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January 15, 2015

The meeting was called to order at 11:20 a.m. by President Pio Ieraci at Nick’s Italian Restaurant

Board Members present: Ieraci, Berkowitz, Hamaker, Nesbitt, Abruzzino, Adams, Aschner, Bendis, Cella, Correa, Dawson, Fox, Friedman, Katkin, Katz, Kessler, Korn, Larson, Lewandowski, Matsis, Mercado, Pohan, Rollo, Solewin and Vega.

Guests present: Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Bruce Roberts, Fort Lauderdale Police Department Officers Patrick Hart and Tom Gestal, Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association (Sun Trolley) Executive Director Robyn Chiarelli

Approval of Minutes - Approval of the minutes from the December 17, 2014 Advisory Board Meeting were completed but not distributed (although accessible on GMCA website) – will be distributed and approved at the February 19th meeting.

Old and New Business/Guests

  • Pio introduced Fort Lauderdale District 1 City Commissioner Bruce Roberts, who provided a brief overview of Fort Lauderdale’s economic health.

    • Tourism in 2014 increased over 2013

    • Improvements to Port Everglades have yielded a sizable economic dividend

    • Increased development is exemplified by new construction throughout Fort Lauderdale

    • Hotel occupancy rates have increased each month for the past 60 months.

    Commissioner Roberts announced that he will be running unopposed in the February 10th Municipal Primary. He acknowledged that the City Commissioners and Mayor Seiler have worked well together and hopes that the current team will remain intact and achieve further success for the residents of Fort Lauderdale.

  • Pio introduced Fort Lauderdale Police Office Tom Gestal, who provided the following information:
    • Homelessness Issues

      • A report was read regarding a specific incident that occurred on the Galt

      • Citing the importance of exerting a police presence, officers are encouraged to engage with suspicious individuals

      • Requests that Galt Associations should inform their residents to redirect their contributions from homeless individuals to organizations that address the root causes of homelessness

      • Call 95t4-764-HELP to report suspicious or “irregular” behavior or activity

      • Please file a police report if confronted by strangers on the Galt or if you experience an incident with someone suspicious

      Ralph Hamaker mentioned that his Association (Coral Ridge Towers South) includes a message in each of their visitor’s information packets about “what to do” when confronted by homeless individuals. Exhorting this idea as a “Best Practice” for Galt Mile Associations, he was asked to provide the Advisory Board with the CRTS message text.

      It was also suggested to provide a comparable message in the “Welcome” packages provided to every new association resident (homeowners and tenants).

      Officer Patrick Hart was introduced. The 18-year FLPD veteran has a wealth of experience working with the homeless. He will provide tips regarding treating the homeless that may be included in our Association messaging to owners and guests.

    Sun Trolley - Robyn Chiarelli

    • Pio next introduced Robyn Chiarelli, who recently replaced Pat Zeiler as Executive Director of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association (Sun Trolley). Having solicited resident feedback about the Sun Trolley service, Ms. Chiarelli expressed her intention to update local residents about issues facing the troubled Galt Mile route at a future Presidents Council meeting.

    Sprinkler Retrofit Voting Deadline – Pio Ieraci

    • Pio reminded everyone about the fast-approaching Sprinkler Retrofit opt-out deadline of December 31, 2016. Unless a majority of any Galt Mile Association’s unit owners have voted to forego retrofitting the building with sprinklers – and subsequently registered that vote with the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulations (DBPR) by December 31, 2016 - it must have alternatively applied for a building permit to install a costly compliant sprinkler system that will be operational by December 31, 2019. Statutory clarification is available in s. 718.112(2)(l), F.S. for condominiums and s. 719.1055(5), F.S. for cooperatives.

    Galt Mile Street Landscaping – Chepo Vega

    • In his report about Galt Ocean Drive Street Landscaping, José “Chepo” Vega announced plans to meet with Supervisor Mark Almy from the city in the next three weeks to discuss dangerous low hanging branches on leaning trees and the uneven hedges. Returning after a brief illness, Chepo was welcomed back and thanked for his tireless dedication to block maintenance.

    Galt Mile Web Site – Newsletter – Eric Berkowitz

    • December 2014 Web Site Stats: 603,935 hits, 21,709 Unique Site Visits (First Timers)

    Articles posted during the past month include:

    • December 10, 2014 - Galt Mile Sun Trolley - A Bumpy History - While most Galt Mile residents maintain vehicles in the garage or parking deck, our demographics include a larger than average community of dedicated pedestrians. Some lament being barred from a driver’s license by a DMV eye exam. Others evangelize the wellness dividend of endless constitutionals. Few will admit that they were forced to choose between a car, prescribed heart medication and one daily alternative to canned tuna fish. For necessities they can’t reach on foot, they needn’t humble themselves by asking for a lift – they board the Sun Trolley. For scores of our neighbors, the community bus is more than an eclectic party favor, it’s their sole access to medical or “quality of life” resources the rest of us take for granted. For an inside perspective of the Galt Mile Sun Trolley’s bumpy history, Read on...

    • December 17, 2014 - Galt Mile Holiday Season Leftovers - As we wend our way through the Holiday Season, events sometimes meld into a blur, and occasionally slip by unnoticed. While their relative impacts are less than critical, the following news snippets are either enlightening, or scratch an itch. In one recent incident, after a disabled Coral Ridge Towers South resident was victimized by a local merchant, his caretaker and a local news personality teamed up to script a final chapter worthy of the Holiday Season. Those with a passing curiosity about what happened to Commissioner “No” will learn the outcome of her latest local endeavor to re-enter public service. Finally, a summarized agenda item from the December GMCA Presidents Council meeting at Plaza South illuminates the status of our long-awaited Beach Renourishment. If you enjoy easy reading, check out these Holiday Season leftovers!

    • December 29, 2014 - Homestead Express - 2015 - The Florida Constitution provides all legal Florida residents with a tax-saving exemption on the first and third $25,000 of the assessed value of their owner/occupied homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and other “permanent residences” - if they qualify. Homesteaded properties are eligible for the invaluable “Save Our Homes” tax cap. Also available are a host of traditional and recently added exemptions for seniors, veterans, widows/widowers, active military, the blind, disabled persons and properties with build-outs for Mom, Dad, Grandma and/or Grandpa. Apply for exemptions in person, at an outreach event (Beach Community Center), by mail to BCPA, interactively online or by requesting “homesteads-on-wheels” (for house-bound applicants). Although exemption applications are considered “timely” if submitted by the March 2, 2015 “soft” deadline, they will still be accepted until the September 18, 2015 “hard” deadline if accompanied by any moronic excuse for dragging your feet. If you miss that, a “Good Cause” sob story won’t make a difference – you’re screwed!!! Learn about the 2015 incarnation of the Homestead Express!

    Other Business

    • No word from the County about the prospective mid-February start date for the Segment II beach nourishment project

    • A flyer was distributed announcing a February 12, 2015 “We Love Our Galt Library” annual party featuring the Galt Players at the Galt Ocean Mile Reading Center (3403 Galt Ocean Drive, Fort Lauderdale) from 2pm – 4pm. Please inform your residents.

    • On Saturday, March 7, 2015, the Galt Mile Food and Wine Festival will be held along Galt Ocean Drive. Please inform your residents.

    • At the February 2, 2015 President’s Council Meeting - three veteran Advisory Board members will be recognized for their decades of community service as “Honorary Permanent Members”. They are:

      • Leah Glickfield
      • George Mayer
      • Frank Casier

    Treasurer’s Report - Fred Nesbitt

    The Treasurer reported a balance of $16,114.51.

    Adjournment - The next regular Advisory Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, February 19, 2015 at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

    The meeting was adjourned at 12:31 p.m.

    Ed Hashek
    For Secretary Fern McBride





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