the organization over the last six to eight years. We have been putting into place facility reserves, so we can take care of additional unexpected expenses, or expected expenses as roof replacements," Johnson said. "One of the things that is challenging us, just like everyone else in the state of Florida, is rising insurance costs."

Ruane asked if CHR had any dollar and cent impacts of what Hurricane Irma did to their property.

Johnson said they had vegetative damage, as well as significant damage at their Riverview property.

"All CHR residents in the event of a mandatory evacuation have to evacuate their units. We did that this year. We were actually on the front end of getting everyone out by 2:00 Friday afternoon. We had everybody out. It was a good thing that we did because we actually had a tree come down on our Riverview structure. It actually penetrated the roof structure there," Johnson said.

That resident was moved into another existing unit.

The insurance deductibles on wind coverage, based on percentage of policy insurance coverage, was $14,000 that CHR had to take out of pocket.

"I think it is important for the community to understand the total impact," Ruane said. "It's going to be a challenge across the board."

 
 

 

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