MINUTES OF GMCA ADVISORY BOARD MEETING
MAY 15, 2008
The meeting was called to order at 11:00 a.m. by President Pio Ieraci.
Board Members present: Ieraci, Berkowitz, Glickfield, Guttman, Songer, McBride, Alfano, Baker, Bindler, Casier, Chisholm, Creal, Friesmith, Glazer, Gonzalez, Guglielmetti, Konstance, Lecht, Mayer, Miller, Nesbitt, Quintero, Solewin, Talerico, Vanek and Weck.
Approval of Minutes - The minutes of April 17, 2008 were approved.
Old & New Business
The President introduced and welcomed Ken Keechl, District 4 Broward County Commissioner, who shared the following:
Beach Renourishment: Phase III Monitoring Report showed some environmental impact but the project is still scheduled to proceed by end of 2009; the financing is in place.
Galt Mile Reading Center: The roof is a safety and fire hazard, which is the landlord’s responsibility. Due to the asbestos in the ceilings and floors, the cost of expansion and fixing the asbestos problem increased from $18,000 to $60,000/$70,000. Budget cuts may force closing all four leased reading centers.
The Commissioner reaffirmed his promise not to raise millage. The County Commission hopes to cut another $100 million from the budget this year. Since the $100 million cut last year eliminated most of the easier cuts, these new cuts have the potential to create quality of life deficits. If the Sheriff voluntarily cuts $50 million from his budget as requested, the 4 leased reading centers will be saved. If not, the leased Galt Mile Reading Center may not be funded.
Calypso Project: He has no jurisdiction over this project. Although they have no regulatory input into Calypso, County Commission will not oppose the project because the County realizes some income. However, Ken has refused to meet with their lobbyists. He is looking closely into the project and may send a personal letter in opposition.
Calypso Project – Pio Ieraci
Our position is clear.
Regarding letter written by Bill and Theresa Claire of Plaza South, Suez wants to meet with the Claires and the other Galt Mile activists. However, the Coast Guard sector chief is unavailable until next week (May 28th or May 29th).
The petition needs to clearly indicate that it is sponsored by the Galt Mile Community Association, not Plaza South or any individual association, and will ultimately be sent to Tallahassee.
Commended several persons for disseminating relevant information about the project’s prospective dangers, including Manager Patricia Quintero of L’Hermitage I, Fred Nesbitt of Playa del Mar, and the Claires, the Marshalls and Sue Blalock – all from Plaza South.
Discussed with Ken Keechl what he and other county and city politicians can do to oppose Calypso despite their exclusion from the regulatory process.
Melissa Francisco of Senator Atwater’s office stated that Senator Atwater wants to know what GMCA plans to do after he has made a decision on how he can best contribute to defeating Calypso.
Pio said that the entire State of Florida could be affected by Calypso.
Ken Keechl will further familiarize himself with the issues surrounding Calypso; he expressed that someone needs to explain these issues to his colleagues.
Eric Berkowitz shared pertinent information about the history and details of the project.
Suggesting that the Advisory Board should sanction actions taken on behalf of the community, Eric Berkowitz made a motion to officially authorize opposition to the Calypso Project on behalf of the Galt Mile Community. Seconded by Kevin Songer; unanimously passed.
Galt Mile Memorial Walk - Pio received a letter approving the matching grant.
The hotel is beautiful; they have done a lot to beautify 34th Street. Two organizations are involved – one operating the hotel and the other the condos. Ocean Manor has given them permission to use their beach access.
Beach Renourishment - Pio reported the time line is still intact. Melissa Francisco of Senator Atwater’s office shared information regarding funding.
Galt Mile Security Patrol - Pio Ieraci
The patrol has been exceedingly effective. If there are any issues with the patrol or if reports are not being received, call Pio. Statements have gone out to continue the patrol. The phone number to reach the patrol is at the front desk of each building. County/City budgets are being cut, but our roving patrol gives us protection.
Galt Mile Web Site – Newsletter – Eric Berkowitz -
- April Hits: 826,095 hits; 12,404 unique site visits (first timers)
The past month’s articles:
April 18, 2008 - Commissioner Teel’s Budget Preview - Following the city’s humiliating 2003 admission that the former City Manager’s budgetary practices compared unfavorably to those of Enron, rookie City Commissioner Christine Teel decided to ignore the recommendations of professional head-hunters charged with finding a replacement City Manager, voting instead for New Yorker George Gretsas to direct Fort Lauderdale’s fiscal recovery. Having shared this “baptism under fire”, the two neophyte workaholics hammered out a working relationship based on mutual respect and meticulous fiscal oversight. Since then, she has religiously kept constituents abreast of events affecting the city’s financial status. Her latest newsletter summarizes Fort Lauderdale’s assets and liabilities as part of a pre-budget season overall fiscal diagnostic. For this year’s diminished tax revenues to underwrite the full complement of city services, the budget team must control pension and insurance costs while stretching resources.
April 24, 2008 - Homeowners’ Bill of Rights - The Galt Mile’s District 25 voice in the Florida Senate, Jeffrey Atwater, has succeeded in passing a set of insurance guidelines that will solidify the industry’s accountability to its Florida customers. The bill represents another volley in the Senator’s struggle to revive a competitive Florida insurance market. The legislation, aptly termed the Homeowners’ Bill of Rights, was composed and filed following the refusal of certain carriers to comply with insurance regulations that were negotiated and enacted last year. Since some industry elements seem determined to test regulatory boundaries as a precursor to exploitation, such as submitting fraudulently engineered documentation to substantiate rate increases, the Senator’s legislation enhances the State’s enforcement capabilities. A review of the controversy precipitating his initiative follows Atwater’s press release to constituents.
April 29, 2008 - Bogdanoff Prepares for Session Close - As the legislative session winds down, District 91 Statehouse Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff annually morphs into the State’s busiest official. During her relatively short tenure, the “Majority Whip” has become a crucial component of the operational machinery that fuels progress in the Statehouse. Despite Herculean demands on her time, Bogdanoff remains in close and constant touch with constituents. Her April Newsletter summarizes some issues under the hot lights in Tallahassee. Since she was instrumental in correcting fatal flaws threatening to sink an omnibus condominium bill, it passed the House unanimously. In fact, during the last few weeks of the session, we were in constant touch with a team of lobbyists, condo activists and key legislators. They all contend that Ellyn was the driving force behind the critical changes required to make the legislation acceptable. She touches on the transition of Broward Community College into an accredited 4-year school, a global claim’s bill to address compensation for victims of wrongful incarceration such as Alan Crotzer, access to affordable healthcare for Floridians and the never-ending Battle of the Budget.
May 3, 2008 - Parking Ticket Amnesty Program - They are still there, hiding out in the back of the night table drawer. Right under the 20% discount card from Bed Bath & Beyond that expired in March. Remember those old parking tickets you never paid? They cost more now than when you received them... as indicated in the reminder notices with late penalties. That’s an extra 20 bucks... for each ticket. You planned on calling the City to report that the meter was out of commission when you got tagged. Fear not, this is your lucky month. The city has declared a parking ticket amnesty, offering drivers with unpaid parking tickets a deal. If you pay off all the outstanding tickets between April 1 and May 30, 2008 in the amount of the original fine, the City will waive all late fees. That’s right - all the penalties get wiped out and you can start with a fresh slate.
May 8, 2008 - Omnibus Condo Bill Becomes Law - As the legislative session entered its final weeks, numerous community association bills containing provisions that impact condominiums were consolidated into an omnibus condominium bill, House Bill 995. An analysis by condominium, civic and neighborhood associations from all over Florida revealed that House Bill 995 and its sister Senate Bill 2084 were double-edged swords as originally drafted, combining critically important elements with provisions that were contradictory, expensive and destructive. To salvage the bills’ useful provisions, Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff, association experts such as Peter Dunbar and a statewide aggregation of civic leaders and association officials worked with bill sponsors Representative Julio Robaina and Senator Alex Villalobos to excise regressive provisions and equip condo owners with tools to address unintended consequences, thereby enhancing the bills’ flexibility. By opening the bills to corrective input, the sponsors substantially broadened support for the legislation, enabling its virtually unopposed passage and swift enactment by the Governor. The article includes a comprehensive review of the new law's impact and its path to enactment.
May 15, 2008 - Galt Mile Residents: No Calypso - On April 7th, a meeting of the Galt Mile Presidents Council was convened to inform Association officials about the planned placement of a “Deepwater Port” for the offloading of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) 7 to 10 miles from the densely populated Galt Mile beach. Representatives of SUEZ Energy North America, Inc. or SENA, developer of the “Calypso” project, were invited to explain the project variables and respond to questions raised by concerned community participants with the understanding that association representatives would transmit what they learned to their association constituencies whose feedback would determine whether the project would encounter community support or opposition. Galt Mile residents subsequently clarified that they are understandably unwilling to risk their lives to provide these companies with more efficient product distribution. In view of the horrific consequences attendant to a security oversight, an error in judgment or hurricane damage, no prospective benefit to the State can justify the potential loss of property and life.
Other Business -
Bob Wolfe of the Property Appraiser’s Office distributed informational flyers about homestead exemptions. Broward County Property Appraiser staff will be taking Exemption Applications at The Beach Community Center on the last Friday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Pio: The annual wage survey will soon be distributed via email.
Jim Gill is planning to celebrate his 99th birthday. Since he is not in attendance today, the birthday cake prepared for this celebration will be stored in the freezer until next month’s meeting.
Next Advisory Board Meeting - The next regular Advisory Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, June 19, 2008 at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.
Treasurer’s Report - The Treasurer reported $13,395.76 in our Treasury. Membership bills will be sent out on June 1.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:55 p.m.
Fern McBride, Secretary
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