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MARCH 11, 2010

ANNUAL BOARD MEETING

The Regency Tower Annual Members’ Meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. on March 11, 2010 in the Rendezvous Room by the Vice President.

MINUTES OF 2009 MEMBERS MEETING - Dott Nicholson-Brown made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 12, 2009 Regency Tower Annual Members’ Meeting. The motion was seconded by Dee Lanzillo and unanimously approved.

OPEN DISCUSSION - Prior to the open discussion, the Secretary was asked to read portions of rules sent to all owners on November 23, 2009 regarding unit owner participation at Board and Committee Meetings.

The floor was opened to Association Members. Several members spoke on various subjects, such as: questions regarding unit owners who are unable or refuse to pay maintenance fees, additional cameras recently installed to upgrade our security, exercise room cleaning, maintenance staff qualifications, painting of hallway doors, unit 1401, etc.

The meeting was recessed at 7:40 p.m. until the completion of the election results.

The meeting was resumed at approximately 8:30 p.m. for the tellers’ report of the election results.

REPORT OF ANNUAL ELECTION - David Tinsley, Chairperson of the Election Committee, reported as follows:

  • Number of ballots received: 159
  • Number of valid ballots: 140
  • Number of Disregarded (Invalid) Ballots: 19

The official results of the elections held for the three positions on the Board of Directors on March 11, 2010 are as follows:

  • Eileen Bendis – 59;
  • Eric P. Berkowitz – 80;
  • Steve Faigin – 58;
  • Catherine E. Lenz – 53;
  • Fern McBride – 90;
  • Jeffrey A. Olweean – 3 and
  • William R. Tennenbaum – 81.

These results were approved, signed and dated by all members of the election committee: David Tinsley, Chairperson, Charles Ghayad, Carole Rigney and Debi Tinsley. The official document was delivered to the Secretary of the Board.

The committee was thanked for the excellent job they performed as members of the Election Committee. The majority of the disregarded/invalid ballots were due to owners not following the legal procedure of placing their ballots in the small “ballot” envelope, which must be sealed and placed in the large envelope that is signed by the designated voting owner. Also, three owners voted two times which invalidated both of their ballots.

A motion was made by Eric Berkowitz and seconded by Dott Nicholson-Brown to accept the tellers’ report; the motion was unanimously approved.

Eric Berkowitz moved that the meeting be adjourned, seconded by Iris Anastasi, unanimously approved.

The Members’ Meeting was closed at 8:40 p.m.

REGULAR BOARD MEETING

Treasurer Bill Tennenbaum Gives Financial Update
TREASURER BILL
TENNENBAUM
After the Annual Members’ Meeting at 7:00 p.m. was recessed at 7:40 p.m., the regular meeting of The Regency Tower Board was called to order at 7:40 p.m. on Thursday, March 11, 2010 in the Rendezvous Room of The Regency Tower by the President.

Roll Call - The roll call showed the following Board Members present: Iris Anastasi, Eric Berkowitz, Stephen Collins, Dee Lanzillo, Fern McBride, Dott Nicholson-Brown and Bill Tennenbaum (via speakerphone).

Secretary Fern McBride
Secretary Fern McBride
Reading of Minutes -
A motion was made by Dott Nicholson-Brown to approve the minutes of the meeting of The Regency Tower Board of Directors held on December 16, 2009. Eric Berkowitz seconded the motion which was unanimously approved.

Financial Report - Treasurer Bill Tennenbaum gave a report reflecting the Association’s financial position as of March 10, 2010. (Reported financial details are available to Regency Tower owners in our newsletter, the “Regency Tower Times”. - editor)

A motion was made by Fern McBride to approve the Treasurer’s report, seconded by Stephen Collins, unanimously approved.

Committee Reports - President Dee Lanzillo then called for Committee Reports. Click Here to read the Committee Reports.

New Business - President Dee Lanzillo then called for New Business (Election of Officers).. Click Here to read New Business.

Announcements

  • In response to a request for members to join the new Social Committee, the following owners volunteered: Jeff Olweean, Heidi Boucher and Joyce Ramey.

  • Owners were encouraged to participate in the Food Drive the Galt Mile is involved with during the month of March.

Adjournment - A motion was made by Eric Berkowitz and seconded by Stephen Collins to adjourn the meeting at 8:35 p.m.; unanimously approved.

Fern McBride
Board Secretary

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COMMITTEE REPORTS

MARCH 2010

Architectural Review & Construction Committee
Eric Peter Berkowitz

Construction Committee Chair Eric Peter Berkowitz - Balconies are Finally Completed
ERIC - BALCONY RAILINGS
Time flies. I am delighted to announce that although there is no ongoing construction nor is any planned for the immediate future, Regency Tower residents continue to improve their homes. Since December, 9 of our neighbors submitted plans for architectural review. In 7 cases, the reviews were completed within 48 hours. In two cases, another two days were required to investigate certain Fort Lauderdale permitting requirements as per the unit owner’s request.

One unit owner expressed confusion over statements made in earlier architectural review reports about interior improvements that require licensed professionals. As repeated in numerous meetings, if installation of a plumbing fixture includes modifications to the unit’s existing pipes and/or drainage outlets, a licensed plumber is required. However, a licensed plumber is not required to ascertain whether a fixture or pipe is the source of a leak. In making such a determination, familiarity with each unit’s network of existing pipes and drains is a much more important factor. As such, while city code generally requires a licensed plumber to repair most leaks of a non-emergency nature, a licensed plumber is not required to certify the existence or source of a leak.

Preserve Coating on Balcony Railing
Preserve Coating on Balcony Railing
Since January, I’ve observed two instances of minor peeling on balcony railings. The original coating was applied in 1999. The railings were recoated electrostatically in 2006 at no charge - two years after the warranty expired. Given our proximity to the ocean and ongoing nearby construction, deterioration is expedited by halides, airborne construction debris, PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls) and other organic pollutants. However, the integrity of the coating can be prolonged by first cleaning the railings with soap and water or a non-abrasive cleanser followed by applying a thin layer of wax. For those of us lacking in ambition, a spray wax will suffice. After applying the wax, wiping the surface clean will remove most of the elements that contribute to the coating’s deterioration. If the coating blisters or peels, it can easily be repaired, thereby protecting the underlying aluminum. After scraping off any peeling material and cleaning the surface, applying a flat white enamel product will rehabilitate the railing’s coating. For assistance, contact the office and report the problem.

I’ve recently updated an information sheet about balcony railing maintenance, detailing how to add years to the useful life of the protective coating. Copies can be obtained from the office. I will also make it available for download from the Regency Tower web site. Thank you for your kind attention.

Click Here to download information sheet about balcony railing maintenance in WORD format.

Click Here to download information sheet about balcony railing maintenance in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

 

Stephen Collins discusses Landscaping
STEPHEN COLLINS
Landscaping Committee
Stephen Collins for Martin Rivas

A new Palm tree has been planted at the south entrance to the building. Additional Lantana was planted at the building entrance and exit. A Coconut Palm was added next to the pool heater housing. Green Island Ficus was planted for wind protection and existing plants were moved. Only $1900 was spent from the $2500 budget, saving us $600.

 

Maintenance & Housekeeping Committee
Dee Lanzillo

Maintenance Chair Dee Lanzillo has been EXTREMELY BUSY!
Dee - Wonder Woman!
Maintenance:

All of the projects mentioned on our last report have been completed. There is one last project which is the paver sealer. This will be done in the very near future, weather permitting.

Housekeeping:

Our maintenance crew is on mark with all of their duties to make sure our building is in excellent condition. They have painted and touched up hallway and elevator areas where needed.

CThanks to all of you for all of your efforts.

 

Security Report
Carlos Pereira, Chief of Security

New Regency Tower Security Chief Carlos Pereira
SECURITY CHIEF CARLOS PEREIRA
(Carlos Pereira, read by the Secretary)

The Holiday season came and passed way too fast.

There is a popular phrase that’s says: “Time flies when we are having fun.”

In the name of all employees, we hope you have a 2010 full of health and prosperity where all your wishes are realized with God’s permission.

Thank You Book Because of our commitment to keep this building the most secure and safe building on the Galt, we just finished another step forward towards this goal. We installed on each floor cameras that will primarily monitor the elevator waiting areas. Last summer we suggested this action after receiving too many reports complaining about missing decorations on the tables; picture frames being taking from the walls; people tampering with the floor radio and creating a mess in the trash room. Due to this, I requested, that suggestion made by an owner last year be implemented. I was granted this solution to stop these events from occurring. At each monthly management staff meeting, I reported on the progress to get 5 contractors to bid on a maintenance contract for all existing cameras as well as installation of new cameras. Finally selected the same contractor used by the Galt Ocean Club for the same type of work.

Thank You Book Most of all, thanks to our Treasurer, Mr. Bill Tennenbaum and all Board of Directors for their extra efforts of digging in the budget to find some needed funds to improve our safety and security around the weak points in our building.

Security Manual We continue to hold monthly security meetings discussing unusual situations which occurred since last meeting and to go over situations based in our Safety and Security books and handbooks. All training is to improve our commitments to all building residents, guests and visitors including contractors, keeping this building safe and secure but making it a pleasure to come in and to be treated well.

Thanks Please remember that your cooperation and suggestions to the Board are always welcomed.

God bless you all.

Carlos on the Job! Safety Tip: When you ride your bicycle in the garage, please obey the same rules as a car to get in through the right (South side) and ride out through the left (North side). This will avoid accidents.

 

We Care Committee
Dott Nicholson-Brown

We Care Committee Member Dott Nicholson-Brown of Regency Tower Angel Squad
Dott Nicholson-Brown
Regency Tower "Angel Squad"

There were four people reported to Administration, two illnesses and two deaths.

Deaths

  • John Pacella (308)

  • Jack Holthoefer (Former Security Guard)

Illnesses

  • Kathi Robins (1601)

  • Helen Roberts (1209)

 

Web Site Committee
Eric Peter Berkowitz

Stay Current - Keep Informed
Eric Peter Berkowitz
Email the Governor NOW!
The Regency Tower web site had 96,300 hits and 3,867 unique site visits in December. In January, we had 94,103 hits and 4,698 first timers. The site had 105,819 hits in February, along with 3,283 unique site visits. Countries other than the United States from which the most February hits were sourced are Canada, Poland, Brazil, Malaysia, Israel, Netherlands, Italy, Egypt, United Kingdom, Mexico, France, Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago, Monaco, Portugal, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, India, Hungary and Australia.

Regency Tower, like our neighboring associations, spent the past year squeezing nickels. Maintenance costs for Regency South, an association that mirrors the Regency Tower in size, residency demographics and operational requirements, increased by 15%, almost twice the increase reflected in our budget. Additionally, half of our increase represents a proactive campaign to build reserves, a critical component to future fiscal stability. Excluding collections dedicated to reserves, our operational increase is among the lowest along the Galt Mile. However, this relatively rosy picture is misleading.

During 2009, the agenda of nearly every association board meeting along the Galt Mile was footnoted with the current and future impact of foreclosures on association finances. We enjoy an extremely low foreclosure rate. Should that change, our maintenance costs could skyrocket. That, and an upcoming legislative threat, represents the real wolf at our door. While ten units in foreclosure will incrementally raise everyone’s maintenance by 5%, the failure to enact sprinkler retrofit relief could add over a $million to our assessments, payable over the next three budgets.

March 15, 2010 - A special meeting of The Regency Tower Board was called to order at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, March 15, 2010 in the Rendezvous Room of The Regency Tower by the President. It was stated that the purpose of this special meeting is for the election of officers following the March 11, 2010 Board of Director elections.

Fern McBride made a motion that the Board of Directors retain the same officers as last year. The motion was seconded by Dott Nicholson-Brown and unanimously approved.

The Officers are:

  • President Dee Lanzillo

  • Vice President Eric P. Berkowitz
  • Secretary Fern McBride
  • Treasurer Bill Tannenbaum

The Secretary thanked and expressed appreciation to the Election Committee, David Tinsley, Chairperson, Charles Ghayad, Carole Rigney and Debi Tinsley, for the great job they did in counting the ballots on March 11, 2010.

A motion was made by Eric Berkowitz and seconded by Stephen Collins to adjourn the meeting at 10:10 a.m.

Fern McBride
Board Secretary

Security Upgrade

On February 22rd, an article was posted on the Regency Tower web site that addressed the retrofit issue and called attention to a City of Fort Lauderdale program designed to enhance municipal revenues at the expense of our snowbird neighbors. In summary, the new red light camera enforcement system being installed at the City’s ten most dangerous intersections will funnel about $1.8 million into the City Treasury, primarily from unsuspecting visitors and “snowbirds,” who statistically comprise the majority of vehicle owners tagged at camera equipped intersections. In addition to listing the sites selected for surveillance by Fort Lauderdale, the article reveals additional nearby locations chosen by the City of Oakland Park for a similar, as yet undisclosed, set of camera traps.

Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff Sponsors Retrofit Relief Bill
Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff
Of course, the threatened retrofit assessment portends a far greater impact for Regency Tower residents. It entails the installation of a sprinkler head in every unit foyer as well as certain common areas. It was rated by the insurance industry as offering no life safety benefit, rendering it ineligible for any premium reduction. In fact, the prospect of flood damage from false alarms and system malfunctions will increase premium costs. Assessment estimates run from $500,000 to over $2 million. Fortunately, House Bill 561 filed by Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff could return the sprinkler retrofit decision back to the homeowners who must live with and pay for that decision. Unlike previous retrofit relief bills, instead of simply postponing the installation deadline from 2014 to 2025, the new bill would empower high rise associations to fully opt out of any installation and the attendant assessment. The bill also contains a litany of insurance and operational “fixes” that will lower costs for associations and unit owners. The provisions of this bill were unanimously approved by the House and Senate last year, only to be vetoed by Governor Crist, whose approval ratings were at their zenith when he chose to support the Sprinkler Associations and the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union over nearly 2 million voting association members across the state.

Governor Crist and former Statehouse Speaker Marco Rubio
Governor Crist and Marco Rubio
Since then, Crist’s Senatorial campaign has suffered serious reversals, given the heated competition for the Florida Senate seat by former Statehouse Speaker Marco Rubio and Democrat contender Kendrick Meek. After losing 16 straight County Republican Committee polls (including in Pinellas, Crist’s home county), Crist was bypassed by Rubio in the Quinnipac University and Rasmussen polls in January.

Shortly after indicating support for the new relief bill, Governor Crist executed one of his classic “flip-flops”, suggesting at a briefing that he may again veto the legislation. The Governor’s political handlers are weighing the impact of his retrofit position on his Senatorial campaign. The Sprinkler Associations have offered campaign finance access to their deep pockets while assuring the Governor that most association members aren’t deeply concerned about the $multi-million assessment required to fund a sprinkler retrofit. In short, the Governor’s political bean counters are tracking feedback from the associations like ours to determine if the damage to his Senatorial aspirations is far-reaching - as stated by lawmakers and association advocates - or negligible - as claimed by Sprinkler Association lobbyists.

Click to Community Advocacy Network (CAN) web site Along with the 1,800 associations in the Community Advocacy Network (CAN) and the 4,000 associations in the Community Association Leadership Lobby (CALL), Regency Tower has joined with other Galt Mile associations in a campaign to contact the Governor and indicate support for this legislation. The contact information for Governor Charlie Crist is posted following the article. Also posted are email links for Governor Crist, Lieutenant Governor Jeffrey Kottkamp, Florida CFO Alex Sink (the State Fire Marshal and Gubernatorial candidate) and Division of State Fire Marshal Director Julius Halas, all of whom are likely to be consulted by Crist about this issue during the current legislative session.

The Bottom Line: Whether or not you will have to pony up $8,000 to $18,000 to subsidize a big-time payday for the Sprinkler Associations is in your hands. If YOU ask the Governor to support HB 561, we could avoid a huge assessment. If you leave it to others... we might not. Take sixty seconds to help send this pork project to the Tallahassee bone yard. Send an email, letter or fax – or make a telephone call to the Governor and request his support for the retrofit relief in HB 561. After all... it’s your money!

Governor Crist and Senator George LeMieux
Sen. LeMieux and Gov. Crist
P.S. After a Town Meeting convened by U.S. Senator George LeMieux at the Beach Community Center this past Monday, the Senator agreed to carry our message to Governor Crist. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler also asked the Senator to pass along a resolution just passed by the City Commission that supports House Bill 561.

GMCA President Pio Ieraci
GMCA Pres. Pio Ieraci
P.S.S. Two days later, Governor Crist contacted GMCA President Pio Ieraci and asked if he and a small contingent would meet with him the next morning for breakfast at the Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Ieraci called GMCA Vice President Eric Berkowitz and Community Advocacy Network Executive Director Donna Berger, two allies whose intimate familiarity with the history and the issues surrounding the sprinkler retrofit statute would prove invaluable for the next morning’s meeting with the Governor.

Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale
Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale
On Thursday, March 11th, we met at the Hotel’s Indigo Restaurant and brought the Governor up to speed about the devastating impact this ill conceived mandate would have on associations and unit owners struggling to survive. Crist said that his office was flooded with thousands of emails and letters attesting to the terrible strain on homeowners and characterizing this additional obligation as unnecessary and unconscionable.

Click to ISO web site Describing how foreclosures were precipitating fiscal chain reactions that threatened associations with dissolution, Ieraci estimated that “10 to 15% of our unit owners would be forced out by a sprinkler retrofit.” He continued “The remaining owners would then be assessed the resulting shortfall, pushing out another 10%.” After pointing out that the insurance industry (ISO) rated the retrofit as unworthy of any premium reduction – clear evidence that the claimed “life safety benefit” was a myth, Berkowitz added “Placing sprinkler heads in unit foyers and common areas of high rise concrete block buildings was never intended for extinguishing fires – in the past 30 years, not one fire-related injury in Florida would have been prevented by compliance with this statute.”

Eric Berkowitz, Pio Ieraci, Gov Crist & Donna Berger Discuss Retrofit Relief Bill
Eric Berkowitz, Pio Ieraci, Gov Crist & Donna
Berger Discuss Retrofit Relief Bill
Every state based its fire code on the “Life Safety Code” developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The Florida Fire Protection Code is similarly built around this well respected set of guidelines. Donna Berger, an activist attorney with impeccable credentials as an expert in association law, asked the Governor if he was aware that when every other state incorporated the life safety code provisions into State law, they exempted existing structures from retrofit compliance. The Governor did a double take and asked “Is that true?” Berger responded “Florida is the only State in the union that didn’t grandfather compliance for existing high rise buildings when the statute was implemented.” Evidently, the Florida Fire Sprinkler industry wasn’t satisfied by the prospect of installing thousands of systems in new buildings. They refused to leave $billions in retrofit business on the table.

Gov Crist kills Calypso at Beach Community Center last February
Gov Crist Kills Calypso Gas plant last
February at Beach Community Center
Governor Crist said that he would continue to monitor the reaction of association residents as the legislation progressed through the committee process although he was considering the retrofit relief legislation favorably and planned to “do the right thing.” As we headed for the exit, he reminded us about a Town Hall meeting at the Beach Community Center last February, wherein he triumphantly proclaimed that he would kill plans to build the Calypso Liquefied Natural Gas plant off the Galt Mile beach. Reminiscing about the 300 attendees who spontaneously bathed him in a 15 minute post-announcement standing ovation, he asked “Do you suppose we could arrange another Town Hall meeting for this?”

Click Here for a review of the retrofit relief provision in HB 561. Click Here for a comprehensive enumeration of all the provisions in HB 561. Click Here for a detailed summary of the meeting with Governor Crist. More importantly, keep grinding out those letters and emails. To do it the easy way, Click Here for pre-formatted email links. Take 60 seconds to save $thousands$...

Thank you for your kind attention.

 

NEW BUSINESS

MARCH 2010

Election of Officers

Click to Big Red Communications Web Site March 11, 2010 - A motion was made by Bill Tennenbaum that the Board ratify the prior decision to continue the security upgrade by using Big Red Communications at the cost of $11,412. plus any taxes that are applicable.

The motion was seconded by Fern McBride. The motion passed with six yeas and one nay. Iris Anastasi opposed the motion.

 

NOTICES & REMINDERS

APRIL 2010

Annual FireAlarm Test

The Regency Tower Annual Fire Alarm test is scheduled for Monday, September 14th and Tuesday, September 15th between 9 am and 4:30 PM.

We regret any inconvenience caused by the irritating alarm sounds that are unfortunately integral to these tests. The tests, in compliance with the NFPA-72 safety code, are required by law and are will insure that our system continues to effectively protect our lives and property.

Click to Advanced Fire & Security The tests will be conducted under the supervision of Advanced Fire & Security, Inc., our fire safety company. They advise us that "If the Property is an apartment/condo complex or hotel and there are devices in individual rooms or units that are associated with the fire alarm, make arrangements for entry with a property representative to accompany us."

Audible Sounds will occur!

Unit Entry is Necessary!

"Thank you for your cooperation." Advanced Fire & Security will enter all areas containing alarm initiating and indicating devices. This includes owner occupied areas in condos/office buildings.

Sprinkler Retrofit Assessment

Governor Charlie Crist and Florida CFO Alex Sink
Governor Charlie Crist and
Florida CFO Alex Sink
The 2009 Legislative Session’s sole surviving association bill is
SB 714, by Senator Dennis Jones. In addition to ameliorating a wide range of association “glitch” issues including insurance, board elections, fire alarm systems, Timeshare Condominiums and back-up generators for elevators; the bill contains a long anticipated postponement of the $multi-million fire sprinkler retrofit, delaying an onerous mandated condominium assessment from 2014 to 2025. Recent bids for 200 to 300 member associations range from $1.4 million to $4.76 million. Lawmakers concerned with the crippling cost of this retrofit opted to provide this financial relief for association members, identifying its potential for inflaming foreclosures.

Unfortunately, since Florida CFO Alex Sink is also the Florida State Fire Marshal, political entanglements have prompted her to threaten a veto. Please contact the Governor and/or Florida CFO Alex Sink to ask their support for this bill. Feel free to use (cut and paste) the text in the above paragraph if sending an email. Simply click on the email addresses below to email the Governor and/or the CFO.

You can email Governor Crist and express your support for SB 714 at Charlie.Crist@myflorida.com

Also, please email Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink today and ask that she support SB 714 at Alex.Sink@MyFloridaCFO.com

Not interested? OK – start squirreling away money for a sizable assessment. For more information about Senate Bill 714, Click Here. To access legislative data about SB 714 on the Florida Senate web site, Click Here. Rather send a letter or fax? Here's their contact info:

Governor Charlie Crist
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Phone: 850-488-7146
Fax: 850-487-0801
Email: Charlie.Crist@myflorida.com
Alex Sink, Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida
200 East Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0300

Phone: 850-413-3100
Email: Alex.Sink@MyFloridaCFO.com

 

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