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A Year in the Life of a Co-op Board: A President's Diary, Part 2

Mary Fran in Board Operations on March 7, 2013

Park Terrace Gardens, Inwood, Manhattan

Mary Fan. Photo by Tom Soter.
March 7, 2013

March — Energy Audit Coming

The big decision of this meeting is to move ahead with façade repairs for two of our buildings, those with the worst leaks. We had tried patching these areas during previous Local Law 11 work, but this met with minimal success. It is decided that two façades must be taken down to the underlying cement, patched, a waterproof barrier applied and the walls rebricked. Two façades were all we could reasonably ask shareholders to pay for with assessments.

There are many items in our management firm's report as well, including updates on legal cases, apartment repairs, apartment sales, facility repairs and a particularly nasty conflict between residents. A separate meeting is scheduled to review proposals for performing the energy audit (Local Law 87). This meeting takes place five days later and a company is chosen to do the audit.

April — Money Matters

Again, the exterior work is the most important issue at this meeting, and the board approves a contractor to perform this work. There are, however, 16 other items on the agenda, including insurance increases, the first draft of the 2011 financial statement, the management report, J-51 application status, bike room proposals, fees, condition of the roof furniture, apartment transfers, continuing difficulties between neighbors, and other routine items. I am always amazed at how long some of these things take to resolve.

May — Permits in Order?

One source of conflict

in our co-op is the use,

or non-use, of our gardens. 

Ongoing, as usual, is the exterior work. Our manager and I had met with our engineer and contractor on the status of Department of Buildings permits and where we stand with starting dates, scaffolding and garden protection during construction. We bring the board up to date. This board meeting seems, on paper, to be rather straightforward, but in closed session we have legal cases to review, energy audit questions, shareholder complaints and conflicts and other nuts-and-bolts recurring issues.

June — New Use for Garden

Things move forward on the exterior repairs, although there is non-compliance by the contractor to some items in the contract causing considerable agitation, back and forth, and further meetings with our engineer, contractor, and manager. The work is proceeding although it is noisy, dirty, and disruptive. Generally residents are taking it in stride, although some have found it more difficult than others.

Our treasurer presents a spreadsheet on funding options to the exterior work, which will be discussed in July.

One source of conflict in our co-op is the use, or non-use, of our gardens. Currently, and for some years, the gardens have been off-limits to any activity beyond walking through it, and the two co-op sponsored parties held around Memorial Day and Labor Day. One of our members proposes a one-night "camp out" in the garden for parents and young children. This proposal is approved but will certainly cause some strong response from those opposed to any change in garden activity.

By now, the board begins to look really tired.

July — Summer Meeting

This is a really tough meeting. We do not usually meet in August, so a lot has to be decided before we break. As it turns out, we cannot cover everything in this meeting and extra meetings are called. No one likes this, but we have no choice as there are serious time constraints. We set up a meeting on the energy audit for the end of July.

Demolition on one building is ongoing and we have permits for the second to commence within the week. We are slightly ahead of schedule but we are all keeping our fingers crossed that things will move ahead without horrible surprises. The board approves an assessment to help fund the exterior work with additional funds to be withdrawn from our reserves and the sale of corporation-owned apartments. This will be a burden for some, but we have tried to make it as manageable as possible, given the necessity to do this work.

To see what happens over the final interim, watch for part three later this month or pick up the March issue of Habitat.


Photo by Tom Soter.

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