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MAY 31, 2007

The meeting was called to order at 11:00 a.m. by President Pio Ieraci.

Board Members present: Ieraci, Berkowitz, Glickfield, Gill, Guttman, Hamaker, McBride, Alfano, Baker, Bindler, Nicholson-Brown, Comis, Ellis, Freismuth, Gonzalez, Mayer, Songer and Weck.

Approval of Minutes - The minutes of April 19, 2007 were approved with a correction reflecting that Franci Bindler was present at the meeting.

Old & New Business

President Ieraci welcomed and introduced U. S. Congressman Ron Klein, who spoke about the following issues:

  • Iraq budget shows inadequate commitment to injured servicemen
  • The Congressman is participating on the Insurance and foreign affairs committees; western hemisphere committee
  • He is working on the creation of a national risk catastrophic pool (Florida delegation in favor of this); he thanked GMCA for pioneering an insurance initiative
  • Energy; gas prices; passed anti-gouging bill – there will be serious consequences
  • Outsourcing of jobs is a double-edged sword
  • Beach restoration project: since federal support has been affected by cuts in Florida budget; he will speak with Senator Atwater for direction
  • Immigration; need better security at our borders. Any effort to improve controls will require the participation of employers to be successful

A toast was made and “Happy Birthday” sung to Rose Guttman in celebration of her 89th birthday.

Center Strip - Work is being done. A bank and CVS are moving into stores vacated by Southtrust Bank and Beall’s. We will speak to Christine Teel about conditions on A1A.

Robert Rozema Memorial Walk - Christine Teel presented plan for proposed memorial and suggested we apply for matching funds.

Il Lugano – Ralph Hamaker - The project is 99.5% complete! The opening is expected by the end of June. A new sidewalk will line 34th Street along with additional improvements. The insertion of islands and landscaping will also commence by the end of June.

Beach Renourishment - Steve Higgins will be contacted to ascertain if the project has been affected by State funding cuts.

Legislative Update – Eric Berkowitz -

Bills that Passed! -

  • SB 314 sponsored by Sen. Geller is a condominium termination bill which enjoyed the strong support of the Real Property Section of the Florida Bar Association. A similar bill that unanimously passed the Legislature last session was vetoed by Gov. Bush because he felt the threshold to terminate could be too easily attained. Hearings were held around the state this summer to strike a balance between the property rights of condominium owners as a whole against the rights of a lone holdout who opposes the termination plan. Since the bill was modified to address those concerns, neither Governor Crist nor the DBPR opposed the bill. The bill provides a method of terminating condominiums in the event of: economic waste, disrepair of the property, and when continued operation of the condominium is made impossible by law or regulation.

    In the event of economic waste, the percentage needed to terminate is the lesser of the lowest percentage of voting interests needed to amend the declaration or as provided in the Declaration for termination of condominiums. There are special provisions in this bill for the termination of timeshare units. Optional termination can be effectuated by 80% of the unit owners. Mortgagee consent is not required unless the plan of termination will result in less than full satisfaction of the mortgage lien. Having been passed in the House and Senate, this bill has gone to Governor Crist, who is expected to sign it into law.

  • HB 433 sponsored by Rep. Carl Domino was replaced by Senate counterpart SB 902 (sponsored by Senator Dennis Jones, the Judiciary Committee and the Regulated Industries Committee). It contains language which would make it easier to amend condominium documents that are currently burdened with lender consent requirements and a host of provisions relevant to Homeowner Associations. On May 2nd, it was enrolled and sent to the Governor.

  • SB 1844 sponsored by Sen. Ring originally required attorneys handling collection matters for association clients to accept a 90-day payment plan for their attorney’s fees when pursuing a delinquent owner. It was ultimately amended with more reasonable language. The “3 month payment plan” language was replaced with an agreement to give owners more advance notice prior to a lien being recorded or a foreclosure action filed. It provides that a parcel owner is liable for all assessments on a parcel and is jointly and severally liable with the previous parcel owner for all unpaid assessments that came due up to the time of transfer of title; provides for the payment of interest and late fees on unpaid assessments; prioritizes the application of any payment received; prohibits the placement of a restrictive endorsement on the payment; requires written notice before a lien is filed against a parcel; provides the owner with 45 days to make payment for all amounts due; provides for the foreclosure of the lien, but not until 45 days after the parcel owner has been provided notice of the associations to foreclose; and permits an owner to make a qualifying offer one time during the pendency of a foreclosure action, in which case, the foreclosure action is stayed for a period not to exceed 60 days. Since it has the effect of making lenders jointly and severally liable for all past-due assessments on a home, it will drive the banker’s lobby crazy. After being enrolled on May 2nd, it was sent to the Governor.

  • SB 1864 sponsored by Sen. Posey was replaced by its sister bill in the House, HB 7057 (sponsored by the Policy & Budget and Jobs & Entrepreneurship House Councils). It redesignates Florida Comprehensive Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program as My Safe Florida Home Program; revises criteria & requirements for hurricane mitigation inspections; requires that residential structure located in wind-borne debris region have certain opening protections required under Florida Building Code in order to be eligible for coverage by Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Simply put, HB 7057 requires all residential buildings located in coastal area which have an insured value of $750,000 or more to have “opening protections” as required by the Florida Building Code for newly constructed residential structures or they will no longer be eligible for Citizens coverage. Obviously, this will have a tremendous impact on coastal communities and others in “wind-borne debris regions” who do not currently have hurricane shutters, impact glass or other protections for apertures. The bill awaits the Governor’s signature.

  • SB 2498 sponsored by Sen. Garcia and Sen. Posey revises certain reimbursement contract requirements; deletes expiration provision re obtaining coverage for liquidated insurers; revises provisions for determining eligibility for coverage under Citizens Property Insurance Corp.; creates Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center at FSU; provides purposes & responsibilities of center and creates Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Mission Review Task Force. This bill will have a positive impact on community associations by freezing the rates charged by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation until 2009. It was sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

  • SB 396 sponsored by Sen. Margolis was replaced by similar House Bill, HB 7031 (sponsored by Safety & Security Council and Representatives Mark Mahon; Kevin C. Ambler; Ellyn Setnor Bogdanoff; Luis R. Garcia Jr.; Audrey Gibson; Juan C. Zapata). It is a Condominium Conversion bill that primarily contends with certain conversion reserves and insurance fixes. This bill would require additional disclosures in contracts for the sale or lease of residential units and clarifies that the definition of condominium common expenses includes the costs of certain insurance or self insurance. The bill also requires notice for special assessments anticipated to address self insurance costs. This bill contains incremental “insurance fixes” that attempt to make commercial self-insurance funds more easily accessible to condominiums, cooperatives and homeowner associations. Having passed the House and Senate, House Bill 7031 is on the Governor’s desk.

Bills that Failed! -

  • SB 348 sponsored by Sen. Mandy Dawson would have prohibited associations from requiring a prospective buyer of a property to present evidence of any financial status or to make a monetary deposit to the association so long as such prospective buyer had been approved by a lending institution for financing to purchase the property. Had it passed, this bill would have impacted many communities that run background financial checks on potential purchasers to ensure that those purchasers can meet their monetary obligations once they become community residents. Static since originally filed, the bill died on Sine Die (May 4, 2007)

  • SB 714 sponsored by Sen. Gary Siplin, would have functionally transferred any shortfall through delinquency to other owners. This bill would have prohibited associations from liening/foreclosing and/or pursuing a monetary judgment for amounts less than $2,500 and would have removed the association’s ability to recoup attorney’s fees and collection costs. Its passage would have made assessments optional. Experiencing its fourth incarnation in as many years, this bill was static since filed and died on Sine Die (May 4, 2007).

  • HB 1373 sponsored by Rep. Robaina, was amended earlier in the session at its first Committee stop. It was pared down from 221 pages to 80 pages. The regulations regarding homeowners’ associations were removed but many of the condominium and cooperative restrictions remained. A few good ideas got lost in a massive regulatory swamp threatening disjointed micromanagement. Representative Robaina had solicited permission from House Speaker Marco Rubio to bypass the bill’s final committee stop and take it to the House floor for a vote. Its sister bill in the Senate, SB 2816 (sponsored by Senator Alex Villalobos) was pared down on April 16th in the Committee on Regulated Industries from 209 pages to 72 pages, the bulk of which affected condominiums and cooperatives. It was sent to the Committee on Judiciary. On April 30th, it was withdrawn from Judiciary, placed in the Committee on General Government Appropriations, withdrawn from General Government Appropriations and placed on Calendar. Despite these surreptitious machinations, neither bill made it to the floor.

  • HB 1365 sponsored by Rep. Gibbons contained emergency powers language to assist boards dealing with pre-storm community preparations as well as post-storm reconstruction issues. It also sought to extend the period in which condominium common areas must be retrofitted with sprinkler systems from 2014 to 2020. While this bill suffered neglect due to Governor Bush having vetoed legislation carrying the retrofit deadline extension last year, we expect to see it again next year, at which time it should accrue additional support. The need for statutory clarification of pre and post storm governance alternatives is significant. This bill was stuck in the Safety & Security Council, dying there on May 4, 2007.

Galt Roving Security Patrol - Week of June 3rd, officers will introduce themselves to individual building personnel. Kick-off meeting to be held on Sunday, June 10th at 3:00 p.m. at the Galt Ocean Club.

Galt Mile Web Site – Newsletter – Eric Berkowitz - There were 862,339 hits in April and 17,105 unique site visits (first time visitors) on the GMCA web site. See web site for articles posted during April and May, 2007.

Treasurer’s Report - Leah Glickfield reported $15,694.82 in our Treasury.

Other Business

  • Leah Glickfield will contact Southpoint regarding wage survey, which will be delivered to each building; survey outcome will be delivered at our September meeting.
  • Check web site regarding turtle-safe lighting ordinance; turtle nesting season lasts from March 1st through October 30th.
  • The $100,000 donated to the City of Fort Lauderdale for improvement of Miles Corner is safe and accounted for.
  • After discussion of what the $100,000 could be used for, Pio Ieraci asked that ideas be put in writing and sent to him within the next 3 to 4 weeks as there is a deadline to apply for matching grant funds.
  • Kevin Songer: the entrance Fort Lauderdale from the North should be more attractive. Pio Ieraci will call Phil Thornburg regarding trees and beautification of North entrance. Ralph Hamaker volunteered to be liaison for Pio’s calls.
  • Kevin Songer: lady fell on sidewalks and ropes attached to trees (Galt Ocean Dr.); uneven sidewalks are a safety issue.
  • Ralph Hamaker will investigate sign on fire station.

Next Advisory Board Meeting - The next regular Advisory Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, September 20, 2007 at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:55 p.m.

Fern McBride, Secretary





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