May 21, 2020
Dear Fellow Owners,
We hope that you are well and staying the course! Things are starting to change a bit with respect to COVID-19 and the various governmental guidelines in place to permit phased reopenings; so we wanted to provide you with an update. Let's get started...
There are five levels of oversight necessary for us to monitor with regard to COVID-19: Federal, State, County, Town, and also CDS association guidelines. All are in play, all are important, and we are considering each one as we prepare for reopening.
In addition, we are consistently receiving legal counsel about our decisions. The burden is on the association (Board of Directors) to do our best to ensure the safety of employees and owner/guests. This is our driving force in deliberating.
The decision has been made to remain closed until at least June 13, 2020. The specific reopening date has NOT yet been decided upon, and the decision will be communicated as soon as we know that date.
We continue to prepare for reopening, and this includes obtaining the necessary equipment and materials to do so properly. We are determining best practices for cleaning and disinfecting throughout our resort property in the most thorough way.
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea beaches remain closed. Restaurants and businesses are open, but with severe limitations imposed. Hotels are still under shut-down, except for essential workers. We are in regular discussions with other hotel managers and are working to make sure we handle the many changes needed for operations to resume. Parking and local traffic has been reduced in LBTS by 75% and social distancing is still required everywhere.
ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS
Here are answers to some recently received questions:
We understand that our insurance premiums are increasing significantly as we are now renewing. Can you explain more about this and why?
Costa del Sol Resort is governed by its by-laws and articles to purchase annual insurance coverage to protect the association and its owners. We have numerous policies in place including liability (general, umbrella, directors & officers, cyber), commercial property, flood, workman's compensation and boiler & machinery.
It is no surprise that there have been increasing property claims across the US including hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, wind etc. Add the arrival of COVID-19 to this experience. Insurers are reducing their capacity to offer coverage in certain areas of the country where exposure to these perils is more likely (beachfront property in South Florida is a prime area). Insurers are moving away from resorts with multiple owners, although we are a condo with interval ownership and have approximately 1100 owners.
Furthermore, all policy renewals have an exclusion to communicable diseases & coronavirus – i.e. you cannot purchase this coverage, it does not exist.
Our brokers research hundreds of potential insurers each year in an effort to find the best coverage/price value, making sure we have reliable rated companies to protect us. In addition to working with our insurance brokers, seeking opportunities for additional coverages such as COVID-19, comparing premiums from insurers and consulting with our legal counsel, we renewed our liability policies on May 17th, and our property policies come up for renewal in July. We will have a more accurate costing once the renewal process is completed. These increases, nor the coronavirus pandemic situation, could have been foreseen when the budget was created in the Fall 2019.
What might be the impact of increased insurance premiums, COVID-19 and other factors as it relates to 2021 maintenance fees?
This is a fair question, but not easy to answer at this point. The short answer is that we simply do not know for sure. But we can share what we are doing to mitigate some of these factors. The Board feels that it is important for owners to understand the facts relative to finances.
The following are some key points:
Despite being closed, we still have most of our operational expenses. We have been able to obtain government funding that allows us to keep paying staff for now, which will provide some relief on wages. Hopefully this relief will reduce some of our overall operating wage expenses and therefore offset some of the increased insurance premiums.
Sal, our General Manager, has been doing a great job keeping operational expenses under budget through the end of April. There is no disputing, however, the fact that additional spending for COVID-19 materials and equipment will add to our overall expenses. Every business is facing this fact. We continue to evaluate ways to reduce expenses, and this may lead to changes in how we operate going forward.
Another challenge is the fact that budgeted rental and sales revenue that feeds our operational budget will be hard to meet in 2020. This revenue line-item amounts to about $190,000, and we have currently collected approximately $40,000. We were on a good track through mid March, but obviously this has stopped. Upon reopening, after we are sure we can handle proper sanitation and cleaning requirements, we plan to aggressively market CDS to increase revenues as much as possible.
One final key challenge that we, as owners, face is in collecting all maintenance fees due. We have currently collected about 86% of budgeted $1.880MM maintenance fees from owners for 2020. If owners do not pay, we are forced to foreclose, and try to sell the delinquent units. This takes time. The lack of revenue requires the rest of us to cover for those who do not pay.
What will be different when Costa del Sol Report reopens?
This remains an ongoing evaluation as advice on dealing with COVID-19 continues to evolve. We will communicate specifically what will be different and required once we announce our reopening date. However, you can expect significant changes that will no doubt include some or all of the following. We will know more specifically at the time of reopening, but here is how it would look today:
Wearing of facemasks in all enclosed areas
Following ALL CDC guidelines for social distancing
Social distancing of 6 foot minimum required in all locations of the resort (not within family members)
Restricted use of amenities – including the closure of the hot tub, BBQ grill, coffee shop and its washroom, laundry room and outdoor showers
No outside guests permitted on the property
Reduction of pool hours
Limitation of pool deck chairs
Elimination of daily maid service
No beach access and reduced access to local restaurants and businesses
The Board feels these changes (and others to be determined) will be required based on the Broward County and Lauderdale-By-The-Sea emergency orders. They are in the best interest of the association pertaining to the considerations for the safety of our employees, all owners, the guests of owners and RCI members visiting our resort.
When we DO reopen, please carefully consider the situation you will be coming into – i.e. not your usual Costa experience. Rest assured that we are doing all we can to weather this COVID-19 situation responsibly. The Board wants to reopen just as soon as we feel we are prepared to do so correctly.
2019 AUDIT COMPLETED
The 2019 audit has recently been successfully completed by the CPA firm of Palmetto, Zeigler, Chamberlain, & Perrella, PL. There were no issues of note. Here is a link to the full report for your review.
SOME SAD NEWS
We regret to inform you of the recent passing of former Costa del Sol Board member Michael Magro. Mike was a long time Board volunteer, greatly contributing to the betterment of Costa Del Sol. Mike was beloved by owners and employees. He dearly loved our resort and will be greatly missed by many. We send our sincere condolences to Mike's family.
KEEPING THE FAITH
Take care, everyone. Stay safe and well.
YOUR CDS BOARD OF DIRECTORS
John "JB" Ali, President
Barbara Turley-McIntyre, Vice President
Charles DeJean, Secretary
Doug Rousell, Treasurer
Dave Cornelison, Director