State of the Isles President's Letter
December 11, 2018
There are a couple of items that I want to update the community on as we head into the Holiday Season, a time when V.I. really “shines” with some incredible holiday decorations and our beautiful seawall luminary display on Christmas Eve. For more information on this special Venetian Isles tradition and how you can purchase candles from the Hospitality Committee, please visit www.ourvi.org/ the source for all your information on life in V.I.
Passing of Bob Johnson
Many of you knew Bob from his countless years on the V.I.H.A. Board or serving on numerous V.I.H.A. committees. Bob passed away on December 8. Bob was as committed in his efforts to maintain V.I. as the highest quality residential community as anyone. Bob was the original owner of his house on Kansas and lived in V.I. since the early 1970’s. V.I. is a better place because of Bob Johnson and he will be missed. Our thoughts are with Bob’s family as they mourn his passing.
We held a General Meeting for V.I. residents on October 11 where representatives of Qualified Property Management (“QPM”) were in attendance to introduce themselves to the community, make a brief presentation on their company and the services they provide, and answer any property owner questions. As we have discussed previously, the V.I.H.A. Board has been doing diligence on management companies in an effort to provide support for various functions, given the reduction in volunteer hours that V.I.H.A. members are able to commit. Some concerns that were raised at the General Meeting related to oversight of the management company and cost. First and foremost, if a management company is retained they work for V.I.H.A. and V.I. – not the other way around. The V.I.H.A. Board continues to set the policies and procedures and the management company follows them. Frank Saccone from QPM made a statement that really resonated with me. He said that homeowners are used to paying $85 - $100/month for lawn services and a similar amount for pool services, yet they are reluctant to pay a small fraction of that to protect the value of one of their biggest assets. The ad hoc committee formed to evaluate management companies has reviewed a proposed contract from QPM and discussion of this contract will likely occur at the V.I.H.A. Board meeting on December 17, 2018 at 6:00 pm at LCC Day School.
It was clear at the General Meeting that there is a wide range of opinions on the retention of a management company, as there are on many V.I.H.A. issues. The V.I.H.A. Board has taken over a year to diligence and review management companies. If we do retain a management company, it is because we have thoroughly researched it and believe it is in the best interests of our community. I hope that you recognize the effort that has gone into this process and will support the Board’s decision regardless of the ultimate decision.
2019 Dues Letters
Dues letters for 2019 will be mailed concurrent with the release of this “State of the Isles”. Annual dues for 2019, approved by the V.I.H.A. Board at the October Board meeting, will be $150.00. This is the first increase in V.I.H.A. dues in seven years and represents a monthly cost of $12.50. The increase in 2019 annual dues is not the result of an increase in costs related to the potential retention of a management company, but is a function of increases in maintenance of our limited common areas, reclaimed water, utilities and insurance, among others. There have been noticeable improvements to V.I. that are all made possible by the commitment of V.I.H.A. members.
Lisa Schwartz and members of the Beautification Committee have done a great job with the entrance to V.I. on Overlook and the new monuments that have been completed and are awaiting final inspection by the City. I’d like to also thank: (i) Steve Cropper, who recently spread 300 pounds of fertilizer along Grand Canal and Overlook and repaired all the sprinklers; (ii) Mark Brenman and Lisa Schwartz, who spread 19 bags of mulch predominantly on Overlook; (iii) Janet DeBiasio, who served as the point person for the replacement of a palm tree around Illinois Ave and Grand Canal; and, (iv) Jaren Wright, Janet, Steve and Mark, who made sure there was sufficient water for the plants at the new monuments. This is just an example of the commitment made by V.I.H.A. members to keep our community looking as attractive as it does. Just a reminder that these improvements are funded, in part, with revenues that are generated from advertisements in the “Venetian Isles Directory of Homeowners”. Please patronize those firms that are advertising in the Directory and making V.I. a better community.
As of this date, we will have five open positions on the V.I.H.A. Board in 2019. Elections will be held at the Annual Meeting on January 24. As I have written previously, it is critical that we get new members of the Board to generate fresh ideas and different perspectives. Please let me know if you have an interest.
Another successful event on Oktoberfest that saw attendance of 300+ persons at the Kansas South cul-de-sac. Thanks to the Michigan Grillers, the volunteers and the sponsors who made this event such a success. Photos of the event are posted on http://www.ourvi.org/latest-news/archives/10-2018
St. Pete PD has advised us that the first case of “front step package theft” has occurred in V.I. Please make every effort to remove your packages from your doorways ASAP or have a neighbor do so, if possible.
Hope to see you at the Annual Meeting on January 24 at 7:00pm at Lutheran Church of the Cross. A social event will be held prior to the meeting starting at 6:30pm.
Have a happy and safe holiday season. Don’t forget to light your seawall candles at 6:00pm on December 24th!!!! As always, feel free to contact me at the email address below. Please see http://www.ourvi.org/ for additional info. Thank you.