The Winter of Our Discontent
August 6, 2014
It was the toughest winter some of us can remember. Our staff worked very, very hard to keep up with the icy, slushy mess, both inside and outside the building – our walks, driveways, hallways, lobby and other areas that get the brunt of the muck we drag in on our feet. As their supervisor, I would be remiss not to thank and congratulate them for the extra effort and long COLD hours they worked. But we emerged intact and financially sound especially considering the impact the cold had on our gas bills. Where some of my colleagues have reported their client Associations saw about double their typical gas bills from December through March, we ended the fiscal year only 23% over budget (unaudited). This is likely due to improvements the Board authorized and we have made to the main boilers over the past two years, retrofitting our heating network with energy efficient controls and fixtures. In the years to come, we are planning to look at the domestic water system (the hot water for kitchens and baths) for opportunities to improve our energy use further. Thankfully we ended the year under budget in electricity by 13%, which help offset these larger gas bills.
Next, we are waiting for a final report from RCN on the bulk program installations. For the most part we have had positive feed-back about the decision to incorporate bulk internet into the program. There have been bumps in the road, and we continue to encourage owners and residents to con-tact the office if they need help getting any issue resolved. We do know that RCN is planning a significant upgrade to their “HUB” which supports Park Tower’s inter-net service. This is based on feedback from residents and Management, as well as our former Cable Committee Members Vince DiFruscio, Mike Magliane and John Curlo, as well as Board Liaison Dave Nicosia. They have been regularly documenting the internet speeds and performance, and we have been forwarding their observations to RCN. RCN continues to work with us to re-solve any issues and finalize the remaining installations. We will continue working out any problems we find along the way.
Finally, several Unit Owners inquired about the rescheduling of April’s Board Meeting. This happened twice in one month, which has not happened in my tenure. First, the meeting was originally scheduled for April 14th and was rescheduled to the 21st to give the Ad-hoc Rules Review Committee some additional time to work on the revised Rules and Regulations document. This was tentatively scheduled for discussion at the April Board Meeting. However, since that time, the results of a lawsuit at another Association, 2800 North Lakeshore vs. Palm, were published. Park Tower’s legal counsel has reported findings in this case will change the way Associations conduct business in a variety of ways. In relation to Board Meetings, the court ruled that no-tice requirements in Association Bylaws are to be strictly followed despite contradictory language in the Illinois Condo Act. Upon advice of counsel, the scheduled meeting for the 21st was cancelled, re-scheduled and notice was mailed for the 29th. We will be working with the Board and legal counsel to make any other changes, but for now the most noticeable one will be that owners will receive notices for all Board Meetings in the mail. This will increase our expenses for envelopes, paper and postage, but as always we will work hard to make up the difference.