Gardening on Saturday Morning

Joan and Ester Sallee put a notice in the elevator and announced at his meeting that he would like some help planting the new beds. He graciously had coffee and donuts for all. But only 3 people came to help. It was a perfect morning to garden as the sun wasn’t very strong and there was a little breeze.

We were able to make a start in the plantings but will go back on Sunday to try to get it somewhat finished. Thanks to Vicki Ross, Michael in 1205 and Maura some gardening was done.

Opinion: Lots of opinions about the look of our building but no one wants to help improve it . Maybe there should be an assessment for a gardener?

Thank you Joan and Ester for some exercise and my connecting to the earth.

The Garden Committee Meeting

PORTOFINO SOUTH LANDSCAPE COMMITTEE

MEETING JUNE 22,2010

AGENDA

  1. FORMAL EXPRESSION OF THANKS TO RANDY KIRK FOR HIS HARD WORK AND IMAGINATION IN IMPROVING THE APPEARANCE AND ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE BUILDING OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS.
  1. WHO ARE WE AND WHAT ARE OUR OBJECTIVES?  THE COMMITTEE WAS ORGANIZED BY THE BOARD TO ASSIST IT IN MAINTAINING AN ATTRACTIVE AND NEAT PROPERTY WHILE MAXIMIZING THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF THE RESIDENTS.  A DRAFT MISSION STATEMENT IS ATTACHED.
  1. FINANCIAL RESOURCES:  THE BUILDING HAS IN ITS BUDGET $2,500 FOR PLANT REPLACEMENT, HOWEVER, THESE FUNDS ARE EARMARKED FOR RECTIFYING HURRICANE DAMAGE. ACCORDINGLY THEY ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR GENERAL USE AND ONLY BOARD APPROVED EXPENSES CAN UTILIZE THESE FUNDS UNTIL LATE IN THE YEAR WHEN WE WILL HAVE A CLEAR PICTURE OF DAMAGE, IF ANY.

THE BALANCE OF CASH CONTRIBUTIONS BY RESIDENTS AT THIS TIME IS $690.45. WE NEED TO SETTLE ON STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE THESE FUNDS. IDEAS MIGHT INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

  1. A general solicitation
  2. Swapping certain existing plant and tree assets for more appropriate ones.
  3. A cocktail party and plant auction.
  4. Charging/suggesting a donation for babysitting plants.
  5. Specific targeted requests such as a Gazebo in the trees east of the pool, or activities (croquet pitch, putting green, lawn bowling, badminton, horseshoes, others), or trellis- covered parking for currently open spaces, or other special projects.
  6. Long term examine city/state/federal grants available to condominiums for green programs, energy saving initiatives, and resource preservation or recycling.
  1. SELF SUFFICIENCY:  WE SHOULD RELY ON INTERNAL RESOURCES WHERE POSSIBLE AND THIS WOULD MEAN UTILIZING PLANTS WHICH RESIDENTS NO LONGER WANT, PROPOGATING NEW PLANTS FROM EXISTING PLANTS ON THE PROPERTY, GROWING NEW PLANTS FROM SEEDS, AND SEEKING PLANT DONATIONS FROM FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.
  1. PRIORITIZE OUR ACTIVTIES.

CLEAN UP THE ROUGH EDGES OF OUR EXISTING LANDSCAPE

ADD COLORFUL SMALL PLANTS IN VISABLE AREAS

SOLUTION FOR DEAD GRASS

PLUG HOLES IN HEDGES AND TRIM TO MEET CODE

PROVIDE REWARDING ACTIVITIES FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO PARTICIPATE

TO DO/CONSIDER LIST

Front side:

  1. Fill holes in hedges along front of building.
  2. Rescue red begonias and transplant.
  3. Consider plantings (bougainvillea?) along wire on the north fence.
  4. Review health of the ficus trees and consider having them trimmed.
  5. Review fertigation of plants and hedges.
  6. Manicure trees along entry walkway
  7. Gardenia tree and sick neighbor
  8. Whose responsibility are the trees along the street on both sides?
  9. West walls of both lots across the street might benefit from plantings.
  10. Police garbage in far lots. Reported to Sarah 6/20.
  11. Fallen concrete along the south wall needs to be picked up and disposed of.
  12. Close hole in trees at southeast end of fence with barbed wire.
  13. Combination locks for gates and bike room. Spoke to Sarah.

Longer term:

  1. Space utilization on top of covered parking.
  2. Plant covered additional covered parking
  3. Concrete wall mural painting
  4. Victory garden with fruit trees
  5. Eliminate certain messy trees and other invasive plants.

North side:

  1. Fire Dept. requires hedge by hose connectors to be trimmed or taken out.
  2. Ginger by back door to be taken out.
  3. Plug the hole in the hedge along the building wall.
  4. Replace ginger with ground cover.
  5. Trim palms along exit from the building to at least eye level.
  6. Relocate fishtail palms obstructing view of ground floor apartments.
  7. Low, colorful plants for curved boarders of the grass.
  8. Ground cover for the circles around the two big palms.
  9. Same for the 6 lights and 16 palms along the walkway towards Flagler.

South side:

  1. Relocate fishtail palms.
  2. Take down walking bird of paradise
  3. Consider recommending to the board trimming the Ficus trees.
  4. Plant small, non-palm trees (lemon, lime, grapefruit, avocado).
  5. Replace dead grass in curved spaces with purple lantana.
  6. Make planting beds around green square and include a red brick boarder.
  7. Define a consensus regarding the palm trees.
  8. Planters around pool area?
  9. Wire trellis around metal light posts for vines.
  10. Discuss umbrellas or shade covering for the lounging chairs and tables.
  11. Build a simple nursery at the SW end of the lawn.
  12. Plug holes in the hedge along Flagler.
  13. Project pumpkin. Encourage experimentation- daylilies, lily of the valley, etc.

Longer term:

  1. Consider changing the grass to paspallum.
  2. Build a Gazebo in the old children’s pool area.
  3. Review possible activities on the lawn: croquet, golf, badminton, lawn bowling, other.
  4. Consider a formal garden at the east end of the lawn.
  5. Benches under the ficus trees.
  6. Build a functional herb garden for the use of the residents.

MISSION STATEMENT

IT IS THE MISSION OF THE LANDSCAPE COMMITTEE TO ASSIST THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS IN MAXIMIZING UNIT VALUES AND QUALITY OF LIFE IN THE PORTOFINO SOUTH COMMUNITY BY MAINTAINING A NEAT AND ATTRACTIVE ENVIRONMENT AROUND THE BUILDING AND ITS AMENITIES, AVOIDING THE STERILE, OVERLY MANICURED APPEARANCE OF SOME NEIGHBORING CONDOMINIUMS, AND USING IMAGINATION AND ENERGY TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT WHICH PROVIDES ACTIVITY AND ENJOYMENT TO ALL WHO CARE TO PARTICIPATE.

Special Assessment Meeting

Special Meeting:

Special Assessment:

June 22, 2010

Notes  taken by Vicki Ross- my unofficial summary

Board Members Present: Michael Roefaro, Martha Lee,jenny Jones, Elisabeth Gori, Ann Mckay,Eugene Christopherson,Parker Reid, and Howard Erskine

And Keith Gornick on speaker phone

EC- read the special assessment and asked the board for questions

PR- asked why do we have to replenish the fund?

EG- explained that we were in non compliance of accounting rules by our accountants

she explained

  1. Replenish the irrigation Reserve Fund$22,821.99-that the irrigation they previously did ran over by 22,821.99- it was previously classified as a different expense but this is not proper- it is an over run- the project cost more than the “deficit reserve”
  2. Hurricane Impact Window Reserve Fund-$102,291.95-the hurricane fund should have had a reserve or an assessment and that too was underfunded

we have been on a collision course the last couple of years

we would move forward and be more fiscal managing

3.Funding of Concrete restoration, waterproofing, and exterior painting project.- $126,851;99-

She said the contract price should be $175,000 because of 4 elements

a.When restoring the concrete they might find more breakdown

That they can see before they start. Might have to add another $23,000 as a buffer and overridexterior painting

b.water proofing and sealing

c.staging and mobilization of the scaffolding

at this point KG called in

she mentioned we have less money coming in by the slowing of the economy.

she ended by saying if there was any monies left we can pay our selves back or keep in reserve

we are also required by law to have an additional 7% buffer for monies

not collected from owners and if everyone pays then we have 7% back or returned

PR- stated we have no contract signed with Daniel (the contractor) –the project was started by hiring a man named Taurinski, an engineer

Who was recommended by Dan, our manager who is no longer here, and he called for a second opinion before we sign this contract.

He also felt that Taurinski would be supervising the work going forward.

He suggested hiring someone who has no stack in the project as our second opinion

EC-that there was a contract and he had sent it to the lawyer and he was ready to sign it the next day

PR- said he never saw the contract and wanted to read before it was signed

KG-he said there was an important issue here that since we are not a sole proprietorship we have to go the extra length to assure visibility of the connection of the engineer to the contractors. It creates a gray area.

AM- said that Dan, the ex manager, called 3 or 4 engineers and the engineer suggested 3 or 4 contactors and the board had chosen the lowest bid – by $50,000

MR-questioned what were the gray areas?

KG- emphasized the question of the connection of the engineer and the construction company picked

MR- said the engineer got a flat fee

KG- asked if they could find out whether there was a kickback to the engineer

MR- argued that the board picked the contractor

KG- emphasized that this is a crucial crossroad of our building and ther board has a fiduciary duty.

MR- said that he thought it was foolish to spend another $5000-$10,000 on a second opinion.

He also mentioned that apt #12 12 has many leaks and we have to do this every 7 years.

Taurinski, the engineer charged $4300.00

PR: advocated spending another $4300 for a second opinion

AM- she worked for an engineering firm and they did get second opinions

GC- suggested another meeting for hiring a second opinion

KG- reiterated fiduciary duty and that they were being railroaded- need a second opinion and that he was ready to send a check for the second opinion immediately

MR- objected to a second opinion and that we needed to paint and seal the building.

PR- asked do we have to do it now?

KG-he said he wanted the highest quality at the lowest cost

PR- emphasized the actual contract must be reviewed by the whole board before signing

Then EC called for a vote and the audience asked for a discussion from the floor

Brian West- who said he has built and managed other condos asked the board some questions:

How they picked the bidders

Had the structural engineer scoped- yes

Is he insured-yes

When did the bids come in- a year ago

Prices are down about 20% and should be renegotiated down-no
answer

He seemed to be good with how the board answered and would help if they asked him.

His last statement was to never go with an open ended contract!!

Vicki Ross- questioned if the board would go back to the contractor and renegotiate the price of their bid?- no answer

She also asked to hear the current balances of bank accounts.

George Carlin– mentioned that he received a notice to pay his maintenance just 14 days

after the first of the month- the board said this was a mistake

But mentioned that you are delinquent as of the 10th

Eleanor McNamara– said to refer to previous minutes of board meetings

Robbie Leifer- tried to speak about all monies spent and mentioned the carpet expense and was told this was not on the agenda      tonight.

EG- mentioned be have $88,000 in reserve – last year the board decided to put $50,000 was put on maintenance.(not so sure about this point) – the cost of water has skyrocketed

Maura Stevens– asked if the $22,000 goes back to the reserve?

Then EC called for a vote on the assessments and the vote was 7 in favor and 2 opposed (PR and KG)- assessment passed  Meeting ended.

Now Something Positive- The Garden Committee

Last night The Garden Committee met. John and Ester Sallee conducted the meeting as they are the new heads of this committee. There were about nine owners that came to praise, offer constructive ideas and projects, and to help.

John had a wonderful agenda and mission statement for us to follow. He is very committed to keeping our gardens and property looking their best. The first thing on the meeting’s agenda was to thank Randy Kirk for all his vision, knowledge and hard work.

I hope to get his agenda so I can publish it on this blog, so we can help or advise or comment.

We are meeting on Saturday morning to actually work on some of the projects he has put forth. Anyone wanting to help we are meeting at 8:30am this Saturday morning by the pool. Everyone is invited and encouraged to come as we need every able body.

The Sallee’s were also kind enough to provide wine and cheese for our meeting.

Please lets discuss and not bicker

Please no more blind comments and please sign all comments. And we really should stop name calling and try to be constructive with our comments. I will not censor any comments as that is not conforming to a relevant and open blog which this should be. A blog is open to all and a platform for everyone’s comments,  but they have to be identified. Own up!

Tenants that are seasonal residents

Just My Opinion:

I think it is very unfair to have a meeting on important issues in the middle of June. As you can see by looking up at our building a lot of people have left the area. People who are seasonal might believe that this meeting is deliberately late so those of you who live here all year round can have your way. I am glad I started this blog, even though it was not intended for this purpose, but isn’t it nice to see what people think that can not attend a meeting. I  will attend my first meeting and will take notes and post the meeting on the blog for all to see and hopefully receive  their opinion.

Also I do not think it is illegal to post a list of delinquent residents on this blog as my club does it each month and it really gets people to pay, and pay quickly.

I bought my apartment in late January and was shown a very healthy financial statement and was told that there was money to do all the things on the calendar and was also told not to expect an assessment in this calendar year…..5 months later we are talking assessment.

Vicki Ross

Blogology–the beauties of BLOGS

Memo to:  Portofino South Unit Owners
From:  J. Parker Reid
Subj:  New Portofino south Weblog (BLOG)
Date:  June 16, 2010

A week ago I sent out a letter, regarding Portofino South, listing certain observations, asking certain  question and making certain criticisms.  I stated that this letter would be posted on a new internet BLOG created by a Unit Owner here for Portofino South matters of interest.  This BLOG is titled “portofinosouth3800.wordpress.com” which you can reach on your computer through Google, Yahoo or other search engines.  Please single click any of the reference items on the right side of the page that you are interested in such as “Special Assessment Meeting”.  You can then read my letter and all the comments from other Portofino South contributors.  At the bottom of these comments you can then add your own.

Such BLOGs must have a so-called “Gatekeeper” (in our case the Unit Owner who created this BLOG) who previews all comments and uses judgment to keep out anything libelous, illegal, irrelevant (like spam) or grossly offensive.

Such posting are like letters to the editor of a newspaper for printing on the op/ed pages.

One Unit Owner called me whether any criticism would hurt our sales and rentals.  In my opinion the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT. Freewheeling participation of ideas can only make an organization BETTER.  Constructive criticism (including satire) is a pillar of American society’s health.  That’s why millions of foreigners invest here rather than in Russia, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela where freedom of the press to comment and criticize is severely repressed.

Portofino South BLOG comments can give our Unit Owners an idea of what other Unit Owners think about things.  For example, some like our new landscaping work–some don’t.  Some like the high pool temperature–some don’t.  Some like our pet Rules and Regulations–others are very critical.  Some want new corridor carpet—others don’t want to spend the money.

The new  BLOG will help all of us –Directors included–to get an idea of the extent of approval or disapproval of various matters of common concern.  We have 140 Unit Owners, many of whom are not here much.  This BLOG allows them to read what others feel and write what they feel.

Therefore, please participate.  As a Director my job is NOT to impose on you what I think but to represent you on what you think.  We have an important Special Assessment meeting next Monday, the 21st.  What’s decided then could seriously affect you moneywise.  Let’s hear from you.

Sincerely,            Parker Reid

P.S.   Again, the BLOG is “portofinosouth3800.wordpress.com