At Nine Island, assessment and election stir things up

The temperature is rising again at Nine Island Avenue, Belle Isle’s biggest condo.

Two weeks ago, the board approved a $3.5 million assessment for its 274 unit owners. The money will be used to repair the building’s failing pool deck; the controversy is over the length of time unit owners will have to pay their tab, which ranges from roughly $1,100 a month to $2,500 a month (even more for penthouse unit owners), depending on unit size, for eight months.

Many unit owners — and a board member or two — have complained the payments are too large over too compressed a time frame. It’s become a key issue in the upcoming condo board election, which happens March 9.

To gain some perspective, your Belle Isle Blog asked the leaders at Belle Plaza, 20 Island Ave., and Costa Brava, 10 Island Ave., how they structured their recent assessments.

Here is what we learned:

At Belle Plaza, board president Scott Diffenderfer said his building just ended an assessment to pay for work needed for its 40-year recertification, seawall repair, a new cooling tower and chiller and other incidentals. The cost for $1.2 million, and the building has 226 units.

“The assessment started in January of 2009. Our management company advised us to spread payments over one year, but we decided to give people two years to pay it off because of the difficult economic times everyone was facing two years ago.

“We charged a nominal interest rate to those who chose to pay over time, around 7.5 percent.”

Some homeowners, Diffenderfer said, paid in full up front. “Total assessments ranged between $3,500 and $10,000 a unit, total. Everyone else paid over two years, and paid some interest.”

At Costa Brava, president Nellie Barrios said the building has had three assessments in recent years.

“The first one was for 60 months — too long for cash flow issues. The second was for I think three  years ($200-$300 per month) and the third was for 24 months (about $300-$400 per month), she said, though she isn’t sure of the precise totals per unit.

“Given  the time that is required for the bids, the permits, and the work, I think you might be safe in spreading it out for 12 months possibly 18 but you would have to know how far along in the design, permitting etc. they are at — and EVERYTHING takes longer than you could ever anticipate.”

Diffenderfer said he felt the eight-month payback period would “be impossible for many of our residents.”

4 responses to “At Nine Island, assessment and election stir things up

  1. Apparently, no one told my fellow board members about how our neighbors handled their special assessments. Maybe they should have asked!

  2. Belleoftheball

    Having assessments that big over such a short amount of time is unreasonable and unaffordable for many. I’m surprised that the residents of 9 Island haven’t overthrown their government.

    • In response to Belleoftheball, I am on the BOD of 9 Island. I couldn’t agree with you more. I am one of 5, and stood alone in my objections to this outrageous plan. It is the BODs responsibility to represent the homeowners. My fellow directors have not lived up to that responsibility. Unfortunately, elections are next week, and the BOD will be reelected, minus me. I am the odd man out. Too bad there are no rewards for trying!

  3. Why should our “president” listen to our Belle Isle neighbors, when he won’t listen to his own neighbors, living at 9 Island.

    Belleoftheball, I hope your words are read by many. The last Board was voted out with a slate that promised transparency and fiscal responsibility, and all we’ve gotten is autocratic rule with a few short sighted savings.

    9 Island, Vote!

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