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C&S 2014 New Years Message

new years 2014

Upcoming Major Education Forum

save the date

We are very pleased that the Board Member Forum will be at the new Manatee Performing Arts Center. Here are a few photos of the center.

manatee performing arts center

Forum seating area:
inside seating

Luncheon room:
lunch area

Lobby:
lobby

C&S Christmas Message

merry christmas 2013

Condo/HOA Board Certification Class

C&S' Ellen Brown, CAM, CMCA, AMS, will be one of the presenters for the below Board Certification class.

This class is in Venice and you may click here to register.

cai ellen

Power Outage by Main Office

power on blogUPDATE 12:20 PM:  FPL has made the necessary repairs and power has been restored throughout the area. All systems at C&S are back up and now fully operational.

UPDATE 10:30 AM:  FPL still is not able to give any information on when they believe the power outage will be resolved.  We are in the process of setting up our generators to be able to handle email and phone calls shortly.

An FPL transformer has blown near our main office and we have no power. Since all servers are now down, we are not receiving phone calls or email messages. FPL hopes to give us an update between 9:30 and 10:00 AM.

poweroutage generic new1At that time we will decide if we will need to take our generators from storage and set them up.


C&S Thanksgiving Message

thanksgiving-day csc

CAI Offers Mortgage Regs Advice

home-loans1Community Associations Institute (CAI) has offered advice and support for proposed federal rules that accomplish two important CAI goals: helping more homebuyers obtain safe mortgage financing and stimulating a housing market that has struggled since home prices began falling in late 2006. Both will provide more stability to community associations across the country.  

In addition to protecting consumers from unscrupulous lending practices, the newly proposed rules are expected to accelerate the housing recovery by generating a greater flow of private capital to the mortgage market.

Importantly, the proposed rule gives condominium and HOA communities limited lien priority on foreclosed homes. That means associations would be able to collect all or at least a portion of the money that is owed to them after a foreclosure.

"This is welcome news for tens of thousands of community associations and the tens of millions of Americans who call them home," said CAI Chief Executive Officer Thomas M. Skiba, CAE. "We appreciate regulators considering various perspectives and applaud them for developing these important consumer protections. This is how the process should work, with regulators being open and responsive to the views of critical stakeholders."

Click here to link to the Community Associations Institute for more information and the full press release.

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Honoring All Who Have Served

veterans day

Books Heading to Their Buddies

books

C&S team members continue their support of the Literacy Buddy Project of the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County.  Below is a picture of some of the C&S team getting the books ready to be sent off to their Literacy Buddies.  

The purpose of the Literacy Buddy Project is to teach children about correspondence, communication, and promote early literacy while providing children with quality books that they take home. The project also supports parents as partners in their children’s learning. For many of the children, a Literacy Buddy provides the only opportunity for them to have books of their own at home.
 
Anyone, any age, anywhere can become a Literacy Buddy and it doesn’t take much time, but makes a large impact in the life of a child.  Exchanges occur three times per year.  For more information about the Literacy Buddy Project and the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County, please check out their website:  http://www.earlylearningcoalitionsarasota.org

book club

Condo Board Member Workshop

Workshop for Condominium Board Members is this September 25th. Here are the details:

Workshop1

Happy Labor Day!

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DBPR Offers Hurricane Warnings

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The Bottom Line

August 23, 2013

Dear Friends,

This week, FEMA administrator, Craig Fugate, warned that Floridians are in denial about the devastating impact that hurricanes can have on their way of life. I also feel that it is important to remind you to be as prepared as you can be as we venture through this Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Although we haven’t experienced a serious storm so far this year, it is crucial to have a plan for both before and after a storm. For more information on developing a disaster plan for your business or home, please visit www.floridadisaster.org. Here, you can find helpful tips that will allow you to develop a well-thought-out plan not in the heat of an emergency.

Additionally, after a storm or natural disaster strikes, unlicensed construction activity may increase as clean-up begins. Consumers should always ask to see the State of Florida professional license, which can be verified online at www.myfloridalicense.com or by calling 850-487-1395. Consumers should also avoid paying cash or writing checks to an individual, especially when the work is being done through a company.

If unlicensed activity is suspected, consumers within Florida should call 1-866-532-1440 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to report it. Any person who acts as an unlicensed contractor during a state of emergency as declared by executive order of the Governor is committing a third-degree felony.

As Floridians, we are vulnerable to these serious storms and it is vital that we take them seriously and do all that we can to protect our homes and our businesses. Please take advantage of the many resources that are available to you and stay safe!
 
Sincerely,
 
Ken Lawson

Secretary
Department of Business and Professional Regulation
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
Customer Contact Center:
850.487.1395

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Good Time to Send Clutter Packing

clutter cartoonDo you have piles of clothes, papers and “stuff” collecting in your home or condo?  You’re not alone.  It’s time to clean up that clutter and make your abode a more enjoyable and relaxing place to live.

Create a schedule.  Depending on how high those piles are, you may not be able to accomplish the task in a single weekend. So, try tackling one room at a time. It may seem like a daunting project, but it will be less scary if you break it down into segments.

Practice a one item in, one item out rule.  When you buy an item of clothing, for example, throw out one item of clothing. Not only will it keep down the clutter, but it will also make you rethink whether you really want to buy a new item.

Create a stress-free environment in the bedroom.  That means no piles of toys and no mounds of clothes. It should be a place where you can rest without worry.

Make cleaning up fun for kids by turning it into a game.  Kids are often the clutter culprits; involve them in the process to make things neater and more organized.

Know your vision for the room.  What do you want from a room? Is it a place where you work, a space where you unwind, a playroom for the little ones or something else? If you can answer that question, you’ll be able to decide what items stay and what items go.

Try to make decluttering a part of your everyday life.  If you do it at the same time every day—like before you go to bed—the piles won’t accumulate and you won’t have to set aside a block of time to do a major cleaning.

Citizens Ins. Hearing Coming to Tampa

citizen logoCitizens Property Inaltsurance Corp.

WHO:Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens)
 
WHAT: The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) will conduct a public hearing to discuss Citizens’ proposed rate increases for its business in the Coastal Account, formerly known as the High Risk Account (HRA), and the Personal Lines Account (PLA). These accounts include, but are not limited to, homeowners’, mobile home, and dwelling/fire lines of business. Additional filings on behalf of Citizens will be forthcoming. Evidence regarding such filings may be received at the hearing.
 
Listed in the chart below are the proposed rate changes (by file log number) that have already been filed by Citizens with the Office. These filings can be accessed via the “I-File Forms & Rate Search” system using the following search criteria: file log numbers (provided below) or by entering Citizens as the “company name”. Scroll down to the bottom of the results page for the most recent filing information.


Any comments or concerns not addressed at the public hearing may be submitted by consumers and other interested parties by sending an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please include “Citizens” in the subject line of your email. Under Florida law, written communications to the Office are public record; this would include email addresses. They are subject to public disclosure, including being available to the public and media if requested.
 
Comments will be accepted until August 30, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. for all rate filings except for the Commercial Lines Accounts File Log #’s: 13-12319, 13-12323, and 13-12470. Commercial Lines Accounts rate filing comments need to be received no later than August 20, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. for consideration as the Office is required, per statute, to render a decision on these filings within a few days of the hearing.  
 
For more information about this hearing, visit the “Citizens’ Property Insurance Rate Filing” page on the Office website.
 
WHEN: August 20, 2013
           4:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
           A copy of the agenda is available for review.
                            
WHERE: Tampa Convention Center
              Ballroom D
              333 South Franklin Street
              Tampa, FL  33602
 
The Florida Channel will stream the hearing live online. A videotaped recording of the hearing will be available on the Office’s website at a later date.
                
CONTACT:   Amy Bogner
                          850-413-2515                           
                         This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Happy Birthday United States of America

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By 

New Law Guides: Condos, Coops, HOAs

guidesThe Community Association Leadership Lobby (CALL) has made available their 2013 Legislative Guides for Condominiums, Cooperatives, and Homeowners' Associations.  Review the new laws of which most became effective today.  Click the links below to view and download each guide.

Condominiums

Cooperatives

Homeowners' Associations

By Chris Brown

New HOA Law Begins Today

capitol-building

House Bill 7119 which was commonly referred to as the HOA Bill became law today.  The new legal requirements for Homeowner Associations are significant.  The Community Advocacy Network (CAN) last month presented a great outline of the law prior to Governor Scott signing the legislation.    

  • Subjects community association managers to disciplinary action for violating provisions of Chapters 718, 719 or 720 during the course of performing their services.
  • Requires that HOA official records be maintained within the state for at least 7 years and be made available within 10 business days after receipt of a written request to any parcel owner for inspection or copying within 45 miles of the community or within the county where the community is located. HOAs can also comply with this requirement by making the records available to an owner electronically via the Internet or by allowing the records to be viewed in an electronic format on a computer screen  and then printed out.
  • Allows HOA members to use a smartphone, tablet, or other portable devices to take photos or images of association documents at no charge to the member.
  • Allows an HOA to charge for the personnel costs incurred to retrieve and copy records if the time spent doing so exceeds 1/2 hour and if the personnel costs do not exceed $20 per hour. Personnel costs may not be charged for records requests that result in the copying of 25 or fewer pages.
  • Requires an HOA budget to designate the components for which a reserve account may be used if such reserve account was established by the developer.
  • Creates new annual reporting requirements for the association manager or the board if the community is self-managed. Each year a report containing the following information must be sent to the Division by November 22, 2013: Legal name of the association; federal employer ID number of the association; association’s mailing and physical addresses; total number of parcels; and total amount of revenues and expenses from the association’s budget. For HOAs that are still under developer control, the report must also contain the following information: developer’s legal name; developer’s mailing address; the total number of parcels owned by the developer on the date of reporting.
  • Requires the DBPR to establish and implement an online registration system for the foregoing reporting requirements no later than October 1, 2013.
  • Requires the DBPR to present the data collected on Florida’s HOAs to the Governor, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House by December 1, 2013 each year.
  • Provides an expiration date for these reporting requirements of July 1, 2016 unless further re-enacted by the Legislature.
  • Requires certification of HOA directors in the same manner as currently required of condominium directors.
  • Requires contracts in which a director has a financial interest to be disclosed and approved by the affirmative vote of 2/3 of the directors present.
  • Allows HOA members to cancel any contract in which a director is financially interested at the next regular or special membership meeting following execution of that contract. Clarifies that if the membership cancels such a contract, the association is only liable for the reasonable value of goods and services provided up to the time of cancellation and is not liable for any termination fee, liquidated damages or other penalty for cancellation.
  • Requires the board to immediately remove any director or officer who is found to have accepted any good or service of value without paying for same for himself or herself or his or her family. The exception to this rule is that a director or officer may accept food to be consumed at a business meeting with a value of less than $25 per individual or a service or good received in connection with trade fairs or education programs.
  • Requires the immediate removal from office of any director or officer who is charged with a felony theft or embezzlement offense involving the association’s funds or property.
  • Requires an insurance policy or fidelity bond for all persons who control or disburse funds of the HOA. Such policy or bond must cover the maximum funds that will be in the custody of the association or management agent at any one time. Persons who control or disburse funds includes persons authorized to sign checks on behalf of the association and the president, secretary and treasurer of the association. A majority of the association’s voting interests can vote to waive the requirement of this insurance policy or fidelity bond annually at a duly called association meeting.
  • Requires the HOA to provide copies of amendments to the members within 30 days after recording such amendments in the Public Records.
  • Clarifies that an HOA does not have to allow nominations from the floor the night of an election if there is a process in place for candidates to be nominated prior to the election meeting. Further clarifies that an election is not required unless more candidates are nominated than vacancies exist.
  • Adds abandonment or desertion by a developer as a triggering event for turnover of association control. Creates a rebuttable presumption of abandonment and desertion if the developer has unpaid assessments of guaranteed amounts for more than 2 years.
  • Adds a developer’s filing a petition for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code as a triggering event for turnover of association control.
  • Adds a developer losing title to the property via foreclosure or a deed in lieu of foreclosure as a triggering event for turnover of association control unless the successor owner has accepted an assignment of developer rights and responsibilities.
  • Adds the appointment of a Receiver for more than 30 days as a triggering event for turnover of association control unless the court determines that such turnover would be detrimental to the association or its members.
  • Allows members other than the developer to elect at least one member of the board if 50% of the parcels in all phases of the community have been conveyed to members.
  • Prohibits a developer from unilaterally amending the governing documents in a manner which is arbitrary, capricious or in bad faith. Further prohibits the developer from making such amendments as would destroy the general plan of development, prejudice the rights of non-developer members to use and enjoy the common property or materially shift economic burdens from the developer to the existing non-developer members. Developer amendments will now be subject to a reasonableness test which is a welcome change!
  • Clarifies that an HOA which forecloses on a delinquent property is still entitled to collect unpaid assessments which accrued prior to the time the association took title from third party purchasers at the bank’s  subsequent foreclosure sale.  


For the history and full text of the new HOA law (HB 7119), click here.

For more information about the Community Advocacy Network (CAN), click here.

UPDATE: CAN and the KGB Law Firm have now released their 2013 Legislative Guidebook for Community Associations.


Chris Brown

Power Outages and Food Safety

1power-outage-blackoutPower failures can be one of the most annoying—and disabling—occurrences in a community. Whether caused by summer storms, power lines crippled by high winds, equipment failure, an overloaded regional grid or an animal disrupting a power line, electrical outages can be costly, uncomfortable—and without forethought—sometimes even dangerous.
 
Residents can face many hazards when a power failure occurs,usually without any warning, including losing refrigerated and frozen foods. Some food items can be salvaged, however, if you’re prepared.
 
In anticipation of a power failure:

  • Have at least one or two coolers on hand, and at least one spare 5-pound bag of ice in the freezer.
  • Know where to get bag, block or dry ice quickly when you need it, particularly if you anticipate a long-term outage. (Caution: Dry ice is made from carbon dioxide, so it requires safe handling. Never breathe in its vapors or touch it with your bare hands.) According to the Food Safety Branch of Kentucky’s Department of Health, a 50-pound block of dry ice will keep a tightly packed, 18-cubic-foot freezer cool for up to two days.
  • Have an instant food thermometer or appliance thermometer available to ensure your freezers, refrigerators and coolers are staying cool enough to store food safely.
  • Arrange the refrigerator and freezer efficiently. Frozen food will last longer in a full freezer—up to 48 hours if tightly packed—and refrigerated food will last longer—up to four hours—if there is room for air to circulate around items.


When the electricity goes off:

  • Avoid opening and closing the refrigerator unless absolutely necessary.
  • Cook and use perishable food before using canned food.
  • Check the temperature of refrigerated foods if the power is out for more than a few hours. Discard any food item than has been at 40° F or warmer for two or more hours. Exceptions include butter and margarine; hard cheeses like parmesan and Romano; some condiments like mustard, peanut butter, soy sauce, olives and vinegar-based salad dressing; and fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables.
  • Check the temperature of frozen foods as well. While tightly packed freezer foods will stay frozen for many hours, some items that may have thawed can be refrozen if they still retain ice crystals or have remained at a temperature lower than 40°. Fruit and vegetable juices; breads, rolls and pie crusts; flour, cornmeal and nuts; meat and chicken; and prepared foods and casseroles can be refrozen safely if they have not been at 40° F or warmer for more than two hours.
  • After the power comes back on, you may need to deodorize the refrigerator and freezer by washing surfaces with a solution of 2 tablespoons baking soda dissolved in a quart of warm water. Place an open box of baking soda inside the refrigerator to absorb any lingering odors.

Since the appearance and odor of a food item isn’t an accurate indication of its safety after a power outage, use the 40° rule-of-thumb. And when in doubt, discard the food.

While the power can go out any time, most power failures occur between mid-July and late September. But no matter when your community experiences an outage—and it inevitably will—knowing how to handle frozen and refrigerated foods can help you keep your food supplies safe until the lights come back on.

C&S Management Receives Award

braadenton award

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

C & S Condominium Management Services, Inc. Receives 2013 Best of Bradenton Award

Bradenton Award Program Honors Achievement

BRADENTON June 15, 2013 -- C & S Condominium Management Services, Inc., has been selected for the 2013 Best of Bradenton Award in the Property Management category by the Bradenton Award Program.

Each year, the Bradenton Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Bradenton area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2013 Bradenton Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Bradenton Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Bradenton Award Program

The Bradenton Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Bradenton area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Bradenton Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Bradenton Award Program

CONTACT:
Bradenton Award Program
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
URL: http://www.awardprogram.org

Study: Health Insurance Costs To Rise

insuranceScanning through different articles in a news publication today, I saw that Center Forward, a nonpartisan organization, had prepared a comprehensive study of changing health insurance costs for 2014.  Florida was one of six states studied which grabbed my attention so I wanted to see what they had reported.   Since, in addition to our own company employees, many of our client community associations have on site employees whom we manage, insurance costs are an important issue for us to follow.   

Unfortunately rates in Florida, for individual coverage for those not receiving a government subsidy, are predicted to increase the most of the six states.  The increase is expected to be 40% to 60%.  Twenty-seven year old males as an example will see an increase of 60% to 135%.    To see the Center Forward study results, click here.   To see the full Florida Report, click here.

On May 30, 2013, Center Forward hosted a discussion at the National Press Club about the study.  The panelists were:  Douglas J. Holtz-Eakin, President, American Action Forum, James O’Connor, Principal and Consulting Actuary, Milliman Consulting, and the Hon.Earl Pomeroy, former U.S. Representative, North Dakota.  To listen to their panel discussion on the study, click here