Iguanas, new toll proposals and finance govern GIBA discussion at quarterly meeting

Iguanas, new toll proposals and  finance govern GIBA discussion at quarterly meeting

■ PROVIDED BY THE GASPARILLA ISLAND BRIDGE AUTHORITY

The GIBA quarterly board meeting was held on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at which topics of conversation included finances, iguanas and road flooding at the north end of the island.

Engineering Chairman Peter Strong informed the board that the remediation plan for the pinion girder movement was successfully performed on August 7, 2017. The cost was $18,950.

Finance Chairman Drew Tucker reviewed the unaudited fiscal year 2017 financial statements.

The cash position is up 36 percent compared to fiscal year 2016, as reserves are being accumulated for the planned new toll collection system and next year’s SunTrust Bank loan principal prepayment.

Tucker said GIBA remains in a strong financial position and is meeting all required loan covenants.

Revenue was even with the projected budget, and expenses were down by 18 percent.

The fiscal year 2017 audit fieldwork was completed on October 26, and the final audit report will be discussed at the February 2018 board meeting.

Over the summer, GIBA developed an iguana control program, controlling them in-house. The startup costs were $400, and to date Executive Director Kathy Banson-Verrico said they have removed 120 iguanas.

Governance Chairman Lee Major discussed the annual review of the GIBA defined-contribution plan for eligible employees.

On motion by Gay Darsie and seconded by Drew Tucker, the eight percent defined-contribution plan was approved.

The final draft of Toll Collection System RFP2017-04 was advertised on October 31.

There is a pre-bid site visit for prospective bidders planned for December 14, and the bids are due January 14.

Banson-Verrico said the new toll collection system will upgrade the technology to ensure a “modern user- friendly experience.”

The executive director’s report included traffic and revenue figures for July through September.

Traffic counts were down five percent compared to last year, with a corresponding five- percent revenue decrease.

The report stated that approximately 60 percent of the overall decrease can be attributed to Hurricane Irma and 21 percent to last year’s revenue earned for the temporary overweight program.

Bridge openings for July through September 17 were down by 28 percent, and boats were down by 19 percent.

There was a discussion regarding the southern roadway flooding after Hurricane Irma, as the southern roadway is susceptible to drainage issues and flooding.

GIBA hired local engineering firm Giffels Webster to provide an engineering report on the area.

The report confirmed that three conditions affected the normal drainage pattern of the southern roadway:

• 18 inches of rain in a short period of time;

• The high water level of Lake Gasparilla caused the inflow culverts to be submerged and unable to function;

• Due to the high groundwater tables, the cross drain sumps were also unable to perform as designed.

The GIBA board voted to approve RFP2017-05 for the storm restoration.

The restoration includes the following:

Storm water pipes will be jet-sprayed and cleaned, the damaged areas will be graded and sodded, and the overgrown foliage will be removed along the 10-foot drainage and utility easement.

On motion by Gay Darsie and seconded by Lee Major, RFP 2017-05 was approved.