Managing Our Parks and Lawns

At the board meeting on Sept 06, 2018, after failing to control Normili and CAM lawn services, the board discussed eliminating back yards from cutting, meaning everyone will need to cut their own back yard. Terry Moody, who suggested it, said having back yards included in cutting resulted in too many complaints for her to deal with. The other board members thought it was a bad idea and discussion ended with no action taken. Terry revived her issue 9 months later at June 06, 2019 Board, proposing changes to Rules & Regs that 5 Board officers (not the membership) will vote for on July 2nd. All fenced backyards will not be mowed, unless clearance for mowers is at least 3 feet and yards clear of dog feces and debris. This seems reasonable yet does not cure the real problem: no notices to hapless residents of exact days when debris must be collected, kids & pets secured.

The revised Rule is Exhibit B (recorded at BCPR Book 20346, page 605) to “pay for and/or provide…cutting of grass of each indvidual home site….as may be required to keep the grass on each home site properly cut.” Our entire lawns. No mention of excluding fenced properties nor backyards.  Our roll-over Board feels burdened by its inability to manage landscapers.

Recent history: At the Oct 04, 2018 meeting, after announcing that Brightview had quit after only one cut stretched over 12 calendar days, the Board president again blamed desperate homeowners for delaying lawn crews. She wanted to stop backyard cuts for any member with a fence. The Board replaced Brightview with Tropic Star, a smaller lawn service that admitted it would need 3 days to finish at $4,000/cut, less than Brightview. This may be a solution, if Tropic Star announces which home sites will be serviced on each day, so that residents need not keep gates open and pets inside for more than a single assigned cut date. Tropic Star began on Monday Oct 08 but did not finish until the next Monday Oct 15. Its crew was polite and efficient. Any bad service or skirting damage was to be reported immediately to the Manager: Kathryn Sajdak at Next Gen – 954-349-8777, and in 2020, Jose Fabregas at Property Keepers – 954-586-5111.

At the November 01, 2018 Board meeting, Terry Moody moved to give Tropic Star a $2,800 hardship bonus and then proposed that rear fenced yards must be mowed or not at all, a penalty for overgrowth. But some residents had fences built by their adjacent neighbors, not by choice. Any 6-foot privacy fence hides unsightly items from public view, so what problem is our president trying to solve? We are into dry season with monthly cuts. December’s was scheduled again for a 3rd Monday, always a bulk trash pick-up day, and continued for 2 more days. Why can’t Tropic Star organize our home sites into 3 or 4 groups by address, so that we residents know exact date to clear trash and keep gates open to backyards?

At its Oct 04, 2018 meeting, the Board had voted to hire L&J Property for 3 days/week at $850/month for clean-up. Contract was rescinded at Nov 01 Board meeting in order to give maintenance job instead to Terry Moody’s most vocal political supporter. The Board approved purchase of additional garbage cans for pool areas. Meanwhile, pole-type waste baskets to reduce litter in our parks were bought 2 years ago and still have not been installed. The clubhouse bus stop shelter, torn down 22 months ago, has never been replaced. Five park benches paid by 2017 Board are also in storage.

Delays of 2 years continue on covering the clubhouse pool equipment and fixing magnetic locks. Until late 2018, clubhouse gym & sauna were closed to homeowners who pay their fees “due to vandalism.” The new high-res cameras can identify teen intruders who use parents’ cards to invite their pals into our rec hall, but the alleged damage has yet to be identified, so no fines can be imposed on parents. Landscape sprinklers were turned off as dry season officially began on Oct 15 and now continue on 40% of schedule needed to protect clubhouse landscaping against hot winds. As of Dec 16, 2018, gym & sauna were closed again; the club house pool had a 12-inch drop in water level, and the family park pool remained closed. So far in 2019, the gym and club house pool have been open, but pool card readers out of camera view were vandalized. Small children can open the gate, a cited code violation. Teens from outside Holly Lake use our pool. Preserving Association assets and amenities is any Board’s FIRST legal responsibility.

Turf is dormant during the dry season anyway, but on January 21st, 2019, members received a 2 pm notice that Tropic Star had begun its $4,000 lawn cut again on a bulk pick-up Monday. For residents who want their backyards cut, we had hoped that our Board will provide at least 4 days notice to “open gates and clear trash.” They did so for February’s cut with bilingual E-blast, but then reverted to “same day” notice for all its future Wednesday cuts in March, April, May, June and July! Lawn cuts are scheduled weeks in advance; why not let residents in on the secret?

As a result, frustrated residents accosted lawn crews on April 24th with physical & verbal abuse, allowing Tropic Star to cancel its contract! Five weeks later, Tropic Star returned provisionally on May 29, June 12 & 26. Cuts continued without ANY prior notice to residents on July 10 and 24. During the July 24-26 cut, Tropic Star was stopped again by resident Julie Brito. Owner Lamborn told HLA that he would not return. In its contract approved by attorney Otto, Tropic Star had been paid $7,667 per month regardless of number of cuts (1, 2, or 3) scheduled. By ending its annual contract at 16 cuts during the rainy season, Tropic Star was overpaid by $13,419 by president Moody and treasurer Wyant. So far, as of June 2020, they have refused to recover these easily-proven excess charges, documented in the Association’s cash disbursement ledgers, after investigation by Ms. Brito, who is now vice-president.

The Landscape Committee responded by securing a bid presented at Aug 08th, 2019 Board meeting that requires HLA to provide 3-days advance notice to residents at $4,750 per cut. Stiff restrictions on backyard cuts from “Exhibit B” rule passed by Board will still apply: no clutter on grass, no backyards cut unless 3-feet access is clear from street. The new service is Matteo’s of SW 185 Way in nearby Southwest Ranches, who promised to divide Holly Lake into 2 sections to then supply exact date for your yard cut, after the workload is tested. First cuts began Tuesday August 27 to 29. Second cut proceeded on Sept 10-11, and others on Tues/Weds Sept 24-25 and Oct 9-10, 2019. Matteo’s November cuts were 5-6 and 19-20 Tues/Weds. During the 2020 rainy season, cuts are planned every 2 weeks: May 12, May 26, June 9, etc. Expect rescheduling, if heavy rains interfere on cut dates. Complaints must be reported to Property Keepers the same day.

The Board declared that new magnetic cards are available during Next Gen’s clubhouse office hours, 9-11 am Fridays and 4-6 pm Tuesdays. Residents with old cards can get them reset for free. The new mag locks were tested to prevent unauthorized entry to clubhouse and pools. Yet as of October, the 2 pools are not secured against outsiders. At its Sept 12 Board meet, the Board advised that it wanted to junk the Maglock system in favor of wireless. During coronavirus lockdown, residents have been unable to get new magnetic cards, because Property Keepers refused to provide 4 hours/week of clubhouse service as contracted.

A new Landscape Committee presented its recommendations at the Board’s July 18, 2019 meeting that mirrored its agenda from 2018. An unspent budget is available to replace long-dead or stolen shrubs at our 4 mini-parks. Members with gardening skills are invited to join. A Beautification Committee was working to repair damaged curbing and insist that City upgrade its neglected median along NW 215 AVE, but both Advisory Committees were cancelled in early August after its chairmen (Michener and Rivera) were removed for political reasons. A call-out in April, 2020 to revive the committees failed. Anyone interested can still contact vice-president Brito.

On June 19, 2020 the temporary maintenance woman butchered 5 native palms worth $1,500 at club house entrance, in violation of all PPines regulations and continued to weed beds that are part of our lawn service’s monthly obligation. Later, she severely pruned shrubs at the ballpark and tore out Kimberly Queen ferns at the clubhouse, causing another $600 damages. Property Keepers continued to bill us for the prior maintenance man, Junior Acevedo, who demanded 12 weeks of Covid leave, even though he is under contract to the management company, not to our Association. Although 7 candidates applied to become permanent maintenance man and pool attendant, none were selected until late September! The new hire quit. As of mid-October, 2020, the club house pool and gym were open 10 am-5 pm for 5 days/week without an attendant. Board paid Matteo’s to prune trees and shrubs on Sep 25, 2020. The large trees along NW 214 AVE remain to be pruned by FPL.

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