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MINUTES OF GMCA ADVISORY BOARD MEETING

MAY 21, 2009


The meeting was called to order at 11:20 a.m. by President Pio Ieraci.

Board Members present: Ieraci, Berkowitz, Glickfield, Guttman, Hamaker, Songer, McBride, Abruzzino, Bazerghi, Bindler, Casier, Comis, Gardner, Gilligan, Gonzalez, Krevy, Mayer, Nesbitt, Nicholson-Brown, Rainey, Sheehan and Weck.

Approval of Minutes - The minutes of the previous meeting were not available.

Galt Mile Reading Center

Herman Gardner, President of Friends of the Galt Mile Reading Center was introduced. Pio confirmed that County Commissioner Ken Keechl believes that this library will not be closed.

Eric and Herman shared information: The library is heavily utilized, hosting movies, poetry recitals, book reviews by authors, cultural events, computer classes, senior self-defense classes, social events, etc. – all at no cost. The facility is frequented by many people who have no car and use the online computers to communicate with family and friends. This is also the only social opportunity for a large percentage of its mostly elderly clientele. Petitions to save the Reading Center were distributed to all the member associations; and support meetings are being held at the library/reading room. Resolutions are being elicited from every association board in support of this project. The facility is used by other communities, such as Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Lauderdale Beach and Central Beach. A suggestion was made to contact Commissioner Bruce Roberts for support and involvement.

Pio: Since the vote to keep the library open will be in September; we must inform each County Commissioner of the library’s importance to this community and elicit their support. Pio Ieraci made a motion that Herman Gardner be empowered to represent this community regarding this issue. Eric Berkowitz seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved.

Eric Berkowitz moved that the Galt Mile Community Association resolve to support the Galt Mile Reading Center, seconded by Kevin Songer, unanimously approved.

Legislative Update – Pio Ieraci

Extension of the 2014 sprinkler retrofit installation deadline to 2025 is a provision in Senate Bill 714; we must pressure Governor Crist to NOT veto this bill.

Galt Drive Street Landscape

Chepo is trying to schedule a walk-through with Parks Director Phil Thornburg and Commissioner Bruce Roberts for June 22nd.

Beach Renourishment – Pio Ieraci

The County has hired a lobbyist for Segment II. Hopefully, the permit date with the Army Corp of Engineers will be extended.

There is a possibility that the FCEE (Flood Control & Coastal Emergencies Program) will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to immediately dump sand off Lauderdale-by-the-Sea which would move south.

Galt Mile Security Patrol

The new officer in charge of the patrol is Sergeant Monica Ferrer; who will be introduced at the June 1st President Council meeting.

Kevin Songer made a motion that we should send a $100 gift certificate to Captain Penney as a farewell gift; seconded by Dott Nicholson-Brown; unanimously approved.

Galt Mile Web Site – Newsletter – Eric Berkowitz -

Eric reported that the newsletter had ceased production. After considering a merger with several local newspapers, Eric proposed a new plan to publish the newsletter with UPS as a corporate sponsor.

  • April Web Site Stats: 915,713 hits; 12,504 unique site visits (first timers)

The past month’s articles:

  • April 16, 2009 - Keechl Puts Wolfe on Ethics Panel - “Government Ethics” is widely considered little more than a cynical oxymoron hovering between “Commercial Art” and “Military Intelligence”. To Commissioner Keechl, however, Ethics is serious business. It is also meaningful to the 57% of Broward voters who last November supported the creation of a “Broward County Ethics Commission” to formulate a Code of Ethics against which actions of Broward Commissioners can be measured. Since each of the Broward Commission's 9 Democrats appoint 9 of the 11 members, Keechl sought to provide balance by selecting Bob Wolfe, the Republican Media & Government Relations Director for the Broward County Property Appraiser’s office. Skeptics decry the selection of a majority of the Ethics appointees by Broward Commissioners as a conflict. Others contend that if Broward residents really wanted ethical representatives, they would have elected them. Hmmm...

  • April 23, 2009 - Sprinklers in the Foyer? - Seven years ago, the Florida Legislature passed a clandestine bill requiring Florida Associations 75 feet above grade to retrofit full sprinkler systems by 2014 or install an “Engineered Life Safety System” with sprinklered common areas and unit foyers. Thousands of outraged associations characterized the new law as a $multi-billion payday for certain vested interests instead of effective fire protection. Following the 2004 and 2005 serial hurricanes, Florida Associations were forced to pay $millions for code compliant upgrades required by windstorm carriers, additional $millions for deductibles, uninsured losses and suddenly trebled insurance premiums. When the housing market collapsed last year, the recessionary impact on community associations was catastrophic. Many associations financed the crushing expenses to help keep significant numbers of mostly elderly fixed income residents in their homes. Statehouse Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff filed a bill, HB 419, which extends the retrofit deadline until 2025; affording unit owners an opportunity to amortize their association’s bloated debt service before paying another sizable assessment. If you perceive a benefit to delaying this huge expense, Read on...

  • April 30, 2009 - Commissioner Roberts Goes to Work - In his first Newsletter to District 1 constituents, City Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts expresses appreciation for his seat on Fort Lauderdale's governing body. Observing that 4 of the 5 municipal representatives are neophytes, he postulates that the Commission's new complexion confirms an electoral apetite for change. Focusing on the City's budgetary bottleneck, Roberts explains that the Commission's first meeting directed "the City Manager to freeze current fiscal year expenditures, except for public safety, with the goal to carry forward savings into next year’s budget." Addressing a burdensome campaign stigma, Roberts promised to work productively with Gretsas with the understanding that Gretsas would address the new commission’s priorities. Since the election, both City officials have agreed to defuse any residual acrimony in favor of steering the District - and the city - through the ongoing economic crunch.

  • May 5, 2009 - Condo and Co-op Bill Survivors - Until a few years ago, Galt Mile residents demonstrated limited interest in what transpired during the annual Legislative sessions in the State Capitol. Instead of cloaking condo owners in protective anonymity, this lack of “political identity” has ironically made them a target in Tallahassee. Instead of addressing existing statutory shortcomings, lawmakers have filed truckloads of legislation that - more often than not - were repositories for ill-conceived, contradictory and poorly drafted regulations suffering a fatal disconnect from their stated objectives. As this year's session wound down, the few surviving association bills with beneficial provisions again became targeted by a stew of screwball regulations that transfer governance from homeowners to politicians. Not surprisingly, many of this year's bills were filed to remove or rebalance many of the costly and troublesome provisions passed during last year's end-of-session melee. Whether these bills are signed into law or fade away is up to you. Take a look and express your will! After all, it's your wallet!

  • May 11, 2009 - 2009 Galt Mile Food Drive Final Results - The 2009 Galt Mile Food Drive was over. In keeping with tradition, Cooperative Feeding Program Executive Director Scott Woodburn sent emails to the participants. The CFP sparkplug notified team captains, Association volunteers and other local program supporters that the recent drive was an unqualified success. Initially concerned about the economic downturn's impact on donations, Woodburn was understandably relieved by the final results. Lightning struck twice, as diminutive Edgewater Arms blew away the competition for the second year running. As if scripted by Rod Serling, the 86-unit cooperative more than doubled the total points output of second place Coral Ridge Towers South. Little Edgewater, the first high rise association on Galt Ocean Drive, also racked up more than 8 times the points per unit scored by runner-up Fountainhead (43 points/unit vs. 5.1 points/unit). Not lost on Woodburn was the community's overall contribution, more than seven tons of food that will help Broward families survive this nightmarish recession! See where your association landed in the final stats.

  • May 16, 2009 - Senate Bill 714 - Omnibus Condo Bill - The 2009 Legislative Session was not technically over until Friday, May 8, 2009. However, legislative leaders decided to devote the final week to balancing significant inequities in the State budget and tweaking bills useful to that end. When the session functionally ended on May 1, 2009, community association bills that occupied legislators for the past few months simply dissolved. The single exception is SB 714, by Senator Dennis Jones, which whizzed through the House and Senate before being ordered to the Governor's desk. Having successfully navigated the Statehouse as HB 419 (originally filed by District 91 Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff), its provisions address a wide range of association issues including insurance, board elections, fire sprinklers ($$$), fire alarm systems, Timeshare Condominiums and back-up generators for elevators. The bill also reverses some lingering legislative flotsam with designs on the family cookie jar.

Other Business

  • A moment of silence was observed for the grandmother and child who were severely injured at the Hyperbaric Center in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

  • Pio gave update on status of Palm Beach Windstorm Self-Insurance Trust.

  • Shared A1A Corridor Conceptual Streetscape Study from the City of Fort Lauderdale Planning and Zoning Department. Extensive discussion was held regarding zoning, parking, signage, traffic signals and what our residents would like to see for this area.

  • Pio reported the Galt was awarded a Community Appearance Award.

  • A line item has been added to the Wage Survey report regarding trash collection.

Treasurer’s Report - Leah Glickfield

The Treasurer reported $12,294.35 in our Treasury.

The Treasurer recommended reducing our annual fee from $250 to $200. However, following a discussion about the prospective cost of producing the new newsletter, a motion was made by Kevin Songer and seconded by Ralph Hamaker to go forward with the newsletter plan and leave the fee at $250. The motion was unanimously approved.

Next Advisory Board Meeting - The next regular Advisory Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, June 18, 2009 at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:10 p.m.

Fern McBride
Fern McBride, Secretary

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