TOWN HALL WITH NP DEPUTY MAYOR - RESULT

By David Casarsa, Vice President

            On Wednesday, 12 June 2019 at 7pm, the City of North Port Deputy Mayor, Debbie McDowell, spoke to the membership at the invitation by the Board of Directors.  Ms McDowell addressed her role as a City Commissioner, the challenges currently faced by the City and the two issues of particular interest to the Jockey Club. 

            The first was the private ownership of Woods Lane.  She provided reassurance that the City had full control of the right of way (Woods Lane) and that any attempt by the landowner to interfere with that right of way would be immediately addressed by the City.  In short, Woods Lane could not be closed.

            The second issue pertained to the second or emergency exit from the “island” currently accessible only via Woods Lane.  Ms McDowell spoke of the City’s plan to keep the wildlife corridor between Little Salt Spring and Myakkahatchee Creek, the ongoing negotiations with landowners to acquire properties in that area and that the City did not have plans to develop the area further.  She stated that any proposal for an emergency exit would be a Jockey Club problem and would be the responsibility of the Jockey Club to coordinate and fund such a project within constraints/restraints imposed by the City.

            Unfortunately, attendance at her presentation was sparce, only 11 members (including Board members) were in attendance.  This lack of attendance indicates that there is little or no concern amongst those 192 homes on the “island” regarding either Woods Lane or an emergency exit.  By its lack of interest, the membership has demonstrated that neither issue is worth pursuing.  Consequently, unless there is a dramatic change in the situation and popular support, the Board will no longer pursue these issues with the City.

HARDSCAPES – A SOLUTION

By

David Casarsa, Vice President

                On 10 January 2020, the Jockey Club Board held a meeting to discuss the issue of hardscapes and offer a proposed solution.  This was done in response to a number of member queries as to why they were being forced to construct additional parking areas on the garage side of their homes to accommodate their vehicles and trailers. A copy of the presentation can be found at the bottom of this article.

                The issue of vehicle parking has always been a problem in the Jockey Club.  Our homes were built in the late 70’s and were designed for 1-2 vehicles in mind.  A number of our homeowners own numerous vehicles as well as RVs and trailers.  During the rainy season, parking off of driveways has led to excessive vehicle rutting, the potential for vehicle/trailer damage and has resulted in an unsightly appearance within our community.  This has also led to vehicles being parked in various locations on an owner’s property in order to escape the mud, but has in fact contributed to the spread of more rutting and drainage problems.

                In March of 2018, the Membership approved our new Governing Documents which included specific provisions regarding numbers of vehicles, trailers etc and where they were allowed to park on an owner’s lot.  The regulations included the requirement for vehicles parked adjacent to driveways on the garage side of the home to be parked on a hardscape.  Hardscapes are defined in our Declarations of Covenants and Restrictions as “any hard surface not part of the building structure and include driveways, sidewalks, patios, porches, lanais, pool deck, paver decks, retaining walls, fences, concrete or brick/stone edging and other hard surfaces whether  structural or part of the landscape.”  For some owners, this entails the need for a proper hard standing to support their vehicles and trailers and at a cost some stated was prohibitive.

                Our Environmental Control Committee approached several contractors and suppliers in an attempt to find a low cost option that would meet our needs.  We found that option in Mr Ted Springer who has offered to construct an 8ft x 25ft x 4in pad with limestone and a weed mat for $400.00.  The price includes his labor and the excavation and removal of spoil.  He has an 8 x 20ft option for $360.00 and is open to negotiate other dimensions to suit the needs of the homeowner.  Mr Springer can be reached at 941-565-0898.

                The Jockey Club will commence enforcement of the hardscape requirement as of 01 April 2020.  If you make excessive use of the area adjacent to your driveway and your garage, it will be necessary to put in a hardscape.  Mr Springer’s offer is one that you cannot pass up.  In the interests of protecting your investment, enhancing your property values, maintaining the aesthetics of our Community and to avoid running afoul of our Governing Documents, take this opportunity to construct a hardscape.  We will all be the better for it.

JOCKEY CLUB ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

By David Casarsa, Vice President

               Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place on 12 March 2020 at the Clubhouse.  A quorum in person or by proxy was not present and, as a result, the AGM was cancelled until next year.  Attendance at this meeting has been traditionally low, but at an all-time low on this particular date.  Perhaps the threat of the COVID-19 virus played a role in reducing attendance.  We shall see next year.

               The Board of Directors Organizational Meeting was called immediately upon the adjournment of the AGM.  The Board welcomed two acclaimed directors Reana Lapointe and Lisa Poland to its ranks and appointed Jack Lapointe to fill the remaining Board position.  The election of officers resulted in:

President – William Seaver

Vice President – David Casarsa

Secretary – Janet Armstrong

Treasurer – Jason Neff

Assistant Secretary – Rena Lapointe

Assistant Treasurer – Jack Lapointe

At Large/ECC – Nicole Everett

At Large/Maintenance – Robert W. Iiams

At Large/Recreation – Lisa Poland

 

My thanks to my colleagues on the Board for their hard work this past year and my thanks as well to those members who attended who supported the Jockey Club this past year, giving of their time and effort to make the Jockey Club a better place. 

JOCKEY CLUB SUSPENSION OF ACTIVITES

By

David Casarsa, Vice President

Due to the COVID-19 Virus the Clubhouse and Pool are closed until further notice.  All planned activities are now cancelled which includes all bookings for the use of the Great Room and Library.  The Clubhouse is closed until further notice but the Office can be reached by phone (941-426-3800) or email (jockeyclubnorthport@gmail.com) between the hours of 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday if you have any questions or concerns.  In accordance with our Articles of Incorporation, Article III, Section 3, Board of Directors monthly meetings have been cancelled until the State of Emergency has been lifted by Government authorities.  If required the Board will hold duly noticed Emergency Meetings to deal with any situation that affects the Jockey Club and specifically the Clubhouse and Common Properties.

COLLECTIONS OF 2020 OVERDUE ACCOUNTS SUSPENDED

The Board has agreed to temporarily suspend collection of overdue accounts for those who have not paid their Assessments for this year (2020) only to include interest on overdue accounts.   Collection of overdue individual accounts will continue once state government officials declare the crisis over.  This action allows members to focus their expenditures on essential needs for themselves and their families.  Letters have been sent to those who are currently in arrears on their 2020 Assessments advising them of this fact and offering an online payment method to simplify payment procedures.  This online payment method is also included on our website jockeyclubnorthport.com.  Please note that the suspension of interest payments only applies to 2020 Assessments.  There is no change to those members having overdue accounts prior to 2020.  For those accounts with our attorney, there is also no change as the collection of those accounts shall continue unabated.

In these uncertain times, the Board hopes you stay safe, stay healthy and follow the direction of Government authorities.  If you live next to older members of our Community or those who have health issues, please look in on them from time to time.  They will appreciate your concern.  Working together, we will be able to weather this storm more easily and more quickly and get back to a normal life.

.

TOWN HALL WITH NP DEPUTY MAYOR

 

By David Casarsa, Vice President

            On Wednesday, 12 June 2019 at 7pm, the Jockey Club is hosting a Town Hall with Deputy Mayor Debbie McDowell at the Clubhouse.  Ms McDowell will address issues specific to the Jockey Club as well as any general questions regarding City operations.  Many of you are aware that there are two issues of particular interest to the Jockey Club.  The first is the private ownership of Woods Lane and the action the City has taken and intends to take to guarantee the use of Woods Lane.  The second issue pertains to the second or emergency exit from the “island” currently accessible only via Woods Lane.  You will have the opportunity to hear, first hand, how the City is dealing with these problems and ask pertinent questions.

            There will be refreshments and finger foods served starting at 6:30pm.  The Town Hall is open only to members of the Jockey Club or tenants holding valid Jockey Club IDs.  Come out early, have a snack, meet with your fellow Jockey Club members and have your say.  Mark this date on your calendars.

The position of the Jockey Club regarding an emergency exit from the "Island" was presented to members of the City DPW on 29 January 2019.  It has also been discussed with the Deputy Mayor, one City Commissioner and with Little Salt Spring.  It is attached for information.

JOCKEY CLUB ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

By David Casarsa, Vice President

                Our Annual General Meeting took place on 14 March 2019 at the Clubhouse.  There were 41 members in attendance plus 121 proxies, thus a quorum was present at the meeting.  Attendance was up slightly from last year, but at seven percent of the total membership, was abysmally low for such a significant meeting.  Even the lure of free food prior to the meeting did not significantly impact attendance.  Copies of the presentations are available here. 

                The priorities for the Jockey Club in 2019 are the continued enforcement of our Covenants and Restrictions and the continued pursuit of delinquent accounts. 

                A call for nominations from the floor was conducted in order to fill two vacant Board positions.  I am happy to report that Stephanie Eilar was elected for a three year term and Rena Lapointe was elected for a one year term.  In the organizational meeting that followed the Annual Meeting, the election of officers resulted in:

President – Robert W. Iiams

Vice President – David Casarsa

Secretary – Barb Wolf

Treasurer – Melissa Campbell

Assistant Secretary – Rena Lapointe

Assistant Treasurer – Stephanie Eilar

At Large/ECC – William Seaver

At Large/ECC Asst – Paul Dyson

At Large – Jason Neff

 

Despite a lack of attendance, the Annual Meeting was a success as it provided a “state of the union” of the Jockey Club and, equally important, sought views of the membership on a number of key issues.  The exchange of information was of benefit to all.  My thanks to my colleagues on the Board for their hard work this past year and my thanks as well to those members who attended the meeting and shared their opinions. 

ELECTIONS 2019

By David Casarsa, Vice President

 

                The first notice of the election and request for candidates has been sent to he membership in December.  You will have receives that notice plus the forms for Intent for Candidacy and the Candidate Information Sheet.  Those seeking election must complete the Intent for Candidacy form.  The Candidate Information Sheet is optional, but should be completed to inform the membership of one’s qualifications and experience.  In 2019, there will be three Board positions up for election or re-election. 

                The Jockey Club Elections are currently scheduled to be held, in conjunction with the Annual Members Meeting, on 14 March 2019.  Candidates must submit their Intent for Candidacy and their Candidate Information Sheet to the Clubhouse not later than 03 February 2019.  Intents for Candidacy and Candidate Information Sheets can be found on our website jockeyclubnorthport.com/elections or obtained from the Jockey Club Office.  Candidates will also have the opportunity to speak to the membership at a Meet the Candidates evening to be scheduled in February 2019.  A specific date will be forthcoming in the February 2016 edition of the Clarion.

                If you have administrative, financial or experience in construction/project management; have experience in leadership and management; and are willing to devote your time and effort into making the Jockey Club a community of choice within North Port, you have the skills and traits required to be a member of the Board of Directors.  I encourage you to consider this opportunity, run for office and make your Jockey Club a Community of Choice within North Port.

27 December 2018

ENVIROMENTAL CONTROL AND FINES

By David Casarsa, Vice President

Our new regulations allow the Jockey Club Board to impose fines or suspensions against members who are not in compliance with our Governing Documents.  Fines cannot be imposed against those who are in arrears in paying their annual assessments.  Delinquent accounts are dealt with through the collections process about which I have written on numerous occasions.  Our new documents have given the Board increased authority and we are in the process of taking action against those in violation.  This is a lengthy process as the Board believes that the homeowner should be given the benefit of the doubt before dealing with the levying of a fine or suspension.

Before a fine can be levied, the offender must be sent two notices of the infraction(s) and given fourteen (14) days to correct the offence per notice.  The Environmental Control Committee is responsible for the preparation of these notices.  Note, two members of the ECC must agree on the infraction(s) before a written notice is sent to the homeowner.  If the homeowner does not correct the violation(s) the ECC refers the matter to the Board of Directors.

The Board sends a third letter to the homeowner advising them of the date/time (giving fourteen days notice) of a Special Meeting to consider a fine or suspension for the ongoing violation(s).  The homeowner is asked to appear to argue his position on the matter.  Should the homeowner correct the violation(s) before the Special Meeting, the meeting is cancelled and no fine/suspension is considered.  At the Special Meeting, the Board considers the circumstances of the violation(s) and can award a fine or suspension whether or not the owner chooses to attend the meeting.  According to our new Governing Documents, the Board can levy fines of up to $250.00 and should the violation(s) not be corrected, impose daily increases of up to $250.00 reaching a maximum of $5000.00.  Liens can be placed on an owner’s property once fines reach $1000.00 and the Jockey Club will be in a position to foreclose.

By Florida law and in accordance with our Governing Documents, before the Board of Directors can fine or suspend a member for violating our Bylaws, that fine or suspension must be reviewed by three Jockey Club members who are neither Board nor Committee members to confirm the fine or suspension.  This is done through a meeting of the Fining Committee to review the facts surrounding the case, provide a second opportunity to hear the homeowner and to pronounce support for, or rejection of, the Board decision.  Again, fourteen days notice is given to the homeowner regarding this meeting and he is asked to appear to argue his case.  If confirmed, the fine or suspension is applied by the Board.  If rejected the decision must be further reviewed by the Board.  A letter is then sent to the homeowner advising him of the decision.

As can be seen the process of recording the violation to the award of a fine is quite lengthy, with every opportunity given to the homeowner to correct the violation(s).  For those who see little or no progress on a home that does not comply with our regulations, this is one reason.  The other reason is that no violation of the Jockey Club Governing Documents can be enforced without a robust Environmental Control Committee.  If you are interested in seeing the Jockey Club regulations properly enforced and violators prosecuted within the scope of our Governing Documents, consider becoming a member of the Environmental Control Committee.  The more members this committee has, the easier it will be to inspect, record and enforce our regulations.  It is this Committee where the entire enforcement process starts and it needs your help.  Volunteer.

COLLECTIONS UPDATE

By David Casarsa, Vice President

In Memoriam - Guenter Recknagel

As of the end of August 2018 there are some 48 accounts in arrears, a combination of 25 new and 23 existing accounts delinquent as a result of non-payment of the 2018 Annual Assessment.  Two reminder notices have been sent to those accounts in arrears for 2018 and they are now with our law firm who will send a notice of intent to lien.  Should owners ignore the intent to lien, we will direct our attorneys to place a lien on their property.  The legal fees associated with placing a lien will add considerable costs what is owed to the Jockey Club.  In addition, our new Governing Documents allow us to charge a $25.00 late fee.  If you have not paid your 2018 Assessment, it is in your best interest to do so now.  Payment plans can still be arranged by calling the Jockey Club office and setting up an appointment. 

Of the 23 accounts delinquent before and on 2018, some accounts already have liens placed against their properties others will have liens placed this year.  It is also our intention to pursue foreclosures against those accounts who have been in arrears for some time.  Our foreclosure record thus far has been very good.  Of the twelve accounts in foreclosure, six have been settled in our favour, one is in discussion for settlement and the remainder are proceeding through the courts.  It may take some time, but we expect all foreclosures to be settled in favour of the Jockey Club.  Of note, every account that has settled with us or is under discussion will cost the owner more than double the amount originally owed to the Jockey Club in assessments and interest due to the addition of legal fees.

48 accounts represents 7.8% of the Jockey Club membership.  While this number can be seen as low, the total amount owed is almost $40,000.00.  This puts additional strain on the Jockey Club finances and restricts the Board’s ability to act in the best interests of its’ members.  Members who pay their assessments on time should be outraged at those who are delinquent.  Should you know someone who has not paid their assessments, encourage them to do so.  Again, anyone who thinks that they can avoid paying their assessments is wrong.  Our Governing Documents are quite clear on this subject and, as can be seen, the law is on the side of the Jockey Club.  If you are in arrears, please reconsider and make or arrange payment before your case is turned over to our attorneys. 

16 September 2018

It is with the deepest regret that I announce the passing of my friend, fellow Board member and Treasurer of the Jockey Club, Guenter Recknagel.  Guenter passed away on 23 April 2018 while in hospital. 

Guenter was instrumental in turning the Jockey Club finances around bringing us from near bankruptcy to a strong financial situation in the three years he was our Treasurer.  His strong financial knowledge coupled with his common sense, fairness and diplomatic approach to problem solving were instrumental to the success of the Jockey Club.  His congenial manner in dealing with his Board colleagues, members and businesses and financial institutions earned him and the Jockey Club a great deal of respect.  His knowledge and friendship will be sorely missed.

I would like to introduce our new Treasurer, Jason Neff.  Jason has spent the past year as Assistant Treasurer and has agreed to step forward to fill Guenter's boots.  Guenter will be a tough act to follow, but Jason is more than capable of taking up this challenge and effectively managing the finances of the Jockey Club.

David Casarsa, Vice President

RESULT OF VOTE ON 2018 GOVERNING DOCUMENTS

•137 BALLOTS RECEIVED – 22.4% OF MEMBERSHIP VOTED

•7 x BALLOTS DISQUALIFIED – NO/IMPROPER REGISTRATION

•130 VOTES ELIGIBLE

•VOTES IN FAVOUR – 105

•VOTES AGAINST – 25

•2018 AMENDED AND RESTATED GOVERNING DOCUMENTS APPROVED

 

•DATE OF REGISTRATION WITH COUNTY= EFFECTIVE DATE OF REGULATIONS

 

•CONFIRMATION OF REGISTRATION PROVIDED VIA CLARION, WEBSITE AND FACEBOOK PAGE

  • TO THOSE OF YOU WHO VOTED (FOR OR AGAINST) THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION AND CONTRIBUTION

ELECTIONS 2018

By David Casarsa, Vice President

 

                The first notice of the election and request for candidates has been sent to the membership on 19 December 2018.  That notice will include the forms for Intent for Candidacy and the Candidate Information Sheet.  Those seeking election must complete the Intent for Candidacy form.  The Candidate Information Sheet is optional, but should be completed to inform the membership of one’s qualifications and experience.  In 2018, there will be five Board positions up for election or re-election. 

                The Jockey Club Elections are currently scheduled to be held, in conjunction with the Annual Members Meeting, on 13 March 2018.  Candidates must submit their Intent for Candidacy and their Candidate Information Sheet to the Clubhouse not later than 03 February 2018.  Intents for Candidacy and Candidate Information Sheets can be found on our website jockeyclubnorthport.com/elections or obtained from the Jockey Club Office.  Candidates will also have the opportunity to speak to the membership at a Meet the Candidates evening to be scheduled on 15 February 2018. 

                If you have administrative, financial or experience in construction/project management; have experience in leadership and management; or are willing to devote your time and effort into making the Jockey Club a community of choice within North Port, you have the skills and traits required to be a member of the Board of Directors.

                For the past two years, elections have not been held due to an insufficient number of declared candidates.  The Jockey Club is dependent upon its members to effectively and efficiently operate.  I encourage you to consider this opportunity and run for office.

 

Updated 10 Jan 18

HOMEOWNERS REQUIRED TO CONTACT

THE JOCKEY CLUB

Could the following homeowners please contact the Jockey Club Office by phone at 941-426-3800 or email at jockeyclubnorthport@gmail.com:

                                                             Lola Armstrong-Hoffman

                                                             Peter and Barbara Barba

                                                                Bryan N. Black TTEE

                                                                     Lorraine Budd

                              The family or trustee of the estate of George Cosmas (deceased)

                                                                         Lyn Craig

                                                                 Timothy M. Clingan

                                                                   James Downing

                                                                      Anthony Fluri

                                                               Patricia A Fowler TTEE

                                                                Suzanne Salvino Hart

                                                           Steven and Rebecca Hunter

                                                                  Steven Kennymore

                                                                      Kathy J. Lewis

                                                                      Henry C. Mayo

                                                                 Cynthia A. Nicholson

                                                             Jeffrey and Amanda Nelson

                                                                      Mary Riesbeck

                                                                       Pearl Shirley

                                                                David and Nicole Wills

                                                                       Luis Chu Wong

If you know one of these individuals, please contact them and ask them to contact our office.

10 January 2018

2017 IN REVIEW

By David Casarsa, Vice President

                I wish you all had a very Merry Christmas and will celebrate the New Year with renewed enthusiasm and vigour.  2018 is a promising year from the Jockey Club perspective, but our future endeavours have been built upon the successes of the past year.  2017 was a very busy year in the Jockey Club and I would like to highlight some noteworthy events.

                Our financial situation remains strong.  Our budgeting and financial policies continue to cut expenses, generating more monies for our reserves and infrastructure projects.  The vast majority of you pay your annual assessments in a timely manner, with this being the most important aspect to our cash flow.  We have an active and relentless collections programme in place that has been extremely successful in dealing with those owners who do not pay their assessments. 

                Changes to the infrastructure in and around the Jockey Club have been most significant this past year.  Extensive repairs to the Great Room have made it great again.  The parking lot has been repaved and a gate at the Clubhouse entrance from Appomattox will be in place.  The pool is now heated by a combination of solar panels and heat pumps, maintaining the water temperature in the low 80’s F for those who enjoy a “winter” swim.  Finally, plans are in place to replace the perimeter fence around the pool with a stylish and more secure fence.  The Clubhouse is very well maintained, thanks to the unwavering and exemplary efforts of our President, Bill Iiams who has single-handedly conducted the vast majority of maintenance giving his time and effort and saving the Club thousands of dollars.  Bill, the membership owes you a significant debt of gratitude.

                Recreation activities last year increased in popularity culminating in Halloween, the Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners.  More new owners turned out to these events and, we were pleased to note the return of several owners who had previously stopped using the Club.  With generated interest comes more volunteers and therefore increased activity.  This is a positive trend that we wish to continue in the future.

                Finally, I wish to touch on the way ahead.  Our rewritten Bylaws are under legal review, with a vote by the membership expected in the Spring of 2018.  The Club will place its priority on the ECC to better enforce our regulations.  There is scope, given our financial situation, to do another major infrastructure project in 2018.  Finally, elections are coming.  If you have an interest in serving on the Board or simply being a volunteer on one of our committees, please put your name forward.  The Jockey Club is as good as its members.  Step forward with us into a promising future.

 

22 December 2017

Collections Update

By David Casarsa, Vice President

As of the end of May 2017 there are 50 accounts in arrears, with over new 30 accounts delinquent as a result of non-payment of the 2017 Annual Assessment.  A second reminder notice has been sent to these 30+ accounts, with the next step being, a notice of intent to lien.  Should owners ignore the intent to lien, we will be turning their files over to our attorneys in order to place a lien on their property.  The legal fees associated with placing a lien will almost double what is owed to the Jockey Club.  If you have not paid your 2017 Assessments, it is in your best interest to do so now.  Payment plans can still be arranged by calling the Jockey Club office and setting up an appointment. 

Regarding the remaining accounts,  some already have liens placed against their properties others will have liens placed this year.  It is also our intention to pursue foreclosures against those accounts who have been in arrears for some time.  Our foreclosure record thus far has been good.  Of the six accounts in foreclosure, two have been settled, two are in discussion for settlement and two are proceeding through the courts.  It may take some time, but we expect all foreclosures to be settled in favour of the Jockey Club.  Of note every account that has settled with us or is under discussion will cost the owner more than double the amount originally owed to the Jockey Club in assessments and interest due to the addition of legal fees. 

 

Again, anyone who thinks that they can avoid paying their assessments is wrong.  Our Bylaws are quite clear on this subject and, as can be seen, the law is on the side of the Jockey Club.  If you are in arrears, please reconsider and make or arrange payment before your case is turned over to our attorneys.

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