President's letter February 2019
Just another update, in keeping with my policy to keep everyone apprised of happenings around The Envoy.
First and foremost, we are in good financial shape, thanks to prudent fiscal management over the past several years. Our Reserves are in excess of $1.3 million, and with monthly budgeted additions of $17.8 thousand, we should, barring any unforeseen developments, reach $1 1/2 million by year end 2019. Additionally, we have over $350 thousand in operating cash (earning interest) over and above our normal operating account, which could be transferred to Reserves, if the Board deemed appropriate. However, for now it provides us with some flexibility. For example, the planned renovation to our NorthOne Club Room has been budgeted & board-approved for $125 thousand (completion anticipated for mid-late 2019) and these monies will come from our operating cash accounts. Therefore, the beautiful new redecoration, will not affect our Reserves, nor require any kind of assessment. For full year 2018, we met our budget
(although we over-shot some expenses & under-cut others); in fact, we actually experienced a $12 thousand surplus, which we will add to our important Reserve account.
Our various committees continue to do some special work to improve our building. As previously mentioned, our Redecorating Committee, comprised of a couple of board members and 4 residents(Manny Plavin, Ruth Roberts, Ron Barris & Kathryn Roshkind), have been meeting nearly weekly with our approved Interior Designer. They have come up with some great ideas and reportedly things are progressing well. As you know, the kitchen & adjacent storage area has already been updated, with new paint, appliances, cabinets, countertops & flooring. It looks beautiful !
The Security Committee has been busy studying the addition of a new, modernized system with added camera surveillance. One of our residents, Gary Plavin, an expert in this area, has been instrumental in working with us and interviewing providers. We are closely looking at the associated costs and, if the Board decides to go forward, will likely complete this project over a 2-3 year phase-in period. Other alternatives, such as additional lighting and motion detectors are also being considered.
Our cable TV contract with Comcast is also nearing maturity this month. As you know, The Envoy picks up your cable TV basic plan costs, a benefit to us all. We have been studying our options at this time: renew &/or negotiate add'l. services in our contract with Comcast; seek out a new provider, such as AT&T, HotWire, etc.. Again, we have experts in this area, Hank Narrow & Gary Plavin, giving us valuable advice and assistance. And, we have been in contact with a specialized Consultant, who works within the cable industry to negotiate contracts with cable companies on behalf of its clients.
Our generator is a subject which has been ongoing. While we are seriously considering replacement, this action is being met with some resistance. Should we spend $20 thousand to repair our existing system or approximately $120 thousand for a new system? While, at one time, we thought T-Mobile, who has antennas on our roof ( we previously rec'd. a large lump sum payment to permit this service), was going to defray the costs of us buying a newer generator to also keep their service going during a storm, such appears unlikely today. So, again, we have a committee to study this, and David Roshkind, has been helping us out.
You know that we are strongly recommending new water heaters (w/h) for everyone, if your w/h is more than 10 years old (estimated life?). Two board members, Maureen Heller & Janet Schreiber, have been instrumental in spearheading this project. They have contacted at least 3 plumbing & heating companies to provide a bulk service. Reportedly, they have settled on a company, who actually did the previous bulk installation/ removal here approximately 10 years ago, at an excellent price point - less than $1 thousand. I can tell you that this is a bargain, as it includes permit(s), electrical & plumbing, testing, removal& disposing of old w/h, and warranty. Recently, a couple of our neighbors/residents had w/h problems, and contracted for new ones on their own: total cost reportedly 40-50% greater than what we are negotiating for all of us. Additionally, we have looked into the possibility of tankless waterheaters and have learned that they can be installed. The job for these is a bit more complicated, electrically, and more expensive; however, you may save up to 10% annually on your FPL bills. If anyone would prefer to go the tankless route, please inform the Office. Please be sure to sign up in the office, if you would like to take advantage of this w/h replacement.
We have not overlooked the fire sprinkler condition. You recall that a plumbing company examination/inspection of every apartment's sprinklers was conducted several months ago, with about 80% of us receiving a letter describing sprinkler issues and costs to repair. We continue to seek solutions and will be providing an update asap. In the meantime, unless your sprinkler is covered or blocked, it will still function in the event of a fire. At least that's what I was told, so please don't quote me!!
You can see for yourselves, from your balconies, the progress at Banyan Cay!!
The NorthOne private club has been doing exceptionally well, thanks to the efforts of Bob Rubin. Parties, to date, have been terrific and there is one big Extravaganza being planned for early April, prior to the departure of our snowbirds. You should also know that we have 105 members, which far exceeds any annual membership of recent memory. Noteworthy, NorthOne Club monies are for the Exclusive use of the NorthOne Club and its activities. Under no circumstances, are NorthOne Club monies used for other purposes- the upgrade of the kitchen did NOT use any NorthOne Club funds. It is a kitchen & club room for the benefit of all Envoy residents, although the club uses it more than any other resident. By the way, the club pays a nominal fee to The Envoy for each night it has the exclusive use of the room.
The deadline for board member applications has passed, and we have not received any new applications for board membership. So, the existing incumbents (Maureen Heller, Barbara Leff, Marcia Plavin, Doug Turner, and myself) who are standing for re-election, look like they are going to run unopposed. They will join with existing members, in their 2nd year of their 2 year terms: Aaron Bikofsky, Janet Schreiber, Bob Harvey & Bill Luth. We have, in my opinion, a good team and we seem to work well together for the benefit of all!
That should do it for now. Remember to let our Manager, Jim Dewey, or his Office Assistant, Pamela Melvin, know of any problems or concerns you may have with doormen, staff, etc.. If your problem is with Jim or Pam, let any Board member know. If you notice anything peculiar or unusual, whether it be water stains, odors, excessive noise, landscaping lights inoperative, etc, please report it to the aforementioned. If a person(s) is loitering or looks unfamiliar, or is doing something which appears strange to you, don't hesitate to report this to Jim or Pam. Please return your shopping carts to the front desk, rather than leaving them in the first floor hallway. We can ALL work together to make our home a better place to live!!!
Ron Gentile, President
on behalf of Your Board of Directors