Update 4/17/11: The grass is not dead. Spring is coming... We had a hard winter so lets be patient and hope for the best!
The grass is not dead. The irrigation system was broken at the lake and no residents reported any potential problems for 2 weeks. When it was noticed, the irrigation man, who checks the system once per month, came right over and fixed it. Some of the turf has been spray-killed intentionally. Those would be the geometric shaped areas. Watering restrictions mandate 1x per week watering starting in the Fall, so we are replacing some difficult areas with ground cover in lieu of grass.
Please report any potential problems with the common areas to management. All problems are not evident equally in all areas of the property, such as the armadillos and moles we are addressing, so we need all residents to chime in promptly to prevent unnecessary spending. Thank You.
And please remember that it is the resident's job to keep their entryway light functioning. Please report inoperable lights to management and replace burnt out bulbs immediately. Thank You.
UPDATE 1/14/09 RE: Automobile Break-ins Neighborhood watch brochures and signs have been ordered. Per Maitland Police:We all need to remain as vigilant as possible. Most problems are occuring between 3 and 630 AM, but that does not mean the area is not being "cased" during the day for easy targets. The police are aware and have been a presence in the community. Park Lake is a "practice" area for the thieves, thought to be young and inexperienced. Phase I in the front is having the most problems, by the wall to the West, and when the police apply "heat" to that area, the problems fan out. It is very important that everyone question whether a car- or a person- really belongs at Park Lake Villas and call the police. They would rather come here for nothing than to see yet another taxpayer become a victim of thugs with too much time on their hands. A resident recently called the police on one of our roofers. That was fine, though. He was sleeping in his car early AM parked against the wall and that looked suspicious. Kudos to our watchful resident for being involved. The police do not report where the calls come from, so if you see something odd- just call! The next victim could be you if you don't take action.
BOLO: SMASH AND GRAB THIEVES TARGET AUTOS IN PARK LAKE! 12/29/08
Be On the Look Out: The past few weeks have seen a dramatic increase in auto break-ins with windows being smashed, and anything that can be quickly grabbed being taken. Please protect yourselves and your belongings by taking GPS units, radar detectors, cell phones and cords, radio faceplates, MP3 players and cords, wallets, etc., into your homes, especially at night. The damage being done to autos is generally more costly than the items taken, so be smart and do not use your vehicle like a storage unit as that is precisely what the thieves are looking for. Maitland police are aware and are making their presence known while pursuing leads. A couple of tips given by the police are to keep all streetlights lit by reporting any outages promptly to www.progress-energy.com where there is an online form to complete. Also, keep all entryway lights on at night, and report ANY suspicious activity or persons by calling 911 and using the term 'suspicious persons'. Let the operator (who is in Apopka and may not be aware of the local circumstances) know that we have been experiencing crime and want a "drive-thru" by an officer immediately.
Ice Water in August: Priceless
Here are the hard-working electricians from Ferran Electrical who recently installed a new meter-base housing which served 5 units in a group. One of the large cables in the base began to melt, and shorted out a unit's power supply.
Fortunately, Ferran was able to order us a new base and get it permitted and inspected rather quickly, despite the interference of Tropical Storm Fay. Unfortunately, this piece of equipment costs approximately $4500.00 to purchase, ship, install and inspect.
We have 13 more which have not yet failed. This one was 35 years old, as the building was erected in 1974, as were 3 other buildings, housing 7 more bases combined.
Since this equipment serves more than a single unit, the Association has the responsibility to pay for its replacement.
We are proud of our manicured look!
The law changes will take effect October 1, 2008. Some good changes have been made, such as Board Members having to attest that they are familiar with the Statutes, laws, codes and documents, and that they will be held PERSONALLY financially responsible for not upholding their duties in a responsible and reasonable manner with the Association in mind. Hopefully this will put an end to the trend statewide of persons getting onto Boards to serve themselves and their own agendas. The synopsis was provided for your ease of reading, but PLV does not attest to the accuracy of its content as the source is unknown. Refer to the actual law change document provided if you have questions.
Q: I know we all have to have white window coverings so that no colors are visible from the outside, which is a good thing, but I noticed that the new white vinyl windows all appear to have a greenish cast to them. Are their window coverings white too?
A: Yes. All units have white blinds, drapes and shades. The greenish/gray tint is from the Low-E energy efficient glass in the new windows which has been shown to save $20-$50 off the average electric bill. Depending on how the sun is shining on the windows, you may notice a slight tint. Or not. Eventually, all windows will be the new style as the old style are no longer available or practical or in line with the state building codes.
Q: Why does the Board enforce the Rules? Can't we just do what we want to do as long as no one complains? Are you just being picky?
A: The Board enforces the Rules- and all governing documents- because they have a responsibility to do so. Part of the responsibility is fiduciary in nature: to caretake all financial matters. If the Board lookedthe other way while each unit owner did as they pleased, it would not be long before units became hard to sell, higher rents became hard to demand, and in short, the Villas would look very unkemp and shabby.
If one owner is permitted to place personal objects outside in the common area, all other unit occupants must be permitted to do the same. The fact that one resident's choices are "pretty" and another's "garish" by conventional standards does not play into the equation at all. The law does not legislate taste. But you can imagine how it would look if one neighbor had black curtains, one had purple blinds, and a third, lemon yellow shutters. Add to that the various lawn ornaments available, and any owner at desirable Park Lake Villas would be hard pressed to sell a unit or to realize an increase in property value.
Q: I heard recently that we are at a financial defecit. Is that true? How can that be?
A: No, we are not, nor ever have been, running at a financial loss. That was a rumor perpetrated by a resident who is consistently unhappy and who has not availed themselves of the proper information. This creates a genuine disservice to the Community as a whole.
Our financial records are completely transparent and available to all unit owners upon request. Our Treasurer on our Board is an Accountant in the Condominium Industry, and our Management Company has an accountant as well who prepares our books for review monthly by our Treasurer and yearly by an independent firm.
Q: Why are our monthly maintenance dues the highest in Park Lake?
A: There are many reasons for that, and in order to adequately compare the five communities, one would have to have complete access to all financial records of all five. We can tell you about the Villas while not disparaging or disclosing information about any other community:
Park Lake Villas' reserves are fully funded as per Florida Statute. This greatly reduces the possibility of a special assessment for routine periodic maintenance items.
We are building a Deferred Maintenance Reserve for those items which do not mandate monthly reserve deposits, but do need to be replaced outside of the Operating Budget.
We are fully insured. There are other communities out there who have chosen to drop some insurance coverage, putting the unit owners at risk in the event of a storm and/or water intrusion. Our attorney has instructed us carefully in the law, and we are obligated to provide adequate insurance when such is available, and it is. No one likes to pay for insurance, but remember that the insurance paid for all 7 roofs after the 2004 hurricanes, something our reserve fund had not been built up to yet as it was not yet time to re-roof.
We have funded our reserves properly and in accordance with a Formal Reserve Study commissioned to an independent firm, expert in estimating construction and repair costs.
Q: Why do the roofs sometimes leak?
A: That is a complicated question. The roofs leaked quite a bit after the re-roofing before this last re-roofing as well. The general consensus is, from every expert and roofing company we have consulted over time, the dormers and flashing, and in some instances, the roof elevation changes and the flashing are the problem.
We have inquired about re-flashing all dormers, and the experts tell us that there is no guarantee that the roofs won't still leak. it only takes a pinhole in the membrane below the shingles or in the flashing to allow a leak.
The roofing company warranted the labor for one (1) year. That is standard. It has been four years since the re-roofing and that is why the original roofing company is not out here taking care of the leaks. The shingles are warranted by the manufacturer if applied correctly, and we have been told they were. The bulk of the roof is fine. We do have some problem areas and we are calling an engineer to come give an opinion of the best course of action.
Removal of the dormers would be a help, but that would take a "super-majority" of owner votes according to our Docs, and it was tried once before and it failed to pass.
The Board did consult our attorney regarding bringing a suit against the roofing installer. Unfortunately, it would have taken several years- and tens of thousands of dollars- to possibly get a judgement against the roofer. Then, all he had to do was close that business and open under a new name and we could not collect a penny as the business we sued "went out of business". The law seems to be very unfair to those who are in need of remedy. Please know the Board is actively trying to resolve all roofing issues.
Q: Some owners said they did not receive annual meeting and voting materials this year. Is that possible?
A: Anything is possible, but is sure is hard to prove a negative. If someone receives a piece of mail, it is there as proof of delivery. If it is not there, was it the mailman? Post office? Neighbor got it? Absent-minded spouse misfiled it? Saw it and wasn't interested and forgot about it right away? Was it management? Did they not mail it? Any of the above, EXCEPT the part about management. There is an automatically generated Notarized Certificate of Mailing Affidavit for each official mailing for the community. The Board always follows up and makes certain this Affidavit is on file, especially since an owner, in 2001, raised an issue over this same mailing, causing a huge legal problem resulting in a $650 per unit Special Assessment, largely to cover legal fees. We would be remiss in our duties to not document this important mailing, which we did. Our best advice is to write to management immediately if you did not receive an anticipated mailing. Mark the dates on your calendar and follow up if you did not receive something.
Genuine questions will be answered. Rhetorical, abusive or unsigned questions will not be entertained in this venue. Thank you.