Email Newsletter from Portofino South Management?

There are numerous ongoing projects (the elevator out for maintenance, hallway lights selection, sauna refurb, parking lot repaving, AT&T cell tower installation, TV in social room, new pedestrian gate to Flagler) and it would be wonderful if the management would send email project updates (maybe once a week?) to inform those who are interested on progress. It also could help keep the management accountable and encourage better communication within our community.


May 17 2016-Board Meeting, Portofino South

Present:  Officers:  Martha Lee, Pam Kittinger-Fuller, Greg D’Elia, and Helen MacDonald.  Members present:  Margie Daley, by phone, Betse Gori,  Keith Gornick, by phone,  Parker Reid,  and John Schaefer, by phone.  Frank Lagalante, Property Manager and Brigette Muglia, Office Manager.

Meeting called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Martha Lee.  She called for approval of the April, 2016 meeting minutes which were approved by the Board.

Greg D’Elia gave his Treasurer’s Report

Frank Lagalante gave his Manager’s report.  1) Cooling Tower still being looked at by engineers.  He suggested postponing the project till the fall. It will cost $800 to shore up the structure itself.  Recommended to just refurbish the existing unit.  What will the total costs for this project be?  Big Expense.  Let’s get what we have to do in place.  What will the remodeling encompass versus a new tower? The remodeling would involve taking the present tower apart and rebuilding it so it would basically become a new tower    2) Asphalt Drainage site.  The survey prepared by the engineers is waiting to be signed off.  3)  Elevators.  Met with new Company (Shindler) who promised him they would pay closer attention to our elevators in the future.  Frank to stay on them. 4) Sauna:  New materials expected week of May 31st.   5) In anticipation of the Hurricane season Frank did a lot of tree trimming outside himself.  6) He mentioned that the Tower’s concrete walls are being restored. Valerie Barto asked him about the information she gave him regarding fixing the tower.

Credentials Committee:  Margie Daley said there was no report.

Pool Committee: no report.

Decoration Committee:  Barbara Tattersfield spoke on behalf of the committee, additional reports from Doug Cochrane on the acoustical ceilings and Greg D’Elia on the lighting.  She talked about the areas in the building being looked at.  1) Lighting in Hallways which are long and dark.  2) Acoustical Ceilings.  3) Elevator vestibules on each floor as well as Elevator interiors.  4)  Refurbishing the Card Room.  Different committee members looked at specific areas and came back with plans and costs.   Barbara asked a question regarding funding costs so as to be able to move forward on these projects.

Greg talked about the three lights on order at Capital Lighting.  They will be installed on the first floor so that residents can see and vote on the one they like.  Prices ranged from $155 to $210.  Want to stay in the $200 range as we will need 240 units as a total order, 212 installed, remainder as backups.  Current lights very old and we do not have parts to fix them or backups.  New ones use LED lights which burns at 6 watts, a huge savings over current costs for building lighting.

Doug showed us a larger smooth ceiling tile sample.  We will need 26,000 square feet of new ceiling for the entire building.  Betse Gori asked what else could be done at the same time.  Answer a new chair rail and baseboards.   No room for trim at ceiling levels because we have low ceilings.  Going down the hallways they are trying to do the best they can with the money we have. Both the replacement of the ceilings and lighting will increase the longevity of the building and make it more attractive along with the cost saving factor.  Money is the issue, again where does the money come from to do these things?  ADA mandates that the light fixtures themselves cannot protrude more than 4 inches from the wall.  Lighting and ceiling tiles will be done first.  Helen MacDonald said some of this is maintenance for the building.  Totals cost estimate is approximately $215,000 to $225,000 for all the capital improvements.  We will need to assess to pay for them.  There have been no assessments in for eight years.   However, we still need concrete numbers for the cost of lighting, ceiling tiles, paving and drainage for parking lot.   Residents will have time to pay for this assessment by spreading it out. Greg said the building is 45 years old, everything is original, and it needs to be maintained.  Betse Gori suggested assessing for parking lot, cooling tower and roof, painting, lighting and ceiling projects.

Once again this assessment figure is based on getting more concrete numbers for lighting, ceiling tiles, cooling tower, pavement/drainage and painting.

Meeting adjourned.

Note:  These minutes were taken by Joan McAuliffe, as accurately as possible, any omissions or mistakes in their original content is solely my responsibility.



PS Condo Meeting April 19,2016

PS Condo Meeting April 19 2016

Members Missing: MD,KG,ML

PK conducted the meeting
Our insurance agent came to give us another option to our present policy with Citizens
Which has to be renewed by this Tuesday. He apologized for the lateness but he said
He was waiting for quotes.
The other insurance policy would be with American Coastal. The yearly fee would be much less
But there would not be any guarantee that next year they would not raise it surpassing what
Citizen would charge us. We got a$10,000 raise from last year. At Citizen we are considered
A grand father client so we have some guarantees that we might not have with a new
company. The deductibles are different
The board has to decide whether to switch or stay with Citizen. Our building is valued at $29 million and the appraisal was done in2013
IL from the audience suggested that the agents should make a spread sheet of the two different
Policies. Good idea !
JM from the audience asked if he considered any other insurance companies- answer United
andHeritage declined.

Manager’s Report:
The forum on April 5th was successful and the next one is May 3rd

Cooling Tower: still on going investigation

Asphalt and Drainage the same as above

The manager is not pleased with the new elevator company. They are even more expensive. each month

Sauna – GD suggested a carpenter to do the installation. He will charge $ 1900. The board said ok except BG who abstained then changed to nay.

There was a core study of the roof and it might not have to be totally redone but only patched.

The Decorating Committee:
Has met and will be ready for the May meeting

Condo Docs are at the attorney and ready soon

A basket on the door – is my door – the discussion went on for a long time and will be reported on separately in this blog.

TV for the card room. H M proposed the buying of it by the social committee approximately $1000 for a 55 / 60 inch but the monthly cable fee is to be paid by the association-$900 per year

there was a vote and it would not have past if GD had not changed his vote from nay to yea

BG said there has to be a set of rules in place.

Condo Meeting March 15, 2016

Portofino South, West Palm Beach, Board Meeting March 15, 2016

All board members present except K G who called in around the middle of the meeting.

It was announced that the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00pm going forward, Frank the manager will hold an open meeting. He invites all condo owners to come in and ask questions or voice complaints.

Martha board president mentioned that the four white boxes surrounding the entrance fountain were removed since nothing will grow because of the wind and chemicals in the fountain.

Martha also mentioned that the board would be willing to take questions or comments from the audience after the board has discussed a topic

A letter from B L about the website was brought up by BG. She said she had not seen it before she saw it in her packet before the meeting. H M said she had received it a week ago and took it upon herself to answer it. She read her letter saying the board had chosen the least costly option and the purpose of informing the owners was achieved. BG said the website was inadequate and that it was not generating that much info. GD mentioned that they had looked at much more expensive websites and rejected them. He had not been on the website yet. BG mentioned that condo owners should be automatically notified with new postings….one service which does that is called Constant Contact. The office said they were looking in to it.

GD gave financials: two condos in arrears for two months

Pool Discussion:

The total cost of repair was around $31,000. Still holding final payment as there are four missing tiles.

BG wanted a full accounting for the pool.

Pool project is complete and the temperature is holding at 86 degrees. Seems there is no more water leaking. Before it was leaking 3 to 4 inches a day. Auto fill is working.

Cooling Tower:

As it is so old that the whole thing might have to be rebuilt, we are talking about a large amount to repair. Engineer is being sought for this project.

Redoing the parking lots:

Redoing the parking lots is complicated by drainage problems. The board was given two engineers to choose from.

As there are three coats of sealant already on it, to fix sinkholes the ground must be dug up at least one or two feet for it to be refinished. The drainage problem could be handled in two different ways either by laying new pipe or by blowing new pipes into the old ones.

The city will get involved and will demand handicap parking on this side and dividers every 10 spaces. We will have to conform to current city code. We will lose some spaces.

We will have to hire site planners and landscapers who hopefully can deal with the city

This project could run about $500,000.00. Timeline is about 4 months.

M L asked if we could appeal some code requirements. It was mentioned that is what the site planners can help us do.



Frank’s work to clean it up was not successful so it has to be redone. Estimates were given for the special wood and the installation which is separate. Labor would be around $ 2500 ( Designer Builder)and cost of wood ( Finlanda) is about $2525. Board did not approve the expense as only one carpenter bid had been submitted.

A guest in # 912 was interviewed as she is staying longer than a month.

Decorating committee met

The audience asked:

Do you have flip or transfer taxes in Florida?

We should have a project manager as these jobs are so large and technical. We have three large jobs to complete and coordinated.

We are lucking to have Greg doing as much as he does.

PR said if we are thinking of spending such large amounts of money we should try to get good estimates for the projects and then tell the condo owners, who might want to sell their apartments.

All these contracts must be sent to the lawyer for review. The pool contract wasn’t sent to the lawyer, as it adds expense up front.

Frank called the insurance people and the pool lighting is sufficient for extended night hours. The pool is now open till 9:30 along with the barbecue.

Hopefully people will be respectful of noise. Doorman should be called with noise complaint and to check if the grill is shut off.

Status of the Docs:

BG deferred to PA

Once the docs (containing bylaws, rules & regulations, articles of incorporation) are finished the lawyer has instructed the board to give them to the condo owners for a yes or no vote, all or nothing. They have been in the works for about three years. The rules and regulations must be in your declaration of condo by laws, not separate, or they have no teeth.

Sauna Overhaul: Some Considerations

This post was written by an owner.

It is my understanding that the Portofino South condo association board will vote March 15 on the overhaul of our sauna near the pool. I gave our management a quote I had procured from Finlandia Sauna to provide new pre-cut wood and benches for about $2,000 (Installation would have to be provided by us or another contractor). I wrote about problems with the sauna that I believe warrant its overhaul in this post last year, and I believe that the sauna suffered from improper maintenance by our staff and poor use practices by residents. Today I want to provide some considerations to the management and board before deciding on approving this expense:

  1. Staff should have scheduled maintenance of the sauna.

Although I am not an expert on sauna maintenance, I envision this maintenance would look like weekly mopping of the concrete floor and cleaning of the wood benches with a mild cleanser.

  1. Staff should research and use sauna-specific cleaners.

The wood in the sauna is not finished deck furniture. In order for the sauna to operate properly, the wood is heat-treated but not sealed. This makes the wood more fragile than deck furniture. I would recommend that appropriate cleaners and procedures for cleaning unfinished wood be researched and used instead of “whatever we have lying around.”

  1. All maintenance and cleaning staff should be informed of these procedures.

If more people know how to take care of the facility, in unusual situations such as termination of an employee, sickness of the primary maintainer, etc., others on staff will be able to care for the sauna in the correct way. Management should hold a meeting with all applicable staff members to demonstrate the techniques and provide translation to Spanish as necessary.

  1. Expectations of resident users should be clearly posted.

Before I came to Portofino, I had never used a non-commercial sauna. Procedures such as putting a clean towel down under all body parts, proper ventilation of the sauna following use, etc. should be clearly posted outside the sauna door with a permanent sign (not a typed sheet stuck in to a plastic sheet protector). Management may ask the sauna company about proper use procedures. Residents can take responsibility for proper use of this facility.

  1. A properly shutting door should be installed. Whether or not the door should be left open should be determined.

Chlorinated water spray from the pool, as well as salty ocean spray, can have negative effects on the wood, such as warping, and on the metal heating unit. Unfortunately, the sauna opens directly to the outdoors and to the pool deck. The door should be properly sealed to keep out these elements. Residents should be instructed to keep the door completely closed at all times (although, I believe the sauna has no internal vent, so perhaps the door has to be open after use for ventilation?). Management may ask the sauna company about proper ventilation procedures for our particular situation.

  1. Old wood should be completely removed before installing new wood.

All existing varnished materials should be removed prior to the installation of our beautiful new top-grade Cedar. Although it would be easier to nail the new wood on top of the existing wood, this practice would still leave sauna users exposed to the scent and potentially toxic fumes of the varnish that still remains in parts of the old wood.


Although the sauna is in a difficult location regarding exposure to the elements, I believe with proper use and care the sauna will be a unique, health-conscious, and luxurious amenity of Portofino South for many years to come.

Brent L

Condo Board Meeting February 16, 2016

card room, Portofino South, West Palm Beach

All board members in attendance except KG and HM on the telephone.

Martha commented that those who missed the Valentine Party missed a great party.

Financial repo­­rt

Manager’s report – Security Cameras, Pool, Parking Lot Repavement

New parking lot security cameras and lights are installed and working.

The pool will be ready by this Monday, February 22, or Tuesday, Feb 23.

They found three unexpected layers of tile and many more leaks than they thought. Five leaks were found in the existing gutters.

When it is done it will take 1 day to fill. We were probably losing 2 to 3 inches of water a day.

Gregg figured that was costing us $8000 to $12,000 a year

Parking lot repaving is next on the to-do list, with the contractor in the planning stages. No estimated time frame was given for start of on-site work.

We might have to change parking plan to adhere to current code, adding disabled parking on this side of the lots. Need a planner to design the area?

Pool Activities Committee report

KC, co-chair of the Pool Activities Committee, reported.

They met the Sunday before the condo meeting. 2 board members attended and 4 owners. Her co-chair suggested extending the pool hours so people that work can enjoy the pool. They suggested 9:00pm instead of 8:00pm which is the current close time.

She also brought up that some owners were complaining about the noise from a swimming instructor during her lessons with two children from the building.  HM commented that she thought we were being too strict about children’s noise. I think the committee was not targeting the children but the instructor. BG brought up the insurance liability of the instructor, and GD and Frank said that was not an issue as they had spoken to a lawyer about this situation.

BG indicated she had not known about this discussion with the lawyer and has many times not been kept abreast of important decisions or private discussions of other board members and management, and that all members of the board should be informed about all conversations and decisions relevant to the board. Another board member said that Frank should be consulted to find out all current positions as he is the “repository of information” for the board.

They suggested more lighting especially near the porch stairs leading to the pool deck from the building.

VR reported a renter was sitting on the porch chairs moved down to the pool deck, but the board did not think that was against any laws.

Decorating Committee

GD mentioned there was a decorating committee which had met twice. One of the areas of discussion of this committee is the hall lights.

Vote to Extend Pool Hours and to Research Additional Pool Lighting

The lighting of the pool was spoken about. It should be increased if we are extending the hours of the pool.

Frank had suggested a plan and a price he was quoted of $7500, but an owner from the audience said she had just had something similar done at her house and she had a much better price.

The board voted to extend the hours of the pool and the barbecue to 9:30pm, but only if the lights were addressed for safety. Flood light placement was discussed. Concerns were that new light poles would make the pool area look like a Publix parking lot, and that lights must be positioned so that they do not glare in to second and third story units. The manager urged caution in the vote, as the office would be the ones receiving noise complaints if leaving the pool area open longer would lead to noise later at night.

Frank mentioned residents are not allowed in the pool after dark, even though the stated pool closing time has been 8:00pm. This was disputed, as some board members believed pool use was allowed until the closing time.

Legislation that might Affect Portofino

HM suggested that the board or the condo’s legal staff look at Florida Legislature House Bill # 1357, even though it is currently directed at buildings of 500 units or more.

Sauna and Meeting Adjournment

The Board never asked for any questions from the audience.

An owner asked to have the issue of the damaged sauna added to the next board meeting’s agenda, and was told that he had to speak to Frank for possible inclusion.


Just My Opinion

-Portofino South, West Palm Beach

I am sure the board and some owners will be very unhappy about my opinions below but we are not invited to speak at the meetings so as owners and the people that elected this board we have no outlet to question any of their decisions. The building has a new website and that was not even discussed at the meeting. Those meetings just make people mad and frustrated so very few people attend. Bravo to Betsy for questioning some things.

The Pool

Yes, it was only supposed to take 5 working days but as Frank explained last night at the board meeting they found multiple problems thus the longer time. Since the pool is part of the original structure of the hotel, of course, there would be multiple problems. Since a lot of said problems were in the over flow part when whatever company estimated the job did not they investigate this. Also this company seems like a band of loose people. Where is the supervisor, uniforms, company trucks? And why are we allowing them to park their personal vehicles in non-parking spots. They leave the pool each night like a garbage heap. There are of course overages in costs. Each project that the building tackles there is a complication. The roof and the repaying of the parking lots are next. What company fixed our pool? Does anyone know?

(yes someone knows and the company is Skyler Pools and it does not have a good report on Same issue of taking forever to fix or build a pool.) Ever hear of google before you employ someone? Also checked  in Coconut Creek and there were two similar complaints about time and issues never resolved. These two users are thinking of suing this pool company.

Illegal rentals and boarders.

Apt 808 has just been redone and is not waiting the two-year rule to rent it. He has had two different ” guests” that have signed in for three days each. When I have guests they usually stay with their hosts? These owners started the same way with apt 903 and continued to get away with it …not obeying the rules. Do we still have an apt with a boarder? It has been discussed at board meetings but I do not think it has been dealt with.

Our entrance looks very bare

The white boxes have been taken away. I cannot believe that we cannot find a plant species that will grow in that spot, what about all these gorgeous lush PB gardens on the beach that populate the island. If all else fails there are some fabulous fake trees or plants that would give the area a little pizazz. Also the hedge at the northern front end of the parking lot has to be replaced, it has been dying for months.

There is a new decorating committee

Announced at the meeting. who is on it? Someone I know in the building was asked

Led to believe she was on it and then called and told the committee was full. Such community well feeling in this building… it always amazes me.

I do not know why the building refuses to have a fire drill

We had last week another stove fire which turned out to be no flames but a lot of smoke.

It was started by a guest but the doorman had no telephone number for her as she never registered as a guest. The guest did the wrong thing by opening the front door so the smoke went into the hall. Some apts on the 9th floor were alerted that there was a fire and we should leave our apts and walk down the stairs. One couple on the floor did not know where the stairs were. People came up from the lobby via the elevator to help and see what was going on. I thought you were not supposed to use the elevators during a fire? At least 10 people called the doorman to ask if they should evacuate. The door man was very calm and tried to do his best but did not know that he could get on the intercom and tell all the apts that the fire was not serious and they did not have to walk down the stairs. I walked down 9 floors!

Don’t you think it would be a good thing to educate us condo owners how to conduct ourselves during a fire? It was chaos on the floor.

Notices near the mailboxes

For notices such as meeting announcements and board meeting agenda: The font is too small and too high up for people to read.

I also feel having a locked bulletin board isn’t very democratic. I wanted to post something and it was rejected by the office as it was advertising a service.

Lets start to think Smart and Green and Forward.

How about solar lights in the parking lot and the perimeter?

How about a green roof? There are builders in WPB that are installing these and since we have to redo our roof why not look into it?

When doing the parking area over how about a few outlets for electric cars?

Construction During Season:

Since there are new rules but they have not been given out construction goes on during PB high season. The window replacements in # 1102 started at 8:30am one morning last week. I went to the office and Frank spoke to them too late I was up, I went up as my terrace was full of pieces of cement and of course rudely spoken to by the installers. I also noticed that they were using the electricity from a hallway outlet, we are paying for that, down to Frank and he allowed them to continue. I believe that we should not have any noisy construction during season and someone has to monitor it closely. Glass fell on my downstairs neighbor’s terrace. I suggested to Frank that the contractor should be billed for clean-up and if there is no electricity bring a generator. Even though the windows are done all the sawing for the interior of the apt is done on the terrace and it continues. I think we are in the 4th or 5th week of construction noise.

Yesterday on the ninth floor there were white footsteps on the carpet coming from construction in #904. Also the workmen used our laundry sink to wash out their tools or brushes. Do I want to put my clothes in this sink to perhaps prewash?

Wouldn’t it be a good idea for Frank before he ­leaves to check if all this construction isn’t migrating to other areas.


Notices for meetings could be printed in a larger font and placed lower so we might be able to read them. Also, if someone volunteers to chair a meeting there should be some respect from the board during said meeting. I have been on three committees: one I was fired from, second one I worked with a partner to gather a lot of info and it was ignored and the last one I was told it was asked to leave as it was just for board members despite non board members were present.

I get the hint no more meetings for me !!

Your old Toilet

The state of Florida will give you a $120 rebate if you want to replace your old one for a newer model. The newer toilets use a lot less water and they are trying to save water. The rebate is part of the Water Smart Program.

The above is just my opinion and written to start a dialogue. Please leave comments and give at least a partial name to identify yourself.