Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday afternoon

I was up at 9:00 a.m. and attended the annual condo meeting at 10:00. My neighbor across the hall, who takes care of my cats when I'm out of town and whose cat I take care of when he's out of town, got the most votes for the new board. He's also the most qualified, with a Florida "Community Association Manager" license and a college degree. Currently he manages an Art Deco condo/hotel on South Beach.

The condo is doing as well as can be expected in this terrible economy, with some of the owners not paying their condo fees and foreclosures going on. We recoup money from the foreclosures but the courts are clogged with foreclosures right now, so recoupment is slow.

To save some money, they're going with a "virtual" security desk in the daytime -- the desk will not be manned but there will be someone on a TV screen at the entrance, screening the visitors. Were it not for that, they'd have to raise our maintenance fee substantially. (The daytime security guard costs $16.50/hr. The virtual security costs $5/hr.) This will not be permanent -- maybe a few months only.

The virtual security guard can call the police in an emergency (just as the "real" security guard does now). (We have cameras everywhere.) Someone said there would be more "speeding" in the parking garage without a "real" security guard, possibly resulting in damage to the gates. But if the gates are damaged, we're compensated through the speeder's insurance. (I don't see speeding as a real problem, since there are speed bumps everywhere-- but of course I don't see everything that goes on here.)

We had the pool drain retrofitted to prevent people from being sucked into it and killed. A company came out and did it in scuba gear, so the pool didn't have to be drained and refilled. (That company was also the lowest bid.)

The roof over the (non-functioning) gym -- destroyed by Hurricane Katrina or Wilma -- was repaired and the doors and/or windows replaced with high-impact glass. (The roof had been destroyed by way of the winds busting through the old doors and windows.) The gym will become functional again with further repairs.

The crooked receiver is gone, and we have new lawyers. Someone objected to the fact that contacting the lawyers was now restricted to two contact people. It was pointed out that the law firm itself had proposed that policy to save us money, since they charge by the hour (as is customary). (By the way, the legal fees under the receiver were exorbitant.) That same someone objected to the fact that our lawsuit to oust the receiver was settled "with prejudice." The president pointed out that the receiver is still subject to criminal proceedings if criminal activity can be substantiated.

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