This past week has been a busy one for the board. We are working over 40 hours each week on the various issues before us.
Tackling the first one, ARS is exerting significant pressure on us to pay down some of the $11.7 million they claim we owe. Thus far, ARS has received $980,000 (our deductible) and about $3 million (from the insurance company).
We are currently working with our attorney regarding our next steps. We are all in agreement that the fees charged to us are totally unacceptable. To this end, the board is considering hiring a public adjuster. We are interviewing two candidates: Association Adjusting and Altieri Insurance Consultants, both out of Tampa. Their focus would be to represent us with the insurance company and bring in experts to support our case. They will audit and check the validity of ARS billing. Since the dismissal of MMA, filling this position helps us gain better understanding of our claim and expenses.
Next, as for the reconstruction phase of our redevelopment, the board will continue with the planning process. Those projects that are not fast tracked, we will put a temporary hold on construction expenses until we get a clearer understanding of expenses and claim reimbursement. We are developing a priority list which will be shared with you once complete.
With regards to voting on future projects, our attorney has reviewed our documents. Their findings indicate that a vote by the owners is not needed to make any repairs, upgrades, or changes to specifications of any portion of the property damaged by the hurricane. A vote of the owners will be needed if a $25,000 charge is made to non-damaged property. This means that most of our current projects under consideration will only need to be subject to board approval. An owner’s vote will be needed for proposed tiling outside of the lobby and new storm windows.
On a more positive note, the finance committee is recommending the board approve an antenna lease with a new company. They will provide greater income with the possibility of another antenna on the roof, meaning greater revenue.
The finance committee is also recommending to the board that the proposed $25K special assessment be paid in one lump sum. This will give us a working fund to start repairs and replacements while we wait for the insurance money. The committee also recommends the approval of the proposed quarterly HOA fee to be $3935.70. This will start on July 1, 2023 vs. Jan. 1, 2023, retroactively.
All these items will be discussed at Friday’s board meeting.
Q: Where is the money going for the special assessment.
A: Doors and windows 250K
Lanai and screen repair 250K
Paint and vents 1.2M
Wall replacement 700K
Generator repair 30K
Front gate intermediate repairs 50K
Site lighting 350K
A/C repairs 30K
Towers roof repairs 11K
This list totals just over $4 million which would be covered by the special assessment ($3.75M) plus added quarterly revenue for 2 quarters ($390K). All costs are our best projections currently.
We are in an environment where cost estimates, specifications, and circumstances are changing almost daily. The numbers that were projected yesterday have changed. Again, the need for a good public adjuster to help us with those projections.
A final comment. This has not been a good week. The board is working over 40 hours per week on these and many other issues. I personally have gone from optimistic, to pessimistic, to realistic, with several bouts of depression. Just the stress alone from the ARS situation is considerable. I have stated it in the past and say again that this is not the Fort Myers Beach of the past. Expect change, not all of which will be agreeable or pleasant. Thanks for your support and allowing me to vent.