11/18/20 BOD MEETING: SYNOPSIS AND COMMENTARY BY VICKI ROBERTS WITH ASSISTANCE FROM ARTHUR ANDELSON
Posted November 22, 2020. Your Editor provides the following synopsis of the November 18, 2020 Board meeting, with assistance from your Roving Reporter, and with commentary indicated in bold blue.
Editor’s Opening Monologue:
This edition is entitled, “Money Makes The World Go Round”
Who could forget Joel Grey in the iconic 1972 film Cabaret, singing “Money Makes The World Go Round, the World Go Round, the World Go Round…”
This monologue is lovingly dedicated to your money: who’s grabbing it and who’s using it.
On Monday, November 9, 2020, we sent the following email to the Board and to the Chairpersons of both the Budget Committee and the Rules & Regs Committee:
“Dear Board Members, Jeff D. Green, Budget Chair, and Joyce Winston, Rules & Regs Chair:
At the Board meetings of April 1, 2020 and October 21, 2020, President Marion Weil admitted to having the monthly use of $1,000 in HOA funds, presumably for discretionary expenditures, without a Board vote or notice to anyone. This is a total of $12,000 every year.
We don’t understand why the president would have $1,000 per month to use at her discretion because any financial decisions must be made and approved by the Board. Deborah’s authorization is appropriate because as the Property Manager she is running the place and may need to pay bills on time for small emergencies and small items, and she should not have to wait for every board meeting.
No board member should be making decisions on his or her own, which Marion’s comments clearly suggest. It also creates a situation where everyone will run to Marion with their requests up to $1,000 as opposed to making requests to the Board. This sets a very bad precedent, and we would like to know when, where, and how this policy was authorized and what rule or regulation provides for it, as we could find none.
For example, with this policy, you may have the tennis club approach Marion quietly to get something, such as the fans, which are less than $1,000. Perhaps the pickleball club will seek something for their purposes. Any of the clubs would be incentivized to speak with Marion privately about an expenditure to the exclusion of others, to the exclusion of other Board members, and without the knowledge of the community. One can extrapolate how dangerous this is.
This also creates a situation where other people who may want to run for the Board are disadvantaged because of the various self-interests of individuals or groups who are taking advantage of this apparent quirk.
Another reason this is a bad policy is that under the current scenario, Deborah could go to Marion and say, I need another thousand bucks for something, and Marion could ok it without anyone knowing about it, and suddenly Deborah’s limit has become de facto $2,000.
Regardless of whether or not this is a new or old policy, it needs to immediately be stopped unless you can point to a specific rule or regulation that provides for this monthly allowance. Our By-Laws, page 3-10, Section VIII, Officers and Their Duties, Section G, subsection 1 clearly states that the President conducts meetings, sees that orders and resolutions are carried out, and signs legal documents and promissory notes. That is the extent of the President's duties. They are LIMITED. There is NO authority to have $1,000 a month to spend at the president's discretion.
An item should be added to the Agenda on this matter forthwith so that this apparently unauthorized money grab of $12,000 per year can immediately stop. The HOA members have a right to know how their money is being spent in a transparent and open manner, with proper notice to the members of the HOA. It is long past the time for this financial issue to be addressed and remedied.
Also added to the Agenda should be an item requiring an accounting from Marion as to exactly what she spent her $1,000 per month of HOA money on since she assumed the reins of the presidency, and an identification as to where these expenditures are itemized in the HOA’s budget.
Please advise as soon as possible.
Vicki and Arthur”
We received an acknowledgement of our email from president Marion Weil but no substantive response from the Board.
Three days earlier, on Friday, November 6, 2020, we learned through the office manager and pursuant to our written request that a total of $6,052.35 was spent in 2019 and 2020 in HOA legal fees used against your Editor and Roving Reporter specifically to try and stifle us and our reports, which of course was a fool’s errand from its inception.
Was that done with the $1,000 per month secret slush fund of HOA money that Marion as president apparently gets to use at her discretion without any notice to the community or any Board vote? Is that how she used, in part, her $12,000 per year of HOA money that she believes she is entitled to use at her sole discretion? Where is her accounting? Where are the checks and balances? Where is the rule or regulation that permits this? We could find none. It is time for each and every Board member to step up and address this serious issue.
In our opinion, these expenditures were a total waste of your money and completely fiscally irresponsible. Who authorized that? We ask because there was never any Board vote to do so and there was no notice to the community with regard to those expenditures.
A likely scenario is that Marion contacted the lawyer to go after us on her own, or perhaps in conjunction with one or more other Board members loyal to her, and the lawyer followed said instructions. She and they knew it would generate invoices from the law firm and that those invoices would be paid. In this likely scenario, this was a de facto use of Marion’s illegal discretionary fund. The HOA lawyer then billed the HOA for his work on pursuing your Editor and your Roving Reporter and invoiced the HOA, which the HOA paid.
At the November 18, 2020 Board meeting, Marion addressed her alleged discretionary slush fund in her Opening Remarks and stated that while she does have this $1,000 within her purview, she has never tapped into it. This statement that Marion claims to have this monthly $1,000 at her beck and call is what we call in the legal field “an admission against interest.” It is entirely improper for Marion to behave as if she has the right to these moneys because there is nothing in the governing documents that permits or grants such a privilege or a right.
Marion’s purported decision to repeatedly hire the HOA’s lawyer to go after us was, in our opinion, a de facto use of this illegal discretionary fund. On what other basis could it have been done, inasmuch as there was never any Board meeting or public Board vote as required by the open meeting laws? Remember, this is not a “personnel” matter that can be discussed privately; we are residents and members of the HOA, not staff or employees. The entire community had a right to know and a right to comment upon this expenditure, just like any other expenditure that is listed on Board meeting Agendas.
If indeed there is no rule or regulation concerning this $1,000 per month, and this is just an “unwritten policy” that was made up and put in place years ago, which anecdotally appears to be the case, it needs to stop right now. It is improper, illegal, and a complete usurpation of the processes enshrined in the Florida statutes and our governing documents with respect to budgets, expenditures, and required notices to the community for expenditures above and beyond Deborah’s monthly discretionary amount.
It bears repeating: our By-Laws, page 3-10, Section VIII, Officers and Their Duties, Section G, subsection 1 clearly states that the President conducts meetings, sees that orders and resolutions are carried out, and signs legal documents and promissory notes. That is the extent of the President's duties. They are LIMITED. There is NO authority to have $1,000 a month to spend at the president's discretion, so this $1,000 per month is actually contrary to the HOA’s governing documents because it adds powers and authorities to the presidency specifically not granted by the controlling documents or the Florida statutes.
The HOA’s governing documents specifically spell out the powers, rights, and authorities of the president. Getting $1,000 per month to spend without notice and without a Board vote is not only beyond that which is granted by the governing documents, but it actually violates the open meeting laws and the laws requiring Board votes in public for Board expenditures.
So, we ask, with regard to your hard-earned money: who’s grabbing it, who’s using it, under what authority, and why is it allowed to continue?
An item should be added to the Agenda on this matter forthwith so that this apparently unauthorized and totally improper ability to execute a money grab of $12,000 per year, which to us is an abuse of power, can immediately stop. The HOA members have a right to know how their money is being spent in a transparent and open manner, with proper notice to the members of the HOA. It is long past the time for this financial issue to be addressed and remedied.
Also added to the Agenda should be an item requiring an accounting from Marion as to exactly what she allegedly spent her $1,000 per month of your money on since she assumed the reins of the presidency and an identification as to where these alleged expenditures are itemized in the HOA’s budget.
If her answer is zero, as it appears to be, keep in mind that upon information and belief, Marion frivolously and maliciously sicced the HOA lawyers on your Editor and your Roving Reporter with your money, without notice to anyone except perhaps one or two other Board members, without a Board vote, and in our view, in violation of the open meeting laws. She therefore spent $6,052.35 of your money based on an erroneous belief that she has a total of $12,000 per year of it to use at her discretion. Accordingly, that leaves her $5,947.65 to do it again.
These items are not on the Agenda. And with that, the monologue is over.
Board Meeting: Audio and Video Up and Running; Zoom meeting online starts at 7:02pm.
Board Members Present: Marion Weil (President), Richard Greene (Treasurer), Linda Arbeit (Secretary), Harvey Ginsberg, Eileen Olitsky, and Sue Schmer.
[Editor’s note: Mark Goodman resigned; he is no longer a Board member. He was present at the Board meeting as a resident/member along with about 80 others.
Now, what to do with the empty seat at the table? Elections are not too far away. If the Board appoints a replacement, and that person runs for re-election, that person will be an unelected incumbent who will likely have an advantage over other residents who choose to be candidates. There is no reason to give a resident such an advantage.
The argument for filling the seat is that the seventh Board member would theoretically break a tie. If your motion is so unpopular that you cannot get a majority to vote with you, then perhaps your motion is not well taken or your colleagues are not on the same page as you. Either way, there is no downside to leaving the seat vacant and clearly an upside for the unelected appointee.
The Board is not required to fill the seat. Leave it be. The only thing to fill is the officer position of Vice-President from the remaining Board members. We recommend Eileen or Sue. In fact, one of those ladies should become the President and the other should become the Vice-President immediately.]
Call to Order: Marion Weil.
[Editor’s note: Marion is the current HOA president; tick, tick, tick…]
Pledge of Allegiance led by Eileen. [Editor’s note: Eileen had a flag; all Board members stood.]
Marion Weil’s Opening Remarks and Announcements:
[Editor’s note: Marion informed the community that Mark Goodman resigned as a Board member. She also informed the community that she has not used any of her claimed $1,000 per month allotment. Note that this allotment is a made-up policy: it does not exist in any of the HOA’s governing documents or any statute. It appeared out of thin air and that’s where it needs to disappear into.]
This is a relatively new feature of the synopses and commentaries that we will have as warranted and so that your voices can be heard and preserved. A resident contacted us on November 10, 2020 about the appearance and condition of the community. Phil Kennedy’s comments are as follows:
“So many residents in Cascade Lakes complain about how our community looking run down. It all starts with the roads when entering our community. Its [sic]so obvious! The landscape committee has tried to make the entrance to the pods more attractive but used perinial [sic] plants that are not as attractive as the annual flowers. Why? What happened to our suggestions from the long range planning committee which were signage that is old, beat up mailboxes and the sealing of the road which has not been done in nine years.. Still empty pots at the exit of our community. What about the empty pots next to the pickle ball courts? Doesn't anyone care?”
We have a dedicated page on the News Site called Road Resealing under our HOA Issues page for more details on road resealing. In a nutshell, this seems to be a fairly simple and relatively inexpensive “fix” which would greatly enhance the look of the entire community. For that reason, we endorse it.
So concludes our second edition of our new feature, Residents’ Corner. Any resident who believes they have a relevant story to report, a rebuttal to a story, or a relevant comment is always welcome to contact your Editor and Roving Reporter to schedule an interview and/or to submit a comment. Publication is strictly at the discretion of the Editor.
And now on to the First Residents’ Input Session.]
First Residents’ Input Session:
1. Joyce Winston: why such a huge difference between the prices of the roof replacement? Is the roof project manager from the company or a separate person? Marion: will be discussed at that item. The project manager is not from the roof replacement company. Joyce: north and south fences, I am hoping the contract was cancelled even if we have to lose our deposit. Number four, ramp, where? Marion: by the utility building.
2. Ray Schechtel: community vote on mailboxes, etc., I think that we may inadvertently disenfranchising some of our residents. The last couple of weeks, emails from the property manager requesting a voting certificate. That’s only for those people who want to designate and individual to vote. Marion: you are correct, when we certify it, we have to be sure the voter is a homeowner.
Ray: I believe the form should be changed…only a designated person is allowed to vote. If there’s a husband and wife, and one wants to be the voting party, they may not remember; you may find the wrong person indicated. I would suggest the voting certificate be changed, put a line in there, either/or are designated.
Second question: redoing the budget, you’re going to cancel your vote? Marion: to allow the residents to have input. Ray: vote already cast in stone? Marion: no, it is not. Ray: you’ll have to cancel your original vote and revote. Marion: we’ll see how it works out. Ray: you’re not answering my question.
[Editor’s note: what else is new?]
Marion: you don’t like the answer.
[Editor’s note: no, he is correct, you did not answer his question; perhaps you don’t like the question.]
Ray: if you vote, you have to cancel.
[Editor’s note: the man is correct.]
Marion: resident input, then discussion.
3. Barry Gordon: everyone should give a big round of applause for Mark [Goodman], he worked very hard on the Board for six years. I’m sorry to hear he went but I understand why.
4. Jerry Dinerman:
“I have two topics I’d like to discuss. At the previous budget meeting, a motion was made that was not on the agenda. This motion was made to Increase the maintenance fee by $100 per year. The community was not aware that this was going to be discussed. It was not on the agenda. This is a major change which suddenly appeared without any prior notice. Moreover, this should have been on the agenda and resident input should have been allowed.
This increase of $100 a year creates an undesignated slush fund of $60,000. This is more than is required for a community vote for any single expenditure. I feel that the budget meeting with appropriate agenda should be re-established once again, and the community be allowed to have resident’s input. I would like to see this discussed today.
My second point is this: Three years ago, I was extremely upset that the hurricane windows for the clubhouse were voted on by the Board without a resident input and vote. The cost was greater than one percent of the annual budget and therefore should have gone to a community vote. However, it appears that the Board decided to use Reserve funds and because there was no community vote, it was inappropriate. For those reasons, I ran for and was elected to the Board to make sure this never happened again.
Now this Board is taking the same type of action concerning the installation of fencing along Cascade Lakes Blvd. At the last meeting, one of the Board members stated, “We can break it down so it will be under the one percent rule and not need a community vote." The Board must stop circumventing our documents and follow the requirements. I, and many residents, are totally against this project being handled this way, or any project handled this way. If the rules require a community vote, then have a community vote. Thank you!”
5. Jeffrey D. Green:
“I was glad to see that the agenda item for mailboxes and hard court pickleball is finally going to a vote of the community.
Fiscal responsibility of the Board is to act in an impartial manner and not have their own agendas.
At the budget meeting with the Budget Committee, Board members were asked if they had any changes to the proposed budget. No one spoke up. You all know what happened after that: another $100 a year with no explanation.
The Budget Committee put $30,000 into the capital improvement account for any small capital improvement that would be deemed necessary. Last year there was $0 money in the account.
By adding $100 a home or $60,000 a year, any project over 1% of the budget would require a vote of the community. If that vote failed, you would have taken additional funds from residents that would not be spent. That as I said before would be putting the cart before the horse.
If any one of you has a project that you want to use money from the capital improvement account, pony up now and bring it up now so the Board and residents can discuss it and if a majority of the Board is in favor of it, then and only then add it to the budget, but if it exceeds 1% of the budget and it has to be voted on by the community, until it is approved by the community it is not fiscally responsible to add it to the maintenance at this time.
I am asking as both a resident and Chairperson of the Budget Committee to leave the budget as we proposed at next week’s meeting.
And in closing today, I was urged by some residents to look at the message board regarding new mailboxes and I only saw one post that was for spending over close to $300 a house for them. This cost does not I believe include sod, or labor to replace the sod taken out when the posts are removed. All projects should include all costs associated with them when presented to the community. If you agree with me, click your Chat button and click off ten seconds later as everyone can see how many want to chat. No need for people to speak.”
6. Judie Delman: the pickleball courts, when did you come up with making them permanent? Marion: on the agenda, possible vote for 2021. Judie: are the residents aware how expensive it will be? Marion: the full costs will be… [disclosed]… Judie: budget sheets said $1,650. Marion: yes, that’s what the Board voted on; letting the residents have their say. Judie: apt to change? Marion: that’s up to the Board.
7. Mike Deckinger: walkway pavers or poured concrete- select poured concrete. Pavers should not be an option. Major ingress and egress for that area, tennis equipment. Pavers are a tripping hazard. Thank you for the time.
8. Leonard Tannen: the last Board meeting – fencing – did anyone approach the vendor to see if the contract could be delayed, canceled? Marion: no. Leonard: is there some reason? Marion: you’ll see when we get to that item. [Editor’s note: yet another deflection.]
9. Diane Rogovin: #1, I agree with Jeffrey Green with regard to the budget, mailboxes. #2, statement probably at the wrong time, three queen palms removed from my home, we paid. Yesterday I received a letter from Palm Beach Broward that one of the stumps was not removed, the stump which I paid to remove that tree. I’m a little tired of things not being on the agenda that are serious. Marion: we’ll look into it…and get back to you. Diane: my lawn is nothing but weeds. I’m tired of their junk around, workmen leaving things…I will hold you to that…sorry to see Mark go. News & Views – it is important to have a liaison to the Board.
Approval of Minutes: November 4, 2020 – Budget meeting: Lind Arbeit: Motion to approve the Minutes of November 4, 2020 budget meeting. Second: Eileen. Marion: all those in favor? Unanimous. November 4, 2020 – regular meeting: Linda: motion to approve. Second: Harvey. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
Treasurer’s Report: Richard Greene.
[Editor’s note: the report was emailed to all residents and is self-explanatory.]
Marion: all in favor? Unanimous. Board member, possibly Eileen: there was no motion made. Motion: Harvey. Second: Eileen. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
Property Manager’s Report: Deborah Balka: final mow 23 – 24[of the month, November 23-24] …happy thanksgiving to all…
Linda: question: any way we can find out if somebody did come down with COVID?... Trace? … Deborah: I have not been told by anyone except for one and everybody knew about that one before me. I’ve heard rumors, but not from the source.
Facilities: [Editor’s note: Eileen read the report from Phyllis Martin-Hirsch.]
Facilities Committee Report
November 18, 2020
Replacement Benches: committee has narrowed down to three styles from three different vendors. We will narrow it down and make a recommendation to the Board sometime next week. Need to clarify with the Board the final decision on two benches and one trash can, or three benches.
Community Signage: the committee has met with vendor Sign A Rama. The vendor has submitted initial renderings and cost options. After review, the committee has opted to make several changes and has asked the vendor to submit further options as directed by the committee. At present, the committee is waiting for additional renderings in a different color palette and style, along with any price alteration. After review of the new material the committee will vote on whether or not to make a recommendation to the Board.
Road Resurfacing: a sub-committee is in the process of being formed to oversee this project. Those members selected have expertise in the field and will submit a plan with specifications regarding all aspects of this project. This sub-committee will oversee the project and work with vendors.
Mailboxes: previously approved by the Board, subject to community vote. Vendor previously selected.
Pickleball resurfacing: reviewing vendor submissions. Subject to recommendation of Facilities committee, approval by the Board and community vote.
Facilities is happy to work with all other committees beautification of our community.
[Editor’s note: as always, and again, we thank the Facilities Chairwoman, Phyllis Martin-Hirsch, for providing the entire report for this News Site so that the entire community can read it and absorb it at their leisure.]
Engineering: Larry Jacobowitz: consultant for the new roof, recommend Campbell [Richard Campbell], president of the Roofing Association of Palm Beach County. He highly recommended Latite as the company to do the work… [middle section of his report missed] … pool area, surges hit our motors… cost of electricity increased drastically because it’s a start up…
Marion: surge protection, FPL had no answer to us Larry: we have two quotes on it… Arnie Green: tomorrow I have an appointment with Tom Cuccinato [the pool vendor] to look at another location where he had it installed… FPL …should be responsible to give a smooth voltage to us…
Audit: Jeffrey D. Green: will be having a meeting November 23, will discuss review of the bills and all our documents, fiscal ramifications, and make any recommendations. Richard is the liaison…will send agenda to Linda for the Minutes.
[Editor’s note: the following items are not on the Agenda but most certainly should be:
A. Rescission of the improper banning of Alex from the community: Still not on the Agenda is a vote to rescind the banning of Alex, the former handyman, from the community.
Notwithstanding the fact that said ban is still the rule of the community, apparently, he is being allowed back in without restrictions (see our story in the November 4, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary entitledFalse Pretenses and Go Ask Alex, The Sequel). This, in our opinion, is no way to run an organization, where some elite few are aware of the Board allowing Alex inside the gates and some are not; does that sound fair and transparent to you?
B. Correction of March 18, 2020 HOA Minutes: these Minutes are inherently incorrect. The Minutes state that the fence price for the north and south side of Cascade Lakes Blvd. at Military Trail is an amount that includes the pedestrian gates and then they state that the gates are not included. Both cannot be true. The Minutes need to be corrected to accurately reflect the proper amount and what was included therein. A motion to correct and amend the Minutes should be made.]
C. Rescission of the unwritten policy giving the president $1,000/month to use at his/her discretion: see Editor’s Opening Monologue above. This is completely improper; it is not found anywhere in the governing documents and the Board needs to put the kibosh on this immediately.
D. Road Resealing: this is a simple, inexpensive fix that would go a long way toward beautification of the neighborhood and sprucing up the look of the entire place. Frankly, it is long past the time for this matter to be addressed.
E. Rescinding the illegal “Take Away Your Transponder If You Have An Estate Sale” vote. It is simply unacceptable that the Board would violate the Florida statute that specifically requires the allowance of ingress and egress by residents and owners. This is not a legal discipline that can be imposed. The maximum discipline after all other discipline has been imposed is a $1,000 fine and limiting access to common areas. Preventing ingress and egress by seizing transponders is not an allowable discipline, period. This needs to be addressed and rescinded.
F. Banning clubs from having their own rules, policies, and by-laws: the pickleball club’s new rules allow non-resident interlopers full membership in the pickleball club with full voting rights and full access to the pickleball courts so that they can displace residents, so that they can wear and tear on community assets, and so that they can present liability claims to the HOA when they are injured on campus. No clubs should have anything more than an approved mission statement.
1. Roof Replacement Update: $347,700 - $398,300 - Richard Greene
Richard: Both the Facilities Committee and the Engineering Committee did a very good job…Latite expects it to be done by early April…could finish a lot earlier…they’re not using sub-contractors…will last at least 20 years…total cost $355K to replace the roof. We have the money in the reserve…general reserve. Approve $355,700 and a contract for Richard Campbell [independent roof project manager, which is Item #2 below]. Second: Harvey.
[Editor’s note: this motion is improper because it lumps together two unrelated contracts, one for the roof replacement and one for the independent project manager.]
Sue: …thank Richard… if the roof leaks… Richard: they’re liable for it. Richard Campbell is the project manager. Deborah doesn’t have to go up on the roof… Sue: what is the appropriate number of times they need to inspect with a project as large as this? Richard: this is a pitched roof so it’s very easy to do… Richard is an independent contractor.
Sue: how many visits are required …for the project… to be successful? Richard: no requirement; it’s up to the engineering committee and the consultant. At a minimum, every time a bill is paid…he estimates… Sue: six visits… Engineering committee recommended $400 for any additional visits he makes.
Harvey: at the very end, withholding 5%, until all the punch lists are done? Richard: no, this is not sub-contracted out. They’re not gonna get the whole payment until the project is approved by the County. Marion: attorneys gave feedback, then Latite gave feedback; was that sent to the attorneys? Richard: I’m not sure…only thing left out, probably the 5 or the 10 percent. Everything else we went along with, engineering and construction… the only legal… is the retainage, 5 or 10 percent…
Marion: so we don’t have to send back to the attorneys. Richard: yes [correct]. Eileen: we can’t do the vote unless we agree 5 or 10%. Richard: unless you agree with the 5% now. The attorney recommended retainage, but it’s one company, not sub-contractors…plus we’ll have a consultant…
Eileen: was there a discussion with the consultant about the retainer? Richard: no… time is critical – delay, hurricane season… Sue: no sub-contracting. Standard is 10% if they have sub-contractors. Contract, all work done by Latite, no sub-contractors. I thought that the contract said that the work will begin within 45 days from the permit… have to complete within 120 days…5 months…April?...Deb, do you know?
Deborah: they told us about three to five weeks…rain… Marion: page 5, special services, change orders, any wood they find would be rotten. Richard: if you have change orders, it’s gonna take time; they’ll make pictures. Change orders will slow down the process… we didn’t want to slow them down, especially when we’re approaching hurricane season [next year] … Marion: do we have any extra money in case… Richard: the consultants felt we had enough wood to protect ourselves…
Sue: page 2 of 8, item #7, time for completion…120 working days… time of the essence contract, they will deduct $500 a day from the total cost to us. Harvey: prior to commence…inspection…interior, assess pre-existing damage… Sue: get everything that you want in writing…so that we don’t have add-ons…this contract should be 100% airtight… Eileen: make sure that everything is in place so that we don’t make mistakes… what is the consultant’s opinion about the 5%...
Marion: Latite Roofing, $355,700 contract for the clubhouse, fitness center, guard shack, all in favor?
[Editor’s note: that was not the motion. The motion improperly bundled the hiring of the project manager with the roof replacement contract; the project manager part of it apparently disappeared and/or was never corrected. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.]
Richard: $8,000 for the flashes.
Sue: Point of Order…don’t want to approve until all the questions we have raised have been answered. Eileen: very good point. Two weeks is not going to make a difference… Marion: All in favor with a 5% holdback? Three. [Marion, Richard, Harvey]. Not in favor: Three. [Eileen, Sue, Linda]. Marion: it’s a wash.
Richard: let them write out what they think should be added to the contract, Sue, Eileen, or Linda, put down what they want to see in the contract so we can approve it… give me a list of your problems with the contract… Eileen: we didn’t get the attorney’s approval about the 5% nor the project manager… Richard: we can ask Latite if they will settle on 10%... Eileen: my requirement was: send to the attorney for his final opinion… Marion: the attorney doesn’t give an opinion on that …
[Editor’s note: Marion is correct; that is not a legal issue, that is a judgment call as to whether or not the held back amount will be 5 or 10 percent; it is whatever the parties negotiate and ultimately agree upon.]
Marion: …up to the consultant… [Editor’s note: no, it’s up to the parties.]
Eileen: I would like reassurance from the project manager because we are hiring him; if he is comfortable with 5% holdback I’m fine with this…
[Editor’s note: it’s not up to him; this is strictly a contract issue negotiable by the parties. Also, technically he is not a project manager if he is only making spot inspections before bills are paid. That is not a project manager. That’s an inspector. A true project manager is on site during the entire project.]
[Editor’s further note: more discussion was had back and forth.]
Sue: question I have, who’s gonna, damages, who’s responsible for that? Richard: it’s in the contract. If damages created by… they’re liable. Sue: if they say we’re responsible for – we need to verify that that is true. I’m concerned with financial responsibility… we have to be very careful… Deb, I know you had your hand raised, so if you have something to add, please do…
Deborah: make a motion, recommendation of the engineer you are hiring, that would be accepted by all of you… Richard: liability, it’s included in the contract, reviewed by the attorney, attorney satisfied. Eileen: if the project manager is comfortable with 5% then I’m absolutely fine with this.
Marion: revise the motion, approve Latite Roofing $355,700 with the proviso it’s either 5 or 10% hold back based on the consultant’s opinion. Harvey: second. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
[Editor’s note: In late August/early September 2017, your Roving Reporter personally and single-handedly installed an entire house lower roof from beginning to end after we fired our roofing company for what appeared to be material construction errors which Arthur discovered as they began their work. Arthur was observing what they were doing and ordered them to stop work. Arthur was meticulous in his work. For that reason, that home now has a perfectly installed new roof. We have dozens of photos taken at each stage of the project; here is a sampling:
With respect to this roofing project for the clubhouse, fitness center, and guard shack, an inspection should not be done prior to each bill being paid. That is absurd because that is an arbitrary time period which may have no relation to what is actually happening on the roof in real time, because once you put down one layer, the workmanship underneath is hidden. Rather, an inspection should be done at each phase of the project. (We do not believe that the County signs off on permits on a phase-by-phase basis. They do so at the end when you advise them that your project is complete and request them to approve it.)
For example, phase one is stripping the roof down to the plywood to see which sheets of plywood need to be replaced. After this stripping, there should be an inspection. Phase two would be the removal of the plywood to see which beams may have dry rot and need to be replaced. After this removal, there should be another inspection. Phase three is the replacement of beams and plywood, and when that is done, a third inspection should take place.
Phase four is when they then place a paper-like material over the plywood and secure it to the roof and all flashings are added. When that is completed, another inspection should occur. Phase five is the placement of the tile which covers the roof. When that is completed, another inspection should take place. There could also be spot checks along the way at the discretion of the inspector.
The only challenge is how the roofing company plans on doing this project. If they strip the roof in its entirety and do the phases to cover the entire roof as they go, this schedule works well. If, however, they decide to do the project in sections, completing sections of the roof at a time, that makes teach section a separate inspection which is obviously more cumbersome and expensive.
We do not know if the roofing company plans on doing everything together or doing the structures (clubhouse, fitness center, guard shack) separately. By doing them separately, we would have to have five inspections on each one which is $2,000 per building at the stated rate of $400 per inspection. It is incumbent upon the Board to revise their instruction to the inspector to follow the above protocol to ensure that the roofs are installed properly.]
2. Roof Project Manager: $2400-$11,250 - Richard Greene
Richard: motion to approve Richard Campbell to be the roof consultant for the replacement of the roof, $400 per inspection with six inspections, amend the contract, additional inspections $400 each. Eileen: second. Marion: he mentions West Spot Professional Engineer, $80 an hour. Deborah: no, that’s another one. Sue: West is another one. CVA Roof Consultant, one page, that’s basically him. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
3. N & S Fences on CL Blvd – Eileen Olitsky
[Editor’s note: second time’s a charm?]
Harvey: I’m still recusing myself so I will be leaving the discussion. Eileen: last week, three to three; I would like to bring it up again. Verbally, they were called and said no.
[Editor’s note: above in the First Residents’ Input Session, in response to Leonard Tannen’s question above, Marion stated that they were not contacted. So, who is telling the truth here? Because both statements cannot be true. We’ll go with what Eileen is stating because this is her motion, and she seems to be on top of the situation.]
Eileen: I would like to have a letter written to them requesting, due to expenses… roof, COVID….would like to cancel, would be willing to give deposit and any costs… if not, approve $10,550 on the south side and not complete the north side. The contract was signed in March. It’s been nine months since they’ve done anything. Permits took so long, including the gate…no completion date in here… Sue: there’s no start date either. Eileen: this could take ten years. I would like – write a letter – don’t want to give them two choices…
Sue: no additional money can be spent, that’s already done. These two gates would do nothing to improve security… security has not been an issue… I was not on the Board at the time. No start or end date, additional permit fees…
Linda: I don’t believe this contract is airtight and I would like to see this contract broken. All you have to do is walk through; you don’t have to go through bushes…give them their $1,000 deposit and say goodbye. Eileen: I agree with Linda and Sue… I am regretful that I voted on it… we can change our mind, the contract, nothing’s been done in nine months. Richard: I wasn’t on the Board; I was very, very upset the way it was approved.
[Editor’s note: Richard, if you were so upset about it, why didn’t you comment as a resident during any residents’ input session either at the time it was on the agenda or any time thereafter; and furthermore, as a Board member since last March 26, 2020, which was a mere six days later, you could have revisited it and put it on the Agenda yourself.
So, it is one thing to claim that you are very, very upset, but you did nothing when you had ample opportunity to do something before the alleged $1,000 payment was made. We say alleged payment because that was not a deposit; the contract called for a 50% deposit. That was a $1,000 payment made for reasons unknown. More on this matter at the end of this discussion.]
Richard: They’re gonna be removing the ficus. The whole area is gonna be completely open…I think we’re gonna need to put a fence there…white fly problems…anyone can walk through…
[Editor’s note: they can walk through using the sidewalk, Richard, while the guard is snoozing, checking his or her iPhone, or checking ID for a car that is trying to enter.
By the way, many, many years ago when your Editor flew here from my home in Los Angeles to visit my parents, who are original owners, and arrived from the airport after midnight, and the limo pulled up to the guard shack, we had to pound on the door of the guard shack to wake him up because the horn wasn’t doing the trick. It probably would have been easier for me to get out of the limo, take my luggage on wheels, and walk to their house on Grove Ridge Lane.
This same scenario played out again when the two of us, your Editor and your Roving Reporter, arrived on another occasion, again after midnight, but that time we didn’t have to bang on the door, as honking the horn a few times worked. Harvey, sorry if we woke you.]
Marion: I’m against cancelling the contract.
[Editor’s note: of course you are. You were the one who made the motion and your sidekick, Harvey, seconded it.]
Marion: It will be one wide open area. Those houses will have no protection from anybody…it was suggested by the sheriff’s department…I think the price we got was phenomenal.
[Editor’s note: the price is irrelevant; the sheriff’s recommendations were over a year prior to this motion that you made, the sheriff likely pointed out all of the vulnerable areas, and likely had no idea about shrubbery replacement.]
Eileen: we talked about doing two because of the eventuality of the gate…Deborah: it will cost approximately $15,000 for the removal of ficus on the south side.
[Editor’s note: shop it better; there is no reason why you can’t get competitive bids and then negotiate downward from there. 316 feet for $15,000 is outrageous; that comes to $47.47 per foot assuming you fill every single inch of that area.]
[Editor’s further note: more discussion ensued.]
Sue: did we get a permit for this yet? Deborah: he [Rapid Fence] applied for just the two sides; as of today I have nothing saying he has a permit. Linda: I don’t think it’s a question about breaking the contract… Marion: he has written the administrative plan.
[Editor’s note: Marion, are you now representing Rapid Fence as their advocate? Don’t you think that’s a conflict of interest?]
Linda: let him have the $1,000; that’s a lot of money. Marion: I’m incredibly disappointed at this point. This has been voted on twice…
[Editor’s note: the community is a hell of a lot more disappointed in you, and not only because of this fence/gate issue that you rammed down everyone’s throat to avoid a community vote. And whether or not it was voted on twice is irrelevant; you had no problem with voting twice on Harvey’s Sign Up Genius motion.]
Linda: I agreed on it under false pretenses…I’m sorry I voted for it…any of us have the privilege of changing our mind…and I did make the wrong decision at the time and I admit it…
[Editor’s note: there is nothing wrong with making a mistake, and it is commendable when someone recognizes it, owns it, admits it, apologizes for it, learns from it so that it doesn’t happen again, and then tries to make it right. Bravo.]
Eileen: [regarding Marion’s comment about the matter having been voted on twice] I respectfully disagree with you. Many times, other Board members brought up issues and we’ve had a revote. We are allowed to change our minds and apologize for actions in the past.
[Editor’s note: bravo again.]
Richard: Deb, in your estimation, do you think we’re gonna have to put a fence there…pulling out the ficus.
[Editor’s note: nothing personal, but an employee’s opinion is irrelevant. If you want opinions, ask the owners/residents and ask the Landscaping Committee because their opinions are what matters. They might suggest you buy larger gallon pots so that they fill in faster.]
Deborah: That will be a Board decision – taller foliage…
[Editor’s note: excellent answer.]
Deborah: proposal from Palm Beach Broward was about $15,000…
[Editor’s note: you’re being shafted. Send it out for competitive bidding.]
Marion: all in favor of having a letter written to Rapid Fence trying to get out – Eileen: not requesting – that we want out of the contract.
[Editor’s note: did the Editor miss the motion and a second?]
Marion: In favor, Linda, Eileen, Sue. Marion: oppose. Richard: abstain. I’m against losing any money.
[Editor’s note: Richard, you’re against losing $1,000 and would rather spend over $20,000 more for this debacle? That’s not being fiscally responsible.]
Marion: three-one-one. Eileen: it’s not “can we,” it’s that “we want.” Marion: passes. Deb, you and I will get together and draft the letter.
[Editor’s note: having the person who made the ill-fated motion and the one person who voted against drafting the letter is the last person who should be involved in its creation or any communication with this vendor. Eileen astutely brings this up later at the Round Table discussion to make sure there is oversight on what is being written, but frankly, the task should not be handled by Marion who was the sole dissenter. In our opinion, that’s loco and is a horrible business decision.
There is nothing in the contract that we were provided which shows that a $1,000 payment was to be made; the contract says the deposit shall be 50% of the entire job. Therefore, who authorized a payment of $1,000 and why? This is nonsensical. This $1,000 was not a deposit. It was an undesignated payment which was given for an unknown and unnecessary reason. The vendor never should have accepted it. It appears that both sides were and are asleep at the wheel. Both sides are ignoring a material term of the contract: the amount and schedule of payments.
The purported contract has neither a start nor finish date. There is no evidence of any performance over the last eight months. Since the required consideration of 50% payment was not given, the vendor should not have started the project under the terms of the contract. Indeed, after eight months, there does not appear to be any performance by the vendor of which we are aware and nor should there be, because the condition precedent to the performance (the 50% payment) was never satisfied.
There was a failure of consideration. The vendor has remained silent. The payment of 50% was to have occurred first, before any performance on the part of the vendor. Since that did not happen, the only recourse the vendor would theoretically have would be to sue on the contract for damages.
However, it would be virtually impossible for the vendor to establish damages, because there was to have been no performance prior to payment, so the vendor should not have incurred any damages for labor and/or materials. If the vendor started work, it did so at its own risk because it failed to enforce the condition precedent. Thus, essentially, while there is a contract, it is, as a practical matter, not enforceable. The parties just walk away. See how simple this is?
As for the $1,000, the HOA should demand its return as it was an improper payment, and if that is refused, then the individuals who paid that to the vendor, those Board members who authorized and signed off on that payment, should reimburse the HOA because they had no right to make that payment. They are probably not legally obligated to repay the HOA, but they should do so because they acted outside their authority and contrary to the specific terms of the contract.
It is incumbent upon the Board to approach this matter from a position of strength, not weakness. It is important not to write things in a letter that could be construed as admissions against interest or waivers of defenses. Be careful. Words matter.]
Linda: passed? Marion: yes.
4. Concrete vs Paver Expansion for Ramp: $3,042-$3648- Eileen Olitsky
Eileen: two bids…one concrete only…Deborah: concrete is more expensive than pavers…Eileen: so we voted; we’re revisiting it…Deborah:: concrete is also a trip hazard [as are pavers] …pavers can be reset as needed… Eileen: new proposal $3,648. Motion we go with the alternate proposal of pavers. Harvey: second. Harvey: pavers will match, aesthetically will look a lot better…not a trip hazard…can repurpose the river rock…
Eileen: additional row of pavers going to the pickleball as well. Sue: [it says] sprinklers could be moved by others. Who? Deborah: Palm Beach Broward. Sue: extra charge for that? Deborah: no…
Sue: color of the pavers – they are already stained…concrete slab… I have no problem with the pavers… can concrete be stained? Deborah: yes. Sue: pavers will look terrible. Marion: all in favor of paver expansion for the ramp, APC, for $3,648? Eileen: point of order: rescind the one from the 4th. Marion: all in favor of rescinding the concrete expansion area [last Board vote]? Harvey: second. Marion: unanimous. All in favor of using pavers, $3,648? Unanimous.
5. Landon pod beautification – Additional $900: Deborah: proposal 71-20, pod entrance, started. $900. I could have approved on my own, it is within my purview; I decided not to. The work was done already; I just wanted it to be out in the open.
Linda: motion. Harvey: second. Sue: reserve or budgeted? I don’t know what [this comes under]. Richard: all landscaping is operating item (unless you set up a reserve). Marion: all in favor of 71-20, green eyelet ficus northwest corner Landon Circle? Unanimous.
6. Landscape: Utility Building - $2575. Someone, possibly Marion: proposal 68-20, $2,575, landscaping around the utility building. Marion makes the motion. Harvey: second. Richard: operating expense… [discussion about river rock repurposing] … Harvey: amend the motion to accept it, $375 for new river rock…be removed or amended depending on how much can be repurposed. Deborah: can you just approve it the way it is? They’ll have to adjust the invoice. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
1. Bocce: Open for play – Linda Arbeit. Linda: residents would like to have the bocce court opened at this time. Motion to open the bocce court. Eileen: second. Sue: thank Irv Kenig; gave me a two minute explanation on how to play bocce because I told him I’ve only seen it in Godfather movies…there will be CDC guidelines…my apology to people who play, it was an oversight, unintended.
[Editor’s note: presumably that it was not included in the discussions about use of facilities during COVID19.]
Deborah: I need to get it cleaned, prepared by Lee. Eileen: amount? Marion: recommend four per side. Several: that’s eight.
[Editor’s note: see comments of Jefferey D. Green below in the Second Residents’ Input Session wherein he states that there are two people on a team, four on the court, that the court is not made for eight people, and that people usually do not have their own equipment.]
Marion: they schedule themselves. Eileen: they only play on Sunday (morning). Marion: we put the rules in writing and send it to the community. Deborah: equipment, are we using community equipment and who’s going to be sanitizing? Eileen: 8 players, they bring their own equipment.
[Editor’s note: per Jeffrey D. Green below, four players and they don’t bring their own equipment.]
Sue: we can get clarification… eight at a time… It is my understanding that there are no more than eight that play… Eileen: specify when and how many. Marion: all in favor of open play for Bocce? Eileen: we have to stipulate one session at a time, no more than eight people at a time, with eight people at a time, four on each side, equipment to be sanitized between plays… Sue: subject to sanitation procedures. Harvey: spray bottle of solution, let them spray the balls…Marion: we’ll talk to Image and see how they want to do it. Deborah: you have one person here from Image on Sunday, does the pool, bathrooms. Sue: second.
[Editor’s note: Eileen already seconded.]
Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
2. 2021 Community Vote re: Mailboxes and Hard Surface Pickleball-Marion Weil
[Editor’s note: the mailboxes are not subject to community vote. They are individually owned along with the poles. Shared poles are owned equally by the residents attached to those mailboxes. The poles are an integral part of the mailboxes, without which the mailboxes would fall to the ground or blow away in the wind.
The HOA cannot simply seize an owner’s personal property, change it, and then return something else to the owner. Ownership doesn’t work that way. The HOA is not the State, the latter of which has eminent domain rights. A resident sent us his/her thoughts on the mailboxes. Here is our response to that resident:
"We understand the frustration about the mailboxes and the look of the community in general. To us, the most glaring issue is the appearance of the roads. Simple resealing would completely change the look of the entire place in a very positive way. It would be relatively inexpensive, and it would dramatically increase curb appeal.
As to the mailboxes, we are familiar with the aluminum mailboxes to which you refer. One resident referred to that mailbox as looking like a “coffin.” Why is uniformity of mailboxes so important? Some think uniformity is boring and gauche, like a cheap perfume. Some of the very tony communities do not have uniformity of mailboxes, and some of those unique mailboxes are beautiful and match the landscaping and character of the individual home, which greatly enhances the look of the community.
If one or more Board members wants to spend community funds on fancy signage to look more like a country club, then the homes and mailboxes should also reflect that image. For example, we are upgrading the appearance of our home and its curb appeal by doing custom landscaping which Arthur designed and is personally creating and completing (when it’s not raining). It would be nice to have a mailbox that matches this custom job. Our governing documents permit such a unique mailbox, with ARB approval. This enhances the community’s curb appeal.
Barring a change in the governing documents, there is no rightful and legal way for the Board to do anything with regard to the individual homeowner’s domain over his/her mailbox (and pole, which is part of the mailbox unit), and even such a change is fraught with legal problems as explained below.
You have the issue of whether or not they can legally “grandfather in” all the current homeowners as opposed to this proposed rule applying to new buyers only. Current owners purchased the home and its appurtenances, which included the mailboxes and poles. That is a personal asset of the owner which cannot be taken. If taken, that would be called theft. And changing documents does not transpose the theft into a legal taking. You cannot have a community vote to steal a homeowner’s mailbox."
Marion: community vote, mailboxes and hard courts pickleball, 2021, put a vote out there once we get our all the information from Facilities…and pickleball… we need a 75% of those voting in order for this to go through. Harvey: not bundle. Marion: I agree. Richard: I’d like to be sure we include all the costs. With pickleball, a lot of landscaping to be done, and mailboxes…Marion: we have a project management form, lists every committee…
Eileen: says vote today; respectfully, it’s premature… I think this is a discussion only; before any approved, we have to have numbers; we need clarification who owns the mailboxes, who owns the poles, we don’t have updated prices… Harvey: we should ask Facilities and get prices, rough proposals… Marion: I would like a vote in 2021 when we have all this information. Richard: will involve a lot of committees…
Sue: the subject of bundling, one of the problems, doing without bundling, I doubt will get 75%... there are pros and cons about bundling… Marion: just a discussion…
Sue: our documents need to be revised; there are serious questions who owns what, for sure, the mailboxes themselves and the signs are owned by the residents. Covenants… Marion: [regarding the poles] put in by the developer, owned by the association. Sue: poles on community area – so are the mailboxes. The mailboxes are attached to the poles. Revising the documents is expensive. Marion: 2011, 2018 from the attorneys. Sue: I do not believe there is clarity in either attorney’s letter.
Linda: I made a few phone calls [other communities], all three cases, residents own the mailboxes and the poles.
[Editor’s note: it’s common sense; they are a unit, and the mailbox cannot stand without its pole.]
Marion: president council meetings – not…
[Editor’s note: what’s with these presidents? Are they just making things up as they go along? And if they don’t have the same governing documents as this HOA has, who cares? It is completely irrelevant what other HOA presidents are saying.]
Chat: Vicki: LINDA IS CORRECT. YOU CANNOT DO THAT. YOU CANNOT TAKE PERSONAL PROPERTY. ILLEGAL SEIZURE.
[Editor’s note: kindly excuse the all-caps in the Chat function at the meeting; the cap lock stuck.]
Eileen: thank…Facilities. They have done an enormous amount of work researching mailboxes… pickleball, last year we relined the surfaces… I’d also like to thank Long Range Planning [committee]… Harvey: I agree with what you’re saying, Marion.
[Editor’s note: but of course you do.]
Harvey: …we do not need to bring it to a vote… 75% is an awful high bar… Marion: you never know… alright, let’s move on.
[Editor’s note: what was the purpose of this item being on the Agenda? There are so many other pressing issues; just to name a few:
-correcting faulty prior Minutes (March 18, 2020) to have an accurate record,
-rescinding the outrageously improper “Let’s Ban Alex” vote,
-rescinding the illegal “Take Away Your Transponder If You Have An Estate Sale” vote,
-banning the improper presidential slush fund of $1,000 per month,
-banning clubs from having their own rules, policies, and by-laws that allow, for example, non-resident interlopers full membership in the pickleball club with full voting rights and full access to the pickleball courts so that they can displace residents, wear and tear on community assets, and present liability issues to the HOA when they are injured on campus.
But for some reason, this untimely discussion about a potential community vote in 2021 was more important to Marion at this time.]
3. Electrical Panel-boost transformer at pool equipment- $5900 - Richard Greene.
Richard: two proposals, the transformer… $5,990 and $4,295…postpone this until Arnie [Green] meeting with other communities… and Larry Jacobowitz…get more information…Harvey: what is this going to do for us? What’s the benefit? Richard: we’re burning out motors… there’s a problem with the voltage… Arnie Green: pool company recommended…why is FPL giving us a low voltage…trying to find out.. Richard: postpone… Harvey: motion to table pending further information. Marion: Second. All in favor of postponing until next meeting? 5-0, Linda is out of the room.
[Editor’s note: the motion was to table pending further information, not to postpone until the next meeting. There is a difference, and the person presiding over the meeting, the president, ought to be more precise.]
Second Residents’ Input Session:
1. Chuck Cramer: I want to thank the Board for addressing the pickleball courts and the mailboxes… I’d like to offer the support of the pickleball club… mailboxes and court could be on the same ballot either separately or combined…
[Editor’s note: the following is copied from Chuck’s input into the Chat function, which is essentially what he read out loud:]
“From Chuck Cramer to Everyone: 07:36 PM
this is Chuck Cramer, i raised my hand 5 times and my name was removed from the list. this is what I wanted to say. This is Chuck Cramer Glenville Drive and President of the Pickleball Club of Cascade Lakes. I wanted to speak on the potential ballot of pickleball hard courts and mailboxes. I assume that to bring to a vote in 2021 you will need good prices. I would like to offer the support of the pickleball club in designing the plans and specifications and interfacing with potential vendors.
As you know we have an architect, engineers and much experience with other communities and with vendors and of course, the play of the game. There are many decisions to be made that will affect price such as surface material, fencing, drainage observation areas etc. We would also be happy to support any informational meetings you might have with the community.
I would guess you have already considered this but the mailboxes and courts could be on the same ballot to save money but should be separate line items.”
2. Joyce Winston: #1, as head of Rules & Regs, Sue and I have discussed mailboxes and poles. The documents are very clear; the homeowner owns just the mailboxes; some are two to a pole and some are three to a pole…who’s gonna pay for the poles…
[Editor’s note: we respectfully disagree as we have explained above. Shared poles are owned equally between or among the owners of the mailboxes attached thereto. The mailbox and pole are a unit; the mailbox cannot stand without the pole. Recall when the coffin-like mailboxes were shown to the community in 2019, they came with the poles. The poles were part of the cost of the mailboxes.]
Joyce: #2, the second thing, I don’t know if Harvey should recuse himself. Marion: go ahead, Joyce. Joyce: based on the original motion of Harvey to circumvent the community vote, this entire subject is illegal, so I suggest you do your very utmost to cancel that contract.
3. Elliot Graff: Sue, you keep on turning down my 80/20 rule, not in the documents, it’s allowed in the state of Florida. Agents, they’re all going to the other Cascades. Our maintenance is $100 more than theirs. Second, bundling, last time, it was not bundled… 3. Maintenance $1,625 or $1,650? Last time you voted on $1,650, I got notification of $1,625. I don’t know what to tell new residents.
[Editor’s note: Elliot is one of the top real estate agents around and he also was our August 2020 Resident of the Month.]
Sue: the 80/20 rule does involve the FHA… [Federal Fair Housing Act] … the state doesn’t care what you do with the other 20%. Elliot: that is correct… Sue: would be a decision for the Board… Elliot: I brought this up before; it was turned down… let me know. Is the maintenance $1,625 or $1,650? Richard: $1,625 is what the budget committee approved, being proposed, the Board has not made their final approval yet.
[Editor’s note: yes and no. The Board did make a final vote to increase it to $1,650 at the illegal improper annual budget meeting; we called this procedure out based on lack of notice and lack of giving the residents the statutorily required entitlement to speak, so there is a do-over of sorts of the annual budget meeting scheduled for November 25, 2020.
There is no motion listed on the Agenda to rescind that vote. Marion is very evasive about it. Was a vote made? Yes. Was it legal? No. It is the position of this News Site that it is therefore void ab initio. If that is true, then it technically does not have to be rescinded because there is nothing to rescind if it is void as opposed to voidable.]
Richard: Next week the Board is going to approve a maintenance fee… Eileen: I’ve had some issues with the process here… I had questions about the maintenance fee…I had requested at that time a community meeting where the residents could listen in to the discussion. I was told that that was not happening and that the time for that discussion was at the November 4th meeting.
[Editor’s note: told by whom?]
Eileen: If I was in error, then I question the process completely because there was no opportunity for the residents to hear any discussion about that proposed maintenance fee. Marion: that’s why we’re redoing it next week. Eileen: there will be a discussion again about the maintenance fee.
Marion: there was no opportunity for resident discussion and that has been that way for umpteen years past [Editor’s note: until your Editor and Roving Reporter arrived!]but now we know that that was wrong… Harvey: so essentially the meeting on the 4th [November], budget meeting, was technically illegal and really we should strike the Minutes because we’re doing it again, so really the first meeting, in reality, in theory, didn’t occur, so we should strike those Minutes…
Marion: no, according to the attorney who we spoke to [Editor’s note: who is the “we” who spoke to the attorney; clearly Harvey was not in on that call.] Marion: which is why we’re doing it again, it was not illegal, we just neglected to put in the Residents’ Input Session, so that’s why we’re having the meeting on the 25th. You can’t negate what was there.
[Editor’s note: it was in total violation of the open meeting laws and that made it illegal. Just declare it void; this is so simple.]
Harvey: then let’s just say it was not illegal, it was inappropriate…we should void the last meeting.
[Editor’s note: Harvey is getting close here, so kudos to him for this. The meeting cannot be voided, but the vote should be considered void, and this should be clearly stated in the November 4, 2020 Budget Meeting Minutes that said vote was and is void. Then, once again at the November 25, 2020 annual budget meeting, declare the prior annual budget meeting’s vote as void and record that in those Minutes as well. In that way, you will have a clear and clean record before proceeding.]
Marion: you can’t void a meeting that took place according to the attorneys.
[Editor’s note: void the vote, genius, not the meeting.]
Sue: given the fact that there were a lot of procedural errors that went on with this, and thanks to whomever it was who said that we were in error because we were...
[Editor’s note: you’re welcome!]
Sue: …words matter…when you put out something to residents that says budget and then in the agenda it says proposed budget, which one is it?... Since there were errors, and since this was going on for a while, I guess, that we should clearly delineate what those procedures are so that everyone, including Board members, have a right to give their input. I think it’s imperative that the community know everything that we do that involves expenditures of money.
[Editor’s note: Bravo, and that includes the $6,052.35 spent on legal fees without a Board vote, without community input, for the sole purpose in our opinion of frivolously and maliciously going after your Editor and Roving Reporter to try and stifle us, and that means you, Marion, and whoever went along with that, which to us was a clear scheme of harassment using HOA moneys.]
Sue: this is a case where transparency is a must… Richard: the letter said proposed budget; the documents behind it said recommended budget; it never said approved budget.
4. Jeffrey D. Green: Bocce court, there are two people on a team. The court is not made for eight people. Four people on the court. People usually don’t have their own equipment. The balls, they’re two pounds each… Maintenance is $100 more than that of Cascades: you have factors, Elliot, how much is in their reserve? You can’t compare apples and oranges. Mailboxes, and who owns them: residents own them. If you thought that the community owns them then you better be able to pay the people for their mailboxes.
5. Barry Gordon: To answer Elliot, I was on the Board when we turned down the 80/20. A lot of us have children who might inherit the houses; most of them are not 55…that’s why we did it.
6. Elliot: I was on the Board at the same time. The reason was the attorney was holding 20% for heirs. 120 homes…a lot of people who are aging out, their children are older than 55…
7. Irwin Schenkman: I was on the original pre-Board and the first Board. The builder sold to people who were under 55…20% of the homes can be under 55, however you can’t have anybody under the age of 20; would be subject to school taxes… mailboxes… trucks would hit mailboxes…at that time, homeowners did not have to replace … [Editor’s note: Irwin’s audio cut out] …
[Editor’s note: the 20% can be used any way the HOA wants; the HOA’s governing documents control that 20%. The current documents reserve that 20% for heirs as legacy homes. Amending the governing documents is not a very big deal, actually. Only that section would need to be amended, and that could be done on a one-page document.
The issue is not the expense of it, in this writer’s opinion; the issue is whether the matter is supported or not. It does appear at this juncture that this is not considered a priority by the Board, plain and simple. However, as with anything, the priority level of this issue could change at any time.]
Round Table Discussion:
Eileen: the fences. Marion, you said you were going to write the letter with Deborah. I would like all Board members to see it before it goes out.
[Editor’s note: the letter should be written by someone else and with some of the language we provided above. Marion is the last person who should be drafting that letter for the reasons we stated. That being said, we thank the other ladies on the Board for their wisdom in rectifying this disaster. A big thank you to Eileen, Linda, and Sue.]
Sue: …already approved mailboxes $193,000; will have to amend that in order to move forward. Marion: Right.
[Editor’s note: easy enough. It was never a well-thought out vote to begin with.]
Harvey: I would like to thank Mark Goodman for all his hard work…
[Editor’s note: Harvey expounded upon this and was effusive in his praise of Mark.]
Marion: I don’t have anything.
Marion: motion to adjourn? Eileen. Second: Sue. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous. It’s 9:44pm. [Editor’s note: it registered 9:48pm on our computer.]
Eileen: we’ll miss Mark.
[Editor’s note: Once again, a big shout-out to Zoom operator Mike Blackman and his faithful assistant, Arnie Green, for doing a great job administering the Zoom meetings. We thank them for their continued service and volunteerism.
And so concludes the board meeting of November 18, 2020; next Board meeting: Annual Budget Meeting November 25, 2020 at 9:30am. Cheerio until next time.]