Management Report: July 2018

Posted on Sun, 07/01/2018 - 12:00pm

By Violette Deschamps, Malibu East Manager

Office Hours URBAN DESIGN AND LANDSCAPING: The Board hired the landscape architect firm Jacobs Ryan Associates to assess the existing conditions of the components of the property (parkways, sidewalks, stairs, ramps, lighting, atrium, dog runs, signage, trees, business center terrace, and landscape) and to propose a master plan for upgrading the property. This is a comprehensive project that will be spread over a few years for its completion. This project is more than a landscaping project; it is rather an urban design and landscaping approach to truly bring the curb appeal and outdoor appearance of Malibu East into the 21st century. We are anticipating Phase One to be implemented as soon as 2019.

PROPERTY TAXES, VALUATION OF YOUR PROPERTY: You recently received a letter from the Cook County assessor reminding you of your option to appeal the increased valuation of your unit, which for most of you increased significantly compared to the previous year as a result of Cook County’s triennial reassessment. As mentioned in my article in the June issue, you do not need to hire an attorney to contest the valuation, considering that the Board has already hired Worsek & Vihon LLP, which specializes in contesting property tax valuations. Worsek & Vihon is in the process of contesting the valuation of your unit; the results are expected to be known by the end of the summer.

The tax appeal fees are billed by Worsek & Vihon only if it achieves a reduction in the assessed valuation, and each unit owner will be billed a prorated percentage of that owner’s tax savings. The fee will likely be billed to each owner’s account in the fall, if the appeal is favorably concluded. Note that any owner having a “Senior Freeze Exemption” or a “Longtime Occupant Homeowner Exemption,” printed word-for-word on the second installment property tax bill, will be exempted from the appeal fee. However, all other owners will be charged their proportionate fee billed by Worsek & Vihon; the appeal fee is computed per unit based on each unit’s respective percentage of ownership as shown in the Malibu East Declaration.

Please note the following clarifications:

  1. A Senior Citizen Exemption is not the same and does not qualify as a Senior Freeze Exemption;
  2. A Homeowner Exemption is not the same and does not qualify as a Longtime Occupant Homeowner Exemption;
  3. Cook County requires all eligible candidates to apply yearly for the Senior Citizen Exemption, the Senior Freeze Exemption and/or the Longtime Occupant Homeowner Exemption;
  4. Any such exemption, if granted by the Cook County assessor, is printed on the second installment property tax bill, typically mailed in July;
  5. You must file directly with the assessor for any correction you wish to be considered on a tax bill that you previously received;
  6. Should you qualify and be approved by the assessor for a Senior Freeze Exemption and/or Longtime Occupant Homeowner Exemption, it must be printed on your second installment property tax bill and a copy must be provided to management.
  7. Less than 2% of Cook County properties qualified for the Longtime Occupant Homeowner Exemption last year, according to the assessor. Because the formula for determining who qualifies for this exemption is complex – the increase in your assessed valuation must exceed the maximum set by the Legislature – the assessor calculates which properties would qualify and automatically mails them an application. If you didn’t receive an application, you probably don’t qualify. However, you can contact the Cook County assessor to confirm this – phone 312‑443‑7550.

BALCONIES AND WATER PONDING: The balconies were originally built with a pitch from the walls to the edges to allow water (rain, melting ice and snow) to be drained away from the building. However, concrete naturally sags over time in between reinforcement rebar grids due to its own weight and gravity. As a result, a large majority of our balconies collect water along the knee walls and/or in the center parts; it is a widespread problem. The stale water is inconvenient for a lot of reasons, besides adding wear and tear on the membrane. We can assure you that the Board discussed many times the ponding issue and potential solutions with consultants and contractors. There is not much that can be done besides the application of a light leveler (liquid) applied before the final green coating, which is being done by our contractor, Reliable Building Systems. The leveler, as part of the membrane system, will partly compensate for the sagging of the concrete, but overall, the sagging will remain and water will continue to collect on your balconies. Completely negating the effects of the sagging of the concrete is not possible at this time, given the absence of durable products on the market that will effectively achieve it. The only other known remedy is unrealistic to finance as it entails cutting off large and deep sections of sagged concrete, then installing new rebar in the section and repouring new concrete, not to mention that the timetable of the project would be at least three times longer.

POOL SEASON: For the safety of all patrons, please be reminded of these basic pool rules:

  1. Patrons wearing swimming attire and heading to or returning from the pools must take the service elevator, if it’s not locked off;
  2. Dry off after swimming, before returning to the building;
  3. No smoking;
  4. No animals of any kind;
  5. No private parties;
  6. No lifeguards; everyone swims at their own risk;
  7. Residents are responsible for the conduct of their guests (two maximum per unit);
  8. Owners are responsible for the conduct of the occupants of their units and their guests, regardless whether the owner lives on-site or off-site;
  9. All swimmers must shower before entering a pool;
  10. Proper swimming attire is required: no cut-off jeans, no street shoes, no dirty clothes, no high heels;
  11. Zero tolerance: no glass, no metal container, no alcohol; no running, no jumping, no water games (ball or frisbee throwing, etc.);
  12. Unattached flotation devices can be used in conjunction with attached devices such as water wings, life jackets, etc.; unattached flotation devices are not allowed as a sole-support safety device; floating mats or chairs are forbidden;
  13. No radios or other music/noise devices, unless you are equipped with earplugs;
  14. Privileges to use the pools or to be in the pool enclosure may be denied to residents violating the pool rules.
  15. The pool attendant is authorized to check pool tags and enforce the rules.

BE SAFE AND ENJOY THE SUMMER.

COOLING AREAS OPEN: For the convenience of residents, particularly those in the L and M tiers, the Board has made the decision to keep the Windjammer Room (when it is not reserved by a resident for a private event) and the Community Room unlocked 24/7 until further notice. You may want to spend some time in either of those rooms, which are climate-controlled and have Wi-Fi service.

FAÇADE AND BALCONY PROJECT: RBS crews are concurrently working on the north side of the building and the L and M tiers, although they reduced the labor force on the north side to concentrate on the balcony membranes of the L and M tiers. It is anticipated that the balconies and reconnection of the condensers of the L tier units will be completed by the end of June, weather permitting. The balconies of the M tier will follow. Note that the membrane is not only sensitive to cold temperature, which is no longer an issue at this time of year, but to moisture content in the concrete and ambient air. This explains the slow progress of the application of the balcony membranes on the L and M tiers due to June rains.

The garage west walls are being rebuilt by another crew primarily composed of bricklayers. To date, they have completed the installation of the new, thicker CMU of the sections (a section is defined as being the portion of wall situated between two floors and two columns) of the third floor, have completed the reconstruction of the parapet along the fourth-floor deck, and have initiated the installation of the new bricks in the upper sections. We are expecting the reconstruction of the west walls of the garage to be completed by the end of the summer.

BIKE AUDIT: For all of you acquiring a bike or having recently moved to Malibu East, please make sure to get a bike decal at no charge in the Management Office.

Advice:

  1. If you have a bike stored in the Bicycle Room, always make sure that the MECA decal is on your bike even if you had registered your bike in past years; bike decals may inadvertently fall off, or be vandalized, or be removed;
  2. If there is no MECA decal on your bike (we have observed seven new bikes added to the Bicycle Room in the last two weeks with no decal), or there is a pink slip on your bike, contact management as soon as possible, and no later than the date on the pink slip, if any, in order to register your bike;
  3. If you do not find your bike previously stored in the Bicycle Room, contact management no later than Aug. 8, 2018, to check whether it was taken out of the Bicycle Room by management and stored as “unclaimed.”