Aging infrastructure is a challenge facing cities and towns across our nation. While the Sun-Sentinel recently suggested that the City has been irresponsible in maintaining its water and sewer system, independent experts come to a different conclusion. In its 2016 Biennial Engineers Report, CH2M Hill, Hazen and Sawyer, and Hawksley Consulting concluded that Fort Lauderdale's water and sewer system is "well-maintained, well-managed, and in good operating condition."
The City's strong bond ratings reflect a well-managed, fiscally sound, and sustainable water and sewer system. Our most recent water and sewer revenue refunding bonds were assigned an Aa1 rating by Moody's Investors Service and an AA+ rating by Standard & Poor's. According to Moody's, "The Aa1 rating is based on the strength of a well-managed system supported by a strong liquidity position and competitive rate structure; a well-managed capital program, satisfactory overall debt service coverage, and adequate water supply and system treatment capacities to at least 2023."
Recognizing that portions of our infrastructure are approaching the end of their expected life cycle, Fort Lauderdale is taking a proactive and strategic approach to address this important issue. The City's infrastructure master plan provides a holistic evaluation of our entire water and wastewater system, and identifies both needs and desires to operate, maintain and improve system performance, efficiency and quality of service to meet our growing needs for the next 20 years.
From now through 2022, we are investing close to $400 million in projects to strengthen, enhance and upgrade our sewer, water and stormwater infrastructure. Highlights of these efforts include:
We currently have $51,677,109 invested in projects to enhance our sewer system and provide neighbors with quality services. We have more than $132,430,540 in Community Investment Projects (CIP) planned through 2022. Some of the current pipe and valve replacements, pipe linings, pump station upgrades and replacements underway include:
-5 Sewage Lift Station Rehabilitation Projects
-6 Sewage Basin Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) reduction projects
-4 Force Main rehabilitation/replacement projects including: (1) $14,560,456 to install 19,520 linear feet of force main along the Sistrunk Corridor and in Sailboat Bend and Tarpon River; (2) $791,367 to install 2,000 feet of new force main along Las Olas Boulevard
-Rehabilitation of prestressed concrete cylinder pipe (PCCP) and Cryogenic Plant at the George T. Lohmeyer wastewater treatment facility
We currently have $42,917,967 invested in water infrastructure projects to secure and safeguard our community's water supply, and have earmarked $92,071,202 through 2022. Our current active projects include, but are not limited to:
-The relocation of a 16" water main along East Las Olas Blvd
-Replacement of water main pipes in the Lake Estates neighborhood ($4,674,046)
-Replacement of the 30" water main that runs along the FDOT's bridge on Broward Blvd
-Improvements of the Port Condo large water main system
-Fiveash Water Treatment Plant Upgrades to improve reliability and efficiency ($2,050,000)
-Peele Dixie Renewal & Replacement ($1,670,078)
-NW Second Avenue Tank Restoration ($2,453,350)
We currently have $13,625,091 invested in our stormwater infrastructure projects to reduce flooding, adapt to sea level rise and strengthen community resilience, and are dedicating $174,377,200 toward stormwater infrastructure through 2022. Our comprehensive Stormwater Master Plan is underway and consists of three distinct phases:
-37 CIP projects to be constructed through FY 19 at a total investment of $9.9 million
-18 projects completed
-3 projects nearing completion
-8 projects in design
-8 projects will begin design in FY 18 and complete construction by FY 19
-Conduct Citywide stormwater modeling, watershed planning and collect utility data
-Create consistent standards, with an emphasis on green or sustainable infrastructure, to be used in the design and construction of all stormwater projects within the City's boundaries
-Complete design and permitting of projects in 7 vulnerable neighborhoods
-Design, permitting and construction of any additional areas identified as flood prone under the Phase II citywide modeling efforts
-Construction of the projects in the 7 vulnerable neighborhoods that were designed in Phase II, which is currently budgeted at $148 million in the CIP
In addition to sewer, water and stormwater improvements, Fort Lauderdale invests millions of dollars each year to maintain and enhance the infrastructure of roads, parks, sidewalks and bridges throughout our community. We are committed to delivering quality services to our neighbors and to protecting Fort Lauderdale's long-term viability. To that end, we will continue to be proactive and strategic as we dedicate the staff and resources necessary to implement a comprehensive strategy that addresses our challenges and strengthens our community. To ensure appropriate resources are allocated to infrastructure priorities, the City's Public Works Department added more than 45 staff members in the past year. We look forward to working with our neighbors as well as the Infrastructure Task Force to ensure sound planning and implementation to enhance quality of life and fulfill our community vision of creating "The City You Never Want to Leave."