BSU vehicle sale

BSU is selling the following vehicles and equipment:

Truck #53  2003 Ford F-350 4X4
Truck #202 2007 Ford F-150 4X4
Truck #501 2006 GMC Sierra 1500
Truck #611 2008 Ford F-350 4X2
Truck #612 2008 Ford F-250
Truck #613 2008 Ford F-250
Truck #616 2008 Jeep 2 Door Wrangler Sport 
Truck #702 2007 Ford F-150
Truck #803 2005 GMC Sierra 4X4

These items are being sold in an “as is, where is” condition, with no guarantees of fitness for a particular purpose or intent and no warranties either expressed or implied by Bonita Springs Utilities, Inc. and no claims to the Florida Vehicle Lemon Law. They can be viewed at the Bonita Springs Utilities Operations Services Center located at 11500 Operations Way starting Monday, March 5 thru Friday, March 9 from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Sealed bids shall clearly state the monetary bid and the specific vehicle. Bids need to be sent to:

Bonita Springs Utilities, Inc.
ATTN: Purchasing Agent
11900 East Terry Street
Bonita Springs, FL 34135

The envelope shall be clearly marked “Vehicle Bid” with the vehicle number and must be received before 12:00 noon on March 21, 2018. The winning bidders will be notified on April 3. 

Bonita Springs Utilities reserves the right to refuse any or all bids.

BSU honored with water distribution excellence award

The Florida Section of the American Water Works Association named Bonita Springs Utilities Inc. winner of the 2017 Division 4 Outstanding Water Distribution Award for the sixth time since 2009. The award recognizes excellence in water quality, operations records, maintenance, professionalism, safety, emergency preparedness and cross-connection control programs.

“The utility is to be recognized for the outstanding work of their hard-working water distribution system professionals,” said Mike Bailey, chair-elect of the FSAWWA. “BSU has demonstrated that they provide a safe and reliable water supply to the residents and visitors of Bonita Springs and Estero in an excellent and professional manner.”

FSAWWA, which has more than 2,500 members representing 175 Florida water utilities, began the award program in 1997. Six utilities received this award in 2017, one per designated size class. BSU also won the award in 2015, 2014, 2012, 2011 and 2009.

“Every day, BSU staff strives to deliver reliable, excellent water service to our members,” said John R. Jenkins, BSU executive director. “It’s gratifying to have the hard work and dedication of BSU’s employees recognized by the FSAWWA.”

BSU’s drinking water production starts with raw water from two sources. The Lower Tamiami Aquifer is a relatively shallow groundwater source that is treated through lime softening. The deeper water source is poorer quality water that is treated through the reverse-osmosis process. The water from the two processes is blended for optimum taste and purity. During 2017, BSU produced 3.51 billion gallons of potable water.

BSU election process: transparent and independent

By BSU Executive Director John R. Jenkins

Bonita Springs Utilities Inc. is a private, member-owned utility with a board of directors elected by utility members. BSU recently mailed ballots, as we do every February, to all members in good standing to vote in the 2018 election. This year, 24,593 ballots were sent out.

The voting process is designed to be transparent and independent, utilizing a third-party election monitor, independent observer and the League of Women Voters of Lee County. No BSU staff member, director, or relative of either, participates. Scanned bar codes confirm ballot authenticity. No one but the election monitor knows the results until they are announced at the BSU Annual Meeting.

Candidate bios are mailed to all members, posted on our website, and distributed to the media. Ballot instructions are clear and concise. Members are instructed to vote for no more than three candidates; to do so would invalidate their ballot.

A homeowners association, business or governmental entity may be a member. Each is considered a single member entitled to a single vote under democratic principles governing cooperatives. This is required by federal tax law, plain and simple. Co-ops are in business to serve their members and membership is based on metered service. 

For condominiums with a single meter, the condo owners’ association is the customer, or account holder, and the one responsible for payment, not the individual condo unit owners. This metering arrangement is not dictated by BSU, it is up to the condo developer or unit owners. To change this voting structure would result in losing BSU’s tax-exempt status.

Maintaining tax-exempt status keeps costs, and ultimately rates, low for members. Income tax, property tax, sales tax on multimillion dollar capital projects, all are avoided under the current voting structure. As a result, rates have not been raised in seven years, despite an increase in costs, system capacity has kept up with growth, debt has been aggressively paid down, and reserves were available to respond to the damage and costs of Hurricane Irma.

BSU operates under a franchise with the City of Bonita Springs and Lee County to provide water and wastewater services to Bonita Springs and some Estero residents. Like government-owned utilities BSU is exempt from Public Service Commission regulation. Why? Because like government utilities, BSU rate payers have a voice at the ballot box. Additional protection is provided to BSU members by city rate review under the Franchise.

Because BSU is a private company, things like candidate finance disclosures, public records laws and the Sunshine Law do not apply. In their place, members are always welcome to attend BSU public board meetings, which are held on the first and third Tuesday of every month, at 5 p.m. State law governing nonprofit companies requires BSU to make information available to members, which we do upon request. I have spoken to many civic and community organizations about BSU and our operations. Operations staff routinely gives facility tours. My door is always open to members with questions or complaints. 

BSU staff works hard to deliver exceptional water and wastewater service to its members, as evidenced by state and industry awards and recognition. We take pride in our work. Our board members and staff are your neighbors and friends. We value our role as an important community resource.

I encourage every member to vote and I welcome the opportunity to meet with any member who has questions about BSU’s election process, as well as utility operation or service. I look forward to seeing members at the BSU Annual Meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 20, when utility reports will be given and election results announced.

Six candidates seek BSU board seats

Six candidates, including three incumbents, are running for three seats on the Bonita Springs Utilities Inc. board of directors.

The candidates are:
• Edward P. FitzGerald, a current Bonita Springs Fire Control & Rescue District commissioner and retired New York City Fire Department division commander, who operated a home inspection business for 30 years
• Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation, who also volunteers as a trustee of the CREW Land & Water Trust and Leadership Bonita Alumni Committee member for the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce
• Frank W. Liles Jr., BSU board member since 1986, who retired after nearly 40 years with CenturyLink and served more than 20 years as a Bonita Springs Fire Control & Rescue District commissioner
• Mike Malloy, a BSU board member since 2012 and current board treasurer, who recently retired as vice president from MACH Energy with 40 years of experience in the utility and energy services industries
• Jude Richvale, a vice president with GIS DBA Inc., a geographic information systems consultancy, who is also a senior member of the Bonita Springs Tropical Fruit Club and former chairman of Bonita CAB (Communications Advisory Board)
• James F. Strecansky, BSU board member since 2008 and current BSU board president, who is active in The Brooks II Community Development District and Shadow Wood Homeowners Association

BSU members elect three fellow members each year for a three-year term on the utility’s nine-member board of directors. The utility will mail ballots and candidate profiles to members in mid-February. Local attorney James Kerr, whose office has supervised the election process for the past 17 years, will serve as election monitor for 2018. Completed ballots must be received by Kerr no later than Friday, March 16. Kerr will announce the results during the utility’s annual meeting Tuesday, March 20, at the BSU office.

Other board members are Paul J. Attwood, Robert Bachman, Brian Farrar, Vincent J. Marchesani, Ben Nelson and Robert Sharkey. The board of directors holds public meetings at 5 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. In addition, each board member serves on various subcommittees and task groups, working with the utility’s management and staff.

2018 Candidates for Board of Directors

Edward P. FitzGerald, a Bonita Springs resident since 1992, is a retired NYC deputy fire chief and currently serves as a commissioner of the Bonita Springs Fire Control & Rescue District. He holds a business degree from Pace University and has more than 30 years of experience as a licensed building inspector in New Jersey. He attends St. Leo Catholic Church in Bonita Springs. He wishes to bring the experience to the board to understand the individual responsibility and represent the constituents. Edward’s observation is that current board members do not actively speak for members. His top two priorities are to bring transparency to the board and support operations or stop practices with which he does not agree.

Steven Kissinger has lived in Southwest Florida since 1984 and has been a Bonita Springs resident since 2008. He graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and is currently the executive director of The Immokalee Foundation. He is a trustee of the CREW Land & Water Trust, a member of the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Bonita Alumni Committee, treasurer of Farm City BBQ of Collier County and member of the Kiwanis Club of Northside Naples. With a background of more than 20 years of professional experience in nonprofit accounting, he can fill a void in an otherwise high-functioning board of directors. His belief in service leadership has drawn him to serve on the BSU board. Steven’s priority is to continue the traditions of excellence at BSU by providing safe, clean water to members at an affordable cost.

Frank W. Liles, Jr., a Bonita Springs native, has served on the BSU board since 1986, including terms as vice president, secretary and treasurer. Retired after nearly 40 years with CenturyLink, he also served more than 20 years as a Bonita Springs Fire Control & Rescue District commissioner. A Rotarian and former Bonita Springs Zoning Board member, he wants to continue BSU’s excellent service to the community while keeping costs controlled. His priorities are to continue delivering the best quality water, as well as affordable water and wastewater service at practical rates. Frank also wants to ensure BSU keeps up with area growth.

Mike Malloy, a BSU board member since 2012 and current treasurer, is a recently retired vice president of customer service for MACH Energy. A Bonita Springs resident since 2003, he holds an engineering degree from Brown University in Providence, R.I. Malloy has 40 years of experience in the utility industry and served in management positions with utility companies, including Dynegy and Aquila. As chair of the Engineering and Finance Committees, Mike has played an active role in shaping BSU decisions during his tenure on the board. There have been no rate increases since he joined the board. If re-elected to the board, he plans to hold the line on rates while maintaining BSU’s solid financial position and high water quality standards.

Jude Richvale, a Bonita Springs resident since 1998, is a vice president at GIS DBA Inc., a geographic information systems (GIS) consultancy. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in human communications from the State University of New York. Jude Richvale has served as a senior consultant to three major utilities: the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (Water), Pacific Gas and Electric, and Dominion Energy. Jude is a senior member of the Bonita Springs Tropical Fruit Club and former chairman of Bonita CAB (Communications Advisory Board). He believes his experience in communications, software and utility GIS would be of help to BSU. He wants BSU to assist in flood water control by establishing reservoirs and drainage channels to store more summer storm water for winter use. He believes BSU should be subject to Florida’s sunshine and public record laws. He would oppose rate increases.

James F. Strecansky, a BSU board member since 2008, has served as vice president and is now president. He has lived in Bonita Springs since 2000, when he retired as division VP and GM with Air Products & Chemicals, the Fortune 500 company he joined in 1962. He holds a degree in chemical engineering from Manhattan College and participated in the Harvard Business School advanced management program. He serves as vice chair for The Brooks II Community Development District and serves as a representative of his neighborhood for the Shadow Wood Homeowners Association. He feels he can continue to help BSU be one of the best water supply companies in Florida. James’ priorities as a board member are to help management run an excellent water company and provide direction for a cost-effective supply of water to BSU members.

Bonita Springs Utilities Inc. closes on sale of surplus land

Bonita Springs Utilities Inc. has closed on the sale of approximately 246 acres of surplus land to BE 278, LLC. The property is situated along the east side of I-75 due south of BSU’s East Water Reclamation Facility.

“Our members benefit from the sale of surplus land, as BSU now has additional funds available for infrastructure renewal and replacement, water supply sustainability and other utility needs,” said BSU Executive Director John Jenkins.

BSU originally acquired a large parcel of property in 1996 to construct its East Water Reclamation Facility and Operations Service Center. The company has since identified the property needed for future expansion of these facilities. The portion deemed surplus is not needed to provide water and wastewater services in its franchise area.

BE 278, LLC is a Florida company managed by Oakbrook Properties Inc. of Bonita Springs, Fla.