The Great Carnac on Debt, Taxes, Bugs and Soffits

  • Posted on: June 13, 2014

carnacOnce again, here I hold in my hand an envelope. As you can plainly see, it’s been hermetically sealed and kept in a mayonnaise jar since noon today on Funk and Wagnell’s porch. No one — NO ONE! — knows the contents but the Omnipotent Master of the East and former manicurist to Howard Hughes, Carnac the Magnificent.

Carnac: “Sim sala bim, I must have absolute silence.” He takes the envelop, puts it to his forehead and announces his premonition: “Debt, Taxes, Bugs and Soffits.”

On opening the envelop and removing its contents, Carnac reads: “Describe the 111 East Chestnut Condominium June Board Meeting.”

Here are some highlights from last night:

  • There were about 15 “concerned homeowners” in attendance. As to the Board, Milazzo, Shay, Gajderowicz and Del Monico were there. Brush and Greene phoned it in. Fish took a powder.
  • Approval of the April 17 and May 8 Board Meeting Minutes were tabled as each is still being rewritten.
  • The tiling is complete in the 9th and 10th floor stairwells. And there are plans to paint the BBQ deck.
  • An updated 22.1 Disclosure Statement was summarily approved. No details were mentioned let alone discussed.
  • The Board approved a “competitive bid” policy replacing a prior Board’s competitive bid policy. Now instead of competitive bids being required for items over $3,000, it will be for anything over $2,500. Also, Del Monico pushed for sealed bidding. Milazzo asked for a number as “it doesn’t make sense to have sealed bids on small projects.” After some discussion, $100K seemed a little high. Shay was asked her opinion. She picked the number 75. All agreed.
  • It was decided that we are switching marble floor maintenance companies. The topic of “grit size” was brought up by Sudler Management Company’s Bob Graf. Director Brush insisted that the floor then be sealed because she “just had this done.”
  • Committees (i.e. Design, Development, Engineering, finance, Rules, Operations) were discussed. To augment the committee charters that were updated and approved a year ago, it’s been decided to populate them with more than just Milazzo and Richard Evans, i.e. a homeowner “outreach” program is being considered. Apparently, Ms. Shay has been nominated Rush Chairman. Shay did say that she’s spoken to a few friends in the building and that the criteria will be that the homeowner applicant “be positive.” She said she’d have a plan prepared for the July Board meeting.
  • As to the $40,000-budgeted superfluous Workout Room renovation, we are still waiting for the building permits.
  • Regarding pool rules and monitoring, after some discussion the board decided to stick with the failure that was 2013. Like last year, a door person will maybe occasionally peruse the deck. If there are rule and/or law violations, they might ask the offending resident to comply. Also, on weekends resident-reported incidents will be handled by maintenance if/when they can get to it. According to Graf, an actual attendant for the season would cost about $1,800. However, led by part-time residents Milazzo and Greene, the board decided instead to take a chance and double down on slipshod.  Suffice to say, the betting window is still open as to whether the pool will remain open all summer.
  • Sara Rudnik, our building site manager, is due back from maternity leave a week from Monday.

Now for the headliners:

  • DEBT: Our chronic million dollar weeping sore, well… is about the same. According to Graf, we’ve only got some $120,000 in our reserve account. And the balance of our Barrington Bank loan is $843,000. And we now have approximately $319,000 charged on our second line of credit.
  • TAXES: The fee for the attorney for the 2013 real estate tax appeal will be unit allocated and made part of our August assessments. No word on the amount.
  • BUGS: The meeting’s second biggest debate was about bugs. We use Anderson Pest Solutions. Orkin costs about half as much. But Serap “really liked the guys from Anderson.” A vote was taken. It was 3 “for” and 3 “against.” The topic was tabled.
  • and SOFFITS: The best for last, the biggest debate of the evening had to do with how we intend to cover the hallway conduit for the Life Safety project. If you are not aware, we are soon to have a run of raw conduit pipe down the center of each hallway ceiling as part of the fire annunciator system. Drawings were presented. Options were discussed. They are limited. Even with the conduit only about 2” off the ceiling, due to the unit doorways and wire underneath the crown molding, we cannot do a continuous drop ceiling. So it comes down to whether the center soffit is 18” wide or some 30” plus leaving a reveal on either side of the ceiling. Another recommended option was to install 30” diameter wood-veneered “decorative circles with Xs” along the soffit length to break up the monotony. Asia was viably upset at the proposal. Her words: “The fact is we don’t have any money and this is something we are going to live with forever. We need to get his right.” NEXT STEPS: $2,500 was budgeted for foam-core mock ups of the several options to be installed on two floors.

After a few moments of uncomfortable tension, here Ed McMahon would say something like, “A prediction certainly worth waiting for…”

And a nettled Carnac would respond: “May you be forced to visit a near-sighted proctologist.”

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