Category Archives: Uncategorized

Condos for Sale and a new Board President Needed? But what about our water meters?

Below is not my opinion: it is a link to a page downloaded today, of current real estate listings:

Van Loon for Sale Sept 2015

The tax records reflect that the unit is owned by the Van Loon Commons, Board of Directors Pres, Richard Aliperti et al.

My opinion will come tomorrow; clearly we will be needing a new Board Member and our Water Meters are still not in place.

 

1137 Trash Room and Owners Leaving-Formerly in Charge

Has anyone seen a trash room when someone is moving out?   Posted below are the “trash rules” for mattresses, etc as listed on our building 1137.

May 17 2015 Trash Rules PostedSorry if it isn’t clear ( we are on vacation and off to dinner with friends), but it says to call for Waste Pro to arrange pickup of mattresses.  Our trash room stinks like something or someone died in there… maybe normal?  Since yesterday, 2 pee stained mattresses have been inside ours along with a broken up old style television.  Since it is May 17th, there are hardly any other persons in our building of 15 units. In fact, there are 4 cars that come and go, including ours.

The former Board President, Marguerite Kisner and her husband Randy have their condo, Unit 205 as a pending sale. Ms. Kisner was very diligent about ensuring that owners and especially tenants, followed the rules and regulations which she and a few others wrote and posted to the internet.  Those rules and regulations turned many a prospective buyer off, including a wonderful woman from the cold northwest who said it didn’t seem like a fun place to live or to bring her teenage sons.   They are currently being revised but below is a link to what was written in 2013 and in effect in May 2014, when many chose not to purchase here.  Does anyone see that many of these are unenforceable?

VanLoonCommoms_RulesRegs

We have not personally witnessed who dragged these mattresses and trash in to the trash room and dumpster. Maybe someone who moved out came back to put them there?  (inside joke,  Memorial Day shutoff of gate access in 2013 for all tenant codes based upon a suspicion of a returning tenant trash dump)   But hmmmmm… who is moving and getting rid of trash?

This is one of the arguments we have proposed in regards to Board members with little to nothing to lose if they play with the finances; play at being in charge.  All deficits and debts will be left to those remaining.   It is possible that a former or even current Board member may not give one hoot about the place when exiting, isn’t it?   I think VLC should have a DNA test done on the pee on those mattresses.  ( Again, a ridiculous illustration of why rules that can be easily enforced should be written only)

May 17 2015 Trash 3May 17 2015 1137 Trash 2May 17 2015 1137 Trash 1

 

 

Special Assessments, Governing Docs & Unspent Funds

Chapter 718.116 is very specific on the use of Special Assessment funds.  On Jan 1, 2014, VLC had a $109k Special Assessment, or $730 per unit on top of the dues increase from $818 to $1,005 quarterly.  For some here, this was not a big deal, for others?

Copied from Chapter 718.116 is the section regarding Special Assessment funds:

(10) The specific purpose or purposes of any special assessment, including any contingent special assessment levied in conjunction with the purchase of an insurance policy authorized by s. 718.111(11), approved in accordance with the condominium documents shall be set forth in a written notice of such assessment sent or delivered to each unit owner. The funds collected pursuant to a special assessment shall be used only for the specific purpose or purposes set forth in such notice.

However, upon completion of such specific purpose or purposes, any excess funds will be considered common surplus, and may, at the discretion of the board, either be returned to the unit owners or applied as a credit toward future assessments.

What was the breakdown of the Special Assessment? Of the $109k, $40k was for settlement of a breach of contract lawsuit from Schindler Elevator, parking lot paving, $10k for flowers, etc.  No one told the owners that the lawsuit settlement had been agreed to with 18 monthly payments and the burden of assessing the full $730 did not need to be collected in one payment.

As of Dec 2014, $40k remained unspent from this account.

The VLC meeting minutes from  Dec  3, 2014 include a vote to transfer the funds to roof cleaning, painting and elevator reserves.  Yes,  VLC needs to increase its reserves for painting and the elevators. As for the roof cleaning, we hope the tiles will remain secure.  But this is not the point, is it?  Does a Board need to operate within the Statutes, Bylaws, governing docs, etc or not?

The former CAM, Lucia Stiles from Sentry Management was listed as present and may or may not have advised the Board that Special Assessments are to be used for the SPECIFIC PURPOSES as explained to owners or returned or credited to “owners”; not moved to another project or reserve.

I asked one BOD member about this transfer and whether it was legal to do so and was advised that it was a good use of funds and that the Board has decided it will ignore me.  I was also advised that the Board would like it if Jim and I sold our unit (not happening in our natural lives and there are 7 kids, 2 spouses, one fiance’ and 2 grandchildren and the family continues to grow) behind us.

Another BOD member once described VLC as a “small community”.   Whether there are 150 units as we have or 1,500, the purpose of the governing statutes is to provide protection for all owners with guidelines that should be followed.   Board members are required to certify in writing that the have a working knowledge of the governing documents.  4 of the 5 present had served for almost one year, or more and should be familiar with the use of funds that are OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY. (opm)

The Board member whom I asked about this transfer did not see it as a problem. The response was that everything is going well financially, our reserves are growing, the prices are rising (economic recovery is a natural process after the 2008 crash) and I don’t care about Van Loon. ?????????  Um, we bought here in 2005 and as Jim often says, “we’ve seen ’em come and we’ll see ’em go”.   We cannot see how wanting the Association to operate in the open and under the governing documents which are equal to ALL owners, equates to not caring.

Jim and I do not attend social events here.  We formed many friendships throughout the area when we first began staying here in what was a ghost town in 2007 and 2008.  Each time we visit, our dance cards are full.  Not attending group dinners, coffees or outings does not equate to not caring.   Also, caring is a feeling and has nothing to do with adhering to statutes.

 

 

May 2014 to May 2015: Water Meters??

It has been one year since most of the water meter batteries were changed to return VLC to individual water and sewer billing.  (as we should have). Thousands have been paid to the contracted attorneys for their opinions and analysis of the Water Amendment passed in Dec 2010, many meetings conducted to ensure the “community” is okay with each paying their own.  Goodness knows we don’t want any owners upset that they have to pay for their own utilities!  (Which encourages water conservation also but not important-or is it? )

The letter dated May 1, 2014 from BOD President Rick Aliperti told us all they would be up and running soon!  Water_Meter_Change 2014 05 01

All of this should have been done in Oct 2013 but former BOD President canceled the scheduled and free repair, via an email that the maintenance man was too busy.  PS. She fired him a week later. She worked tirelessly to keep VLC from having individual meters and here we are, 19 months later and no metesr being used.  The former BOD President currently has her unit under contract for sale and we hope all goes well for her in her move.

In Jan 2015, a group at VLC took the time to go door to door and mail proxy votes to pass a new Water Amendment, which ended the debate over the “illegal” Dec 2010 amendment.   The amendment was signed by Mr. Aliperti on Jan 22, 2015 and filed with the County Clerk in March.

We were told in January that the meters would be operating by April 1 this year.  Then we received an update that it will be September due to faulty transmissions of readings to the data mining for billing.  We mailed a certified letter requesting information related to this (and other financial issues) to the new management company, including a copy of a current contract with a billing company and its terms and dates. We received a copy of a contract signed by Mr. Aliperti and United Utility Service (UUS) rep Victor Lucas.

This “contract” does not include any starting date or any dates at all. Only a Term of 12 months.  Now we are not lawyers but we think it is safe to say that it isn’t a valid, executed contract and only the same draft reviewed by the GAD attorney last year.

Our new CAM included a copy of an email from Rick Aliperti to BOD Treasurer, Pam Decraene, dated May 7th, 2015. The email stated the following:

“Currently Van Loon Commons is working with Master Meter and their authorized service provider to get all 150 meters functional. The Master Meter system that was sold to Van Loon continues to fail.  Once all 150 units are up and running a one to two month test billing cycle will be conducted to assure Van Loon does not have a repeat of the massive failures experienced in 2013. All owners will be informed of the official billing company and water billing program when all malfunctioning meters are fully operational.”

In Feb 2014,  I had a telephone conversation with Mr. Aliperti who asked if Master Meter was “the best in the business”. I explained that they were paid for, under warranty and yes, they are the best.  The phrase “sold to Van Loon continues to fail” seems to be taking us back to the lie that circulated (by former BOD Pres Kisner and pals) regarding our former property manager, and that he SOLD the meters to VLC and made a big kickback.

We are hoping that there isn’t a Master Plan to try and purchase new meters, using this story of the equipment not working.  See the May 1, 2014 email again from Mr. Aliperti, stating we have a 10 year warranty as of the battery change.  That doesn’t sound correct but whether it is 5 or 10 years, doesn’t matter.  Replacements are easily $400 each and we don’t need an additional expense.

Mr. Aliperti is a commissioned salesman and reports himself to be very successful at it.  The owners who regularly attend meetings like him (we guess) and many will believe anything he tells them.  We hope it isn’t going to be “now that we have a valid amendment, we are in violation by not having the meters operating and these are clearly not the Best in the Business, and cause massive failures therefore we MUST PURCHASE ALL NEW METERS to not be in violation”. Or something like that.

We will be staying on top of this.  In God We Trust, in Man/Woman, verify, verify, verify.

 

 

Home Page: September 16 2014 (Updated March 2015)

Home Page: 09 16 2014

Whether a current or prospective owner or interested to learn more regarding how Condo Associations and their boards function, this personal website may be able to provide information  giving insight to the Van Loon Commons board, or the difficulties of ownership due to elected boards. Jim and I contracted for our unit in mid 2005, closed in 2007, and until November 2013, watched the rotating “volunteer managers” from the sidelines.  After being shared ugly rumors spread by our past board president, regarding our property manager (who was terminated by her in Mar 13),  our water billing company (who was terminated by her in Nov 13),  impending increases to 2014 dues and a planned large Special Assessment; we were forced to get involved and seek the truth of our finances.  

The rumors reached the level of ridiculous and were accepted and spread by the inner clique, some we previously considered kind and intelligent persons, without question.  My career has been and continues to be in the field of investigation and seeking the facts and oral testimony began in Nov 2013.  Some mistakes were found to have been made but they were minor in comparison to the vicious gossip and lies stemming from personal vendettas, self-interests and possibly some mental/emotional issues.

Rumors that proved to be true were a Jan 2014 dues increase of nearly $200 per quarter and a Special Assessment  (SA) of $730 per unit by Feb 2014. Subsequent research disclosed that parking lot paving which was included as an SA, for 14.5k was already included in our General Ledger as previously reserved at $22.5k. 

The dues increase was a benefit to the past and current president, whose units are occupied full time and many in the clique; full timers with more than one person in their unit and in some cases, those who spend the Nov-April season with multiple occupants.  By spending thousands to argue an existing Water Amendment, passed in Dec 2010 was Illegal, FREE and UNLIMITED water and sewer (which is half of water usage) was now included in the dues increase of $47 per month.  Owners who use their condo infrequently as we do, for vacation purposes, now subsidize the board members and their families utilities, and are paying for the outrageous legal charges which exceed budget for the year by March.  

Sadly, getting involved and throwing our names in the ring for the election in Jan 2014 has led to defamation of my character, both in writing and through gossip,  As there are many owners whom we have never met, we understand why they would believe some or all from their good friends and hard working board members – to a point. Not everyone takes the time to look behind the curtain of Oz.  Since 2007, Van Loon has been our place to vacation, relax, and make the best of an underwater purchase.   Giving free reign for “inmates to run the asylum” is not going to happen and having paid $192k for our unit, we will not be selling anytime soon.

We will continue to work for improvement of communications (not just posting of meeting notices, information on the building) and finances for VLC.  Anyone who owns or is considering owning a condo in the State of Florida should familiarize themselves with Chapter 718, the governing documents, bylaws, Rules and Regulations and let board members know that open finances are a right, not a gift to be granted.  It is not asking for information that causes legal fees – the information is our right.  The attempt by BOD members to deny owners information, requiring certified letters to request, and paying $350 an hour for to issue denials is what causes legal fees.  It is a bully mentality and has been present for the past 2 years.

I have posted legal invoices through May 2014 with details, that we and others were forced to pay. On Labor Day weekend, we issued a request for the subsequent invoices through date in September we are required to travel to Sentry in Fort Myers to receive, to determine the dollar amount of the waste in the past 4 months.  

As a new association, we are still under development.  I have proposed several times to improve our communication process through an open website, and email process to those who wish to be included.  All owners deserve to be notified of meetings not matter where they are geographically, issues under discussion, contracting, problems. Posting 48 hour notices on the property only, is the minimum requirement included in statutes written long before electronic communications. We don’t need to update Florida statutes for the changes; we can improve this through upgrading of our by-laws. This has been proposed many times to the current board but not added to any agenda. A website owned by VLC would be continuous whereas posting documents to a management company site, is not.  More on this to come. 

The “Water Meter Scandal” as many refer to our ongoing situation of who pays for toilet flushes has brought us to the frontlines though other issues were found after entering. Please review the financial data as posted in the “Surplus or Underwater”…..this analysis was as of 3/31/14. An update for 5/30/14 is also posted which shows less of a deficit as of that date, due to some collections of back owed assessments from foreclosure or estate settled properties.  As the year progresses and new delinquencies occur, the number which is elastic will change.  Having had access to the finances  now denied to me, will require me to travel to the office of Sentry while on vacation instead of having them electronically.  For the May analysis, Ms. Lucia Stiles of Sentry required me to issue a certified letter of request and travel to Sentry. We chose to do so as the reports posted showing “surplus” are not actual cash positions and are misleading.

Most or all of us received in the last week of August, an additional bill for either unbilled water and sewer from 2013, or a back, re-allocation of fixed costs. This would constitute our 2nd SA in 2014, due to the mismanagment in 2013, which is not attributed to the “former property manager” as the mantra has been circulated.  The current BOD refers to it as a “Betterment Fee”. See post on “Fees, Dues, Special Assessments”

 Whether you bought originally for the higher prices or were fortunate enough to buy at the bargain basement prices from auction, foreclosure or short sale; increases in dues, “Special Assessments” and uncontrolled, unplanned spending by board members, creates deficits and debt which  destroys the value of our investments; not owners who trying to stop the madness. 

Jim and I keep very busy, are not professional website users, have never blogged before, nor had a reason to. We’d prefer not to now and if typos are present, you are free to be the proofreader. Our time is precious, I continue to work full time and have many family interests. The baby pictured below is the latest gift to our large family: Grandson Brody Michael, born June 3rd.  I would prefer to spend more time with family; the new baby, 8 month old “TEZ 3”,  our 7 kids, their spouses, fiance’, dogs, cats,  volunteer work with veterans, swimming, medical issues, etc.  There are many issues to address including the “Back Room” discussions and emails, and qualifications of the current board. We sincerely hope owners with backgrounds in accounting, finance, real estate, contract management, who understand that a Board of Directors is a team of decision makers, not trash room cleaners will step up and serve to restore some fiscal responsibility.  Suggestions for owners with those qualifications are welcome.

Brody 2014 7 25

 Jim and I do NOT want moreSpecial Assessment though it appears unavoidable based on our current status. Prior to my access to our mixed books ( Cash and Accrual Basis in same report – budgeted revenues minus some actual/some adjusted expenses) being deleted, we were under budget for building maintenance and cleaning line items. Is this a good thing. We do NOT want to pay for your toilet flushes nor have you pay ours.

VLC  should have a real website to post all meeting notices, board topics of interest, communications and video of all board meetings and solicit comments, suggestions, questions. It should also use a stand alone bookkeeping such as QuickBooks from which reports could be produced and posted monthly and changing of property managers would not be problematic. Bank accounts and books would remain constant.

I suggested in April, the establishment of a Finance Committee, including degreed or experienced owners with backgrounds as CPAs, accountants, or real estate.  Instead, we got a “Social Committee” , Paving and Water committees. There may be Fines Committees also but I was cut from the loop within one month of the election in Jan 14. Priorities need to be ordered and owners who understand finances are desperately needed. The budget must be passed in Nov 14, and the current position is clearly not understood by the board who is relying on the CAM.

(Requirements to achieve a CAM license are minimal: state website  about an 18 hour class and 100 question multiple choice test, and be over 18-not a finance background)

We hope that for 2015, a board will be elected with directors who understand and respect the state statutes, laws, governing documents and support with actions, not words, sharing financial information as we deserve.  The current president, Rick Aliperti, in our opinion after 6 months of observation; speaks with “forked tongue”. “Call me and I’ll explain!”.  Publicly, he professes to want to have “Open and Honest” communications, listen to owner’s questions and concerns… behind the scenes he was a different person.  

2014_03_27_Input_of_150_and_Million_dollar_resign .

No Mr. Aliperti, we don’t think we own a million dollar condo but it is our investment, our money, our “million dollars” relatively and a large investment, or home for many others. Whether we paid $500 or $500,000, we don’t want mismanagement of our funds, increased costs and you have not demonstrated any financial knowledge or understanding of the governing documents. You have continued to run the legal bills up along with the other BOD members.  Since the meters have been fixed (though not being used) it appears it would be time to resign, right?

 Once elected, board members have alot of power to affect our investment and determine hire the property manager. At VLC, since April 2013, we have had a property management company who assigns the manager; no reviews of their individual backgrounds or qualifications and for those who have had condo issues and called, find that they are not hands-on. Our former manager was not popular with many owners but was present frequently and when an issue from billing or late fees was to be disputed, handled it one to one. Not “call the Longwood corporate office”.  It is more important to have a hands-on property manager and board members who understand that they are representatives only; not kings and queens who make the rules but don’t have to follow themselves.  (ex: One dog rule – what board member has 2 and likes to issue violations to other owners?)

A prospective buyer visited the pool in May 2014 and remarked about the turnoff from the web posted 2013 Rules and Regulations. We agreed and many others have also. To read them is to think VLC is a police state, which in some ways it has turned into.

The below picture is a violation of the current rules regarding floats and no food or beverages at the pool, even on the deck. (See the crowd?) The pool is 5 feet at its deepest, Jim (the model) can swim and I used to be a lifeguard.  We respect others as much as possible as all should and intend to continuing enjoying our pool and property as we have for the past 7 years.  We won’t have two pets though. 🙂

From Phone 2014 05 26 160

Home Page from 9/16 2014: Updated to To buy or not to buy

Home Page 2014 09 16

Whether a current or prospective owner or interested to learn more regarding how Condo Associations and their boards function, this personal website may be able to provide information  giving insight to the Van Loon Commons board, or the difficulties of ownership due to elected boards. Jim and I contracted for our unit in mid 2005, closed in 2007, and until November 2013, watched the rotating “volunteer managers” from the sidelines.  After being shared ugly rumors spread by our past board president, regarding our property manager (who was terminated by her in Mar 13),  our water billing company (who was terminated by her in Nov 13),  impending increases to 2014 dues and a planned large Special Assessment; we were forced to get involved and seek the truth of our finances.  

The rumors reached the level of ridiculous and were accepted and spread by the inner clique, some we previously considered kind and intelligent persons, without question.  My career has been and continues to be in the field of investigation and seeking the facts and oral testimony began in Nov 2013.  Some mistakes were found to have been made but they were minor in comparison to the vicious gossip and lies stemming from personal vendettas, self-interests and possibly some mental/emotional issues.

Rumors that proved to be true were a Jan 2014 dues increase of nearly $200 per quarter and a Special Assessment  (SA) of $730 per unit by Feb 2014. Subsequent research disclosed that parking lot paving which was included as an SA, for 14.5k was already included in our General Ledger as previously reserved at $22.5k. 

The dues increase was a benefit to the past and current president, whose units are occupied full time and many in the clique; full timers with more than one person in their unit and in some cases, those who spend the Nov-April season with multiple occupants.  By spending thousands to argue an existing Water Amendment, passed in Dec 2010 was Illegal, FREE and UNLIMITED water and sewer (which is half of water usage) was now included in the dues increase of $47 per month.  Owners who use their condo infrequently as we do, for vacation purposes, now subsidize the board members and their families utilities, and are paying for the outrageous legal charges which exceed budget for the year by March.  

Sadly, getting involved and throwing our names in the ring for the election in Jan 2014 has led to defamation of my character, both in writing and through gossip,  As there are many owners whom we have never met, we understand why they would believe some or all from their good friends and hard working board members – to a point. Not everyone takes the time to look behind the curtain of Oz.  Since 2007, Van Loon has been our place to vacation, relax, and make the best of an underwater purchase.   Giving free reign for “inmates to run the asylum” is not going to happen and having paid $192k for our unit, we will not be selling anytime soon.

We will continue to work for improvement of communications (not just posting of meeting notices, information on the building) and finances for VLC.  Anyone who owns or is considering owning a condo in the State of Florida should familiarize themselves with Chapter 718, the governing documents, bylaws, Rules and Regulations and let board members know that open finances are a right, not a gift to be granted.  It is not asking for information that causes legal fees – the information is our right.  The attempt by BOD members to deny owners information, requiring certified letters to request, and paying $350 an hour for to issue denials is what causes legal fees.  It is a bully mentality and has been present for the past 2 years.

I have posted legal invoices through May 2014 with details, that we and others were forced to pay. On Labor Day weekend, we issued a request for the subsequent invoices through date in September we are required to travel to Sentry in Fort Myers to receive, to determine the dollar amount of the waste in the past 4 months.  

As a new association, we are still under development.  I have proposed several times to improve our communication process through an open website, and email process to those who wish to be included.  All owners deserve to be notified of meetings not matter where they are geographically, issues under discussion, contracting, problems. Posting 48 hour notices on the property only, is the minimum requirement included in statutes written long before electronic communications. We don’t need to update Florida statutes for the changes; we can improve this through upgrading of our by-laws. This has been proposed many times to the current board but not added to any agenda. A website owned by VLC would be continuous whereas posting documents to a management company site, is not.  More on this to come. 

The “Water Meter Scandal” as many refer to our ongoing situation of who pays for toilet flushes has brought us to the frontlines though other issues were found after entering. Please review the financial data as posted in the “Surplus or Underwater”…..this analysis was as of 3/31/14. An update for 5/30/14 is also posted which shows less of a deficit as of that date, due to some collections of back owed assessments from foreclosure or estate settled properties.  As the year progresses and new delinquencies occur, the number which is elastic will change.  Having had access to the finances  now denied to me, will require me to travel to the office of Sentry while on vacation instead of having them electronically.  For the May analysis, Ms. Lucia Stiles of Sentry required me to issue a certified letter of request and travel to Sentry. We chose to do so as the reports posted showing “surplus” are not actual cash positions and are misleading.

Most or all of us received in the last week of August, an additional bill for either unbilled water and sewer from 2013, or a back, re-allocation of fixed costs. This would constitute our 2nd SA in 2014, due to the mismanagment in 2013, which is not attributed to the “former property manager” as the mantra has been circulated.  The current BOD refers to it as a “Betterment Fee”. See post on “Fees, Dues, Special Assessments”

 

Whether you bought originally for the higher prices or were fortunate enough to buy at the bargain basement prices from auction, foreclosure or short sale; increases in dues, “Special Assessments” a

No don’t let any of your minds go in to the gutters…. not “did it” did it.  “It” is  getting the Water Amendment passed with the support of the Community!  As he stated in early 2014 meetings; this was a delicate situation (paying for your own utilities?) and it had to be handled carefully.  As with all situations, there will be some who will not be happy and would have preferred to have shared water and sewer expenses; too bad for them. Majority rules in condos. (tongue-in-cheek as often is)

We have been informed that the board, with the assistance of some family members and friends, passed for the 2nd time an amendment for individual submeters. This time of course, it is LEGAL!

Someday , in the not so distant future, we will actually pay for only the water and sewer fees for that which actually use! Until then, wash, wash, till you smell like a dimestore clerk in the fragrance section. May your clothes gleam and your floors be like skating rinks and your skin should be wrinkled from long hot baths!

Break out the Cristal champagne and shake it all over Deboest and Himschoot for that fine legal guidance and keeping the billing under $20,000 to get us back where we already were, over one year ago.

Now that it has been decided (AGAIN) that we have a sub-metering Water Amendment, maybe Van Loon can get 50 % off for the same partner from Deboest and Himschoot’s firm who prepared the first one, Diane Burnside, to prepare the 2nd?  It would be like a boiler plate this time, right? Another $2,000, $1,500? who can guess?

I am sure the cracker-jackers will first need to verify the signatures with the same devotion to detail they used when they signed off on the signatures for recalling (firing-throwing off-however you care to phrase it) me from the board and charged at least 4 hours (for 2 separate persons) to do so. Of the over 80 signatures verified, at least one had died one month prior (Thompson) , one moved one month prior (Perino) , one was in collections (no need to name) , and that was off the top of my head.  Sloppy, or didn’t really go through them all? The “certification” states they were.  Maybe the BOD should do this task themselves, with volunteer owners as witnesses, and save a few dollars since they have WASTED so many with this farce.

It  has now been almost two years since the meters began to fail; 15 months since it began to be exposed. Let’s see how long it will take to be corrected and put in place.  Hopefully, not another year. 

 

 

January 2015: Happy New Year! ?????

So what is going on this week?  7 condos were for sale between 125 and 139k; that is somewhat good news, except that some are selling due to the increase in dues. 34% in 2 years is too much.  In these economic times, condo associations have had to hold the line.  On that note, creative accounting can help, right?   We have had quite an issue over should owners have to pay only for their own water and sewer charges or should it just be averaged out, no matter how little time you spend in your condo?

Well, according to the Revenue and Expense reports prepared by our property manager, it shouldn’t matter! We are so far under budget for water/sewer as of November 2014, we should be more worried that no one is showering or washing their clothing!

I have added Sept and Nov in case you don’t have them or know how to log on to the Sentry Management portal.  Look to Page 3, under Utilities.  See the YTD for Year to Date on Nov, which show the Water/Sewer expense at 46,760. The budgeted amount as of 11/30 is 78,833.  We are under as of that date by 32,072!  That is 40% savings!  So who cares about the amendment! Right?  Hmmm..    Ms. Stiles explained it once that it was Accrual. As an accountant, I know what Accrual is and this is not it.      It does give the appearance of a Surplus though. I added the September as I found the monthly entry to the Water/Sewer; not a payment amount for the month but a negative amount that appears to be 2 months, interesting.   Remember, we just gave the management company a 13% raise to. I asked a board member why?  I was told because that is what Sentry asked for.  Hmmm.  I am going to try that at work tomorrow.

2014 Nov Van Loon               2014 Sept Van Loon

Oh, for the record………we sent in our proxy with our signature but we still state that the 2010 amendment is and was valid.  To continue using the same attorneys as the reason is and was tiresome.  We understand that owners are working tirelessly to obtain enough signatures to meet 73.   They are going with the half plus one, of those not in default (new rule since Feb 2014).   In June, attorney Richard Deboest said no one showed him that the rights to vote had been taken from the 60 foreclosed units in 2010 when our existing amendment was voted on, and those units not counted.      Because maybe that rule was only voted on in Feb 2014 after being suggested by either the property manager or your associate,  and was NOT in any part of our governing docs AND the bank owned units had to FILE for the right to vote…….I digress and (should! ) give up for tonite.    We have a valid amendment but who cares?  Look how little we are paying!! Haha.

 

December 2014

We returned home today from a week’s visit to our condo and received the multi-page package announcing the new and continuing board members. It is tough to be away from the future owners as you can see below:

2014 12 19 1622014 12 19 1682014 12 19 173

Having had the opportunity to speak with incoming board member, Mr. Bob Barnett, at length on one occasion, we believe he will bring experience, sensibility and knowledge needed to guide the team.

The day of our last departure, November 12th was a bit disturbing as at  we needed to leave for the airport by 5pm, a time at which the parking lot remained closed for repairs to the seal-coating performed initially in April.  At 5 pm we were told we could not return our car to its spot. Many other owners were stuck outside the gate, trying to return from work or simply return. The posted notice stated it would re-open around 1 or 1:30 that day.

When we arrived last week, there was another notice stuck in the crack of doors regarding another repair scheduled for November 19th.

2014 12 19 233It was slightly amusing as the company selected for the work was STRONGLY endorsed by the CAM at the February meeting, who stated they were excellent and she had worked with them before.  We were not told when or if it were when she was with Sentry, since she had been hired only in October 2013.  Our suggestion was to ask for a similar project in the area and do a reference check or a drive-by look.   The board voted to approve the company following the CAM endorsement and after the vote, an owner and  member of the “paving committee” attempted to speak about the company selected, with reservations. The owner was advised that the vote had been taken and no more discussion would be held on the matter.   As this owner is reported to have years of experience in the paving business, his opinions may have prevented the repeat repair work.  Another owner had told us that you don’t schedule the job in the rainy season. Oh well…………

Below is a picture of the lot in front of our building, taken this week:

2014 12 19 221Not the best resolution, but you get the picture.   Another amusing sign that has been posted in the clubhouse for the past month is below:

2014 12 19 201 We were trying to find the “wet suites” but could not locate them.  :).  Spell check can only do so much.

 

 

 

November 2014 Updates: Meetings Posted on VLC Bulletin Boards for December

Greetings to all;

Thank you to the owner who forwarded to us the notices of the scheduled meetings for December; a Board meeting for 12/3/14 with topics of returning funds to the Reserve accounts from the Special Assessment funds. We aren’t clear how Reserve Funds can be used for operating expenses without a vote at an owner meeting, or how there can be a Special Assessment and then the funds replace Reserves but would like to find out. It appears a vote will now be taken, post bililng, for the back-meter billing fairness 2013, based on “fairness” after the fact.

Also a 12/10/14 meeting of a “Submeter Workshop” with Victor Lucas of UUS Water Billing Co to speak.  We seem to recollect workshops and speakers already having taken place, and yet still no metered water.  Surely other owners would appreciate knowing when meetings are scheduled; not only those at VLC.2014 12 09 Submeter Workshop2014 12 03 BOD Meeting

Jim and I had the pleasure of visiting from 11/5 through 11/12 and found that on the first day there, the pool was closed.  We were not aware of any pool closure and did our first day errands; grocery store, etc. When we finished, we headed to the pool and found the closed signs. Had we known in advance, we would have planned to go to the beach instead. (WEBSITE NEEDED FOR VAN LOON).  We made the best of it anyway and Jim had two kind-hearted women, separately, warn him that something might fall off of him from the cleaning chemicals. He faced his fears and enjoyed the cooling water and his Coors Lite.

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We also noted the flyer posted on the bulletin boards for the parking lot closure on 11/12 from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. Why was the lot scheduled to be closed?  Hmmm, because the company contracted did not complete the work in April to the specifications stated?   It was the CAM, Ms. Stiles who recommended the contractor and at the end of the meeting, an owner who had been in the business advised against using them. I suggested that we request references for similar large projects but was rebuked by Mr. Aliperti for being negative.  When the job was scheduled in April, it was immediately apparant that the work was not done to the expectations.

When we arrived in November, a bulletin board notice advised that the entire lot was to be closed for half a day on 11/12. We had some of our family leaving for the airport early on 11/12 and left our classic Lincoln and rental car outside the gate.  The rest of our group was leaving at 5pm for the airport on 11/12 and we were informed that we could not return our car to the carport. SMH as they say in Texting.  (Shaking my head)    All around the gate were cars waiting to return from work, pick up people and not happy. Can I say “I told ya so”?

We also noticed that a couple of the BOD members were doing lawn maintenance on Saturday. This can be seen two ways: nice to help out or not what condo purchases are about. If we don’t rake or spread mulch, we don’t care?  We think, if someone wants to do yardwork, they buy a single family home as we have in New Jersey. If it makes them happy, that is great but owners who think dues should pay for landscaping should not be looked at as less interested, should they?

We have all received our $320 increase for 2015 and I am sure some think it is okay. Others realize that our dues have increased from $3,272 in 2013 to $4,380 in 2015.  34% increase? That is not including the Special Assessment in 2014 of $730, or the “fairness tax” which is to help cover the serious deficit caused by the inaction of the 2013 BOD President to fix our meters (and to beat the dead horse – Board Only!).    But we do have FREE WATER!  I must say that when we had 5 family members staying with us for a few days in November, and constant showers, we were thankful!  If only we could get the Electric to be in the dues, we would invite them all the time! Hahaha.