Report on the OV Tax District Meeting of July 27, 2021
By OVTD President Linda Libertino
I want to thank all the residents who contacted me to say congratulations on my second term as president of the Tax District. I value your support. In addition, Tom Aubin was voted to serve as vice president, Jonathan Towle was elected as clerk and Tom Becker was elected treasurer. The three directors elected to serve three-year terms are Bill Tanski, Tom Becker and Dennis Caffrey.
This is our first in-person Tax District meeting in 18 months. Welcome back to the North Clubhouse! Thanks, Lee, to you and your OVCA team for opening the clubhouses and recreational facilities this year. It has been a very long Covid period.
Our proposed goals for this year will be:
Increased Communication – There is a definite need to make residents more aware of the benefits of having a Tax District, especially the enormous tax savings. Unlike the Condominium Association, the Tax District is legally exempt from conveyance tax, sales tax, real estate tax and taxes on equipment and vehicles. We intend to have articles on a regular basis in The Villager as to how OVTD positively impacts our community.
Road Committee Feasibility Study – We will investigate the possibility of completing the paving and repairs of all the necessary remaining roads for next year. This will include driveways, also, and the results will be announced to the Village.
Oronoque Lane Aesthetic Improvement – The curb appeal and safety on Oronoque Lane will be ongoing. I will continue to meet with Mayor Laura Hoydick regarding this project, which is important to the Village. Also, Fred and I will continue our dialogue with the country club as to the repair of its fencing, which needs to be done west of their maintenance building.
“Two Boards – One Village” – I will continue to meet with Lee to enhance our team effort for all the residents of Oronoque.
During the July 9 Tropical Storm Elsa, the Village received a tremendous amount of rain in a very short period of time. Unfortunately, our 50-year-old underground storm system is not capable of handling this type of a heavy rain event. When the flood survey and Village drainage issues were surveyed two years ago, it was explained by the engineering firm that our current storm water system is rated for a “25 year storm.”
Tropical Storm Elsa was comparable to a 75-100 year rain event, which caused major road flooding especially on the south side. Our underground drainage, culverts and various head walls would need to be expanded or altered to accommodate these types of storms.
I am pleased to report that our unaudited budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, shows a surplus of approximately $50,000. I want to thank Fred Rodriguez and Mark Rhatigan for their strong leadership and for accomplishing our budget goals. Their office staffs and the maintenance team should be highly complimented for their outstanding performances while the availability of staff has been so difficult to find and hire.
Again, we thank the residents for their patience during this serious labor shortage.
Following are my committee appointments for this year:
I made a motion for the Roads Committee to be chaired by Jonathan Towle and comprised of Bill Tanski, Pete Penny and Tom Aubin.
I made a motion for the Finance Committee to be chaired by Tom Becker and comprised of Ray Vermette, Maria Szalontay, Chas DiSenna and Jonathan Towle.
I made a motion for the Security Committee to be chaired by Dennis Caffrey.
I made a motion for the Tree Committee to be chaired by Dennis Caffrey and comprised of Nancy Blagys and Ann Gallo.
All motions passed unanimously.
Our Executive Director reported on the status of the Oronoque Country Club golf course potential sale by the current owners, CBigg. Fred stated that there are two separate parties who, currently, are showing interested in acquiring the golf course and dialogue is taking place. He hopes to see “some movement” within the next 30 to 60 days.
As a reminder, Ray Vermette has agreed to continue to serve as liaison to the OVCA Insurance Committee and Dennis Caffrey has agreed to serve as liaison to the Maintenance Committee.
I will close with a positive quote: “Two things you are in total control of in your life – your attitude and your effort.” I assure you that the Tax District directors are making every effort to manage the district affairs responsibly.
The next Tax District meeting will be held on Oct. 26.
Reports presented during the meeting are as follows:
Good evening. As you may have noted from the agenda, there is a significant amount of business for the board to address this evening, so I am going to limit my remarks to just a few items.
First, this year the Association’s Annual Meeting is on Sept. 21 and, as it is not an election year for the Board, it is conducted as a State of the Association meeting. The practice in the past has been for the president of the board to make an address that speaks to the most important issues before the Association. That will be done this year as well but, in addition, that meeting will be the platform for the Executive Director and Director of Maintenance Operations to make their presentation about the Preventative Maintenance Program.
I was fortunate to have a preview of this presentation at my district meeting earlier this month and it was excellent. Fred and Mark have worked on expanding the material to include not only how the program operates now, but also concepts for the future. This meeting will be well worth attending.
While this is not a board election year, there are district elections to be held in September. As a reminder, per the By Laws, district elections are to be held within 10 business days of the Annual Meeting. This means those elections need to be scheduled between Sept. 22 and Oct. 5.
District elections must be announced to the district 30 days prior to the scheduled election date, meaning those announcements need to be distributed to unit owners between Aug. 22 and Sept. 5. The elections are for all district positions with the exception of district and alternate district representative. There are two districts that will be having those two positions on the ballot as the current district representative is serving a one-year term, which is expiring. I encourage residents to participate in their district elections and to consider becoming a candidate for one of the positions in their district. I anticipate that district elections will be in-person at a scheduled district meeting.
A short note to mention that the Association’s insurance quote was received and reflects a very modest decrease, about $20,000 in total, in our insurance expense for the new budget year.
Finally, there has been some conversation and lack of information about one of the complexities involving Oronoque Village and Oronoque Country Club (OCC). I think it is worth clarifying, especially for those who are newer to the community. Between 1970 and 1972 the developer of this Village also developed Oronoque Country Club. The developer retained ownership of certain amenities in the Village, including the golf course after construction was completed. Over the course of years, ownership of some of the amenities was transferred to the condominium.
Clubhouse ownership, which took more time for the Association to acquire, was finally accomplished in 2014. With respect to the golf club, the developer sold its ownership to CST Realty in 1988. Prior to this sale, OVCA had instituted a suit against the developer to prevent the sale on the basis that it did not comply with the town’s zoning code under which Oronoque Village and the golf course had been approved for development.
The sale did proceed under court oversight and the sale agreement stated that it was subject to restrictions imposed by government authority, including zoning regulations. The new owners, concerned with the pending lawsuit, entered into negotiations with OVCA and its legal counsel. During a three-year period the issues were negotiated and eventually resolved and settled to the satisfaction of Oronoque Village. A document, known as the Settlement Agreement, was signed in 1992. The covenants, which are part of the Settlement Agreement, are included in the country club’s deed for its land and buildings and are binding in perpetuity on all future owners of the club.
These covenants cover a number of issues, some of them relating to business practices such as advertising, and others which involve the use of the land. One of the most important covenants states that the golf course must remain a golf course or, if not a golf course, open land that the ownership of the golf club is responsible for maintaining in good condition. These covenants were designed to provide security to Oronoque Village and protect its interests. Over the last 29 years, any firm that purchased OCC has had to abide by these covenants and it is our expectation that any future purchasers will do the same.
The Board addressed several issues during the New Business portion of the OVCA meeting. The House Committee recommended that clubhouse hours be expanded. The hours suggested were from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. seven days per week. This motion was adopted by a unanimous vote of the Board.
The Gym Sub-Committee recommended that the gym be reopened from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., seven days per week, effective July, 26, 2021. Residents using the gym must sign in. All equipment must be cleaned with the sanitary wipes provided after the resident has finished with their exercise. The gym will be cleaned and sanitized daily. The doors to the gym will be locked at 9 p.m. such that gym keys cannot be used to access the gym during off hours. This motion was adopted by a vote of 11 in favor and 3 opposed (VP, 3, 4). As with the clubhouses, the facilities are open to residents only.
There was extensive discussion of the current rules for permitting guests to use the pool facilities. The Pool Committee’s recommendation remained unchanged. It was explained that the recommendation was a compromise to allow those who wanted to bring guests to have that opportunity while at the same time providing a guest-free pool facility for those who felt safer in such an enviroment.
The North Pool has more limited access points than the South Pool, which makes it less complicated to insure that nonresidents sign in. A motion was made to retain the same pool rules but apply them to both the North and South Pools on alternating weeks. The motion did not pass by a vote of 7 (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Sec., VP) opposed and 6 in favor (1, 7, 8, 9,10, Treas.) and 1 abstention (11). A second motion was made to discontinue permitting nonresident use of the pools. This motion did not pass by a vote of 9 opposed and 5 (4, 7, 9, 11, VP) in favor. A third motion was made to expand the pool hours to be the same as the clubhouse hours and to permit nonresident use of the bathrooms by pool and tennis/pickleball guests. This motion passed by a vote of 12 in favor and 2 (VP, 11) opposed.
A motion was made to provide an Election Guide as an insert to be distributed with the Oct. 15 issue of the Villager. The Communications Committee unanimously recommended the guide be approved. It was explained that the publication will provide information about the municipal elections taking place this fall and it will permit those on the ballot to place paid advertisements in the guide. The motion passed by a vote of 8 (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Sec., Pres.) in favor and 7 (1, 8, 9, 10, 11, Treas.,VP) opposed.
After an Executive Session was held, a motion was made to accept the proposed compensation for the Executive Director as discussed in the Executive Session. The motion passed unanimously.
Below are links to Standing Committee Reports that were presented during the July 20 OVCA Meeting:
The 2021 pruning cycle is slated to kick off Monday, June 28th, weather permitting. We will be utilizing Lemos Landscaping, who we used last year.
Links to the map schedule for the north and south sides are pasted in below and also are posted on the website, www.oronoquevillage.com
As in past years, we will be using pink ribbon to identify specific shrubs residents do not want pruned by the contractor, along with Amber reflectors to signify “no pruning” of the entire foundation area on that given unit.
Reflectors will be installed by Maintenance staff members on the exterior of the unit when requested via work order or by phone. We have changed the ribbon color for shrub removal to a hi-viz green so it will not be mistaken for “no-pruning.”
The pink ribbon will be distributed to residents to tie off on shrubs they wish not to be pruned.
Ribbon we be available for pickup at the Business and Maintenance Office. Also, rolls have been handed out to Maintenance Reps to distribute within their districts.
Oronoque Village offers a variety of activities and amenities. Oronoque’s proximity to New York City and Boston is an added bonus. This newly launched page, titled “OV LINKS,” will highlight some of the best the area has to offer, such as the items below.
We plan to change the LINKS on this page regularly to provide details on events that may be of interest to members of our community.
Our Village has consistently had concerns related to the viability and success of the golf course as our partner and neighbor.
We have been in discussion with the owners of the golf course (CBIGG/CBON), for several months, expressing our concerns about the future of the operation.
Accordingly, non-exclusive NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) were executed in order to continue a dialogue on various scenarios and alternatives in order to formulate the best course of action that would benefit the Village and protect the interests of the membership in the community.
At this juncture, no commitments have been made, no decisions have been made, no agreements have been executed and — regardless of the rumors or representations being made by others — no purchase has occurred.
The Executive Board members are obligated to uphold the confidentiality requirements of the NDA; when the time comes that they are in a position to provide you with details, a Town Hall event will be scheduled quickly.
In the interim, it should be noted that any material changes in the Village’s operation requires consideration by the members.
Linda Libertino – President – Oronoque Village Tax District
Lee Shlafer – President – Oronoque Village Condominium Association, Inc.
Fred Rodriguez – Executive Director
In the event a resident is having a problem with their Optimum cable, Internet or telephone, the following procedure is suggested as a means of achieving a satisfactory resolution.
1. Call Optimum (Altice) at 203-336-2225
2. Explain that you live at Oronoque Village in Stratford Ct. and are a BULK CUSTOMER of Altice.
3. Provide your name and home address and email if you have one
4. Obtain the name of the person taking your call
5. Explain your problem
6. Ask for confirmation that they are the correct person to handle your problem
7. If the answer is no, ask for the name and number of the individual you should contact
8. Ask how long it should be for the problem to be corrected.
9. Make a note of the date of your call, the person you spoke to and the information you were given
10. If no resolution to the problem was offered, or if the resolution did not take place within the time specified, contact Linda Arvers in the OV Business Office at 203-377-5313, extension 1. Linda will contact the Altice management person responsible for customer service.
11. Provide Linda with all the information you have documented
12. Allow 5 days to elapse. If the problem is not resolved, follow up with Linda or Fred Rodriguez.
Note: Please do not shortcut this process and go to Linda Arvers directly. Unless she is able to provide the Altice management person with the information about the effort made by the resident, she cannot request further assistance.
Below is a schedule of upcoming OVCA & OVTD Board Meetings. Agendas will be distributed to residents electronically and posted on the website 5 days in advance of each meeting.
Note: The OVTD Board meets quarterly at 4 p.m. The OVCA Board meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. (with the exception of February and December when meetings do not occur).
2021-2022 Board Meeting Schedule
|2021-2022 OVCA Board Meeting Dates||2021-2022 OVTD Board Meeting Dates|
|July 20, 2021||July 27, 2021|
|August 17, 2021||October 26, 2021|
|September 21, 2021 Annual Meeting||January 25, 2022|
|October 19, 2021|
|November 16, 2021|
2021 Employee Holidays
New Year’s Day, Friday, January 1
Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 15
Good Friday, April 2
Memorial Day, Monday, May 31
Independence Day, Monday, July 5
Labor Day, Monday, September 6
Columbus Day, Monday, October 11
Thanksgiving, Thursday & Friday, November 25 & 26
Christmas, Friday, December 24
The library at NCB houses more than novels, biographies, puzzles and paperbacks. It is the location of the stately Oronoque Village “In Tribute” Book, which sits on a pedestal against the far right wall. The book has a solemn purpose: it recognizes treasured residents who have passed away.
The In Tribute Book was initiated in 2012 by the Memorial Plaque Committee, consisting of Mel Holson, Linda Libertino, Jim Manzolli, Barbara Minoff, Loretta Sills and John Staley. This ad hoc committee was charged with creating a way in which departed residents can be publicly honored by their loved ones.
Inclusion in the In Tribute Book requires a contribution of $250 or more to Oronoque Village. Contributors are allowed one page in the book to include photos and/or text honoring their deceased loved ones.
For more information on the In Tribute Book, please email email@example.com or call the Business Office at 203-377-5313, ext. 3.
Currently, the book recognizes:
Laura (Schachter) Diamond
The Villager magazine is published on the 1st and 15th of each month, when possible. Below are the scheduled dates of publication and the issue deadlines. These dates are subject to change.
ISSUE DATES DEADLINE DATE (Deadlines are at noon on each date below)
Jan. 4 Dec. 17
Jan. 15 Jan 4
Feb 1 Jan 19
Feb. 16 Feb 2
March 1 Feb 16
March 15 March 2
April 1 March 19
April 15 April 1
April 30 April 20
May 17 May 4
June 1 May 18
June 15 June 1
July 1 June 18
July 15 July 2
Aug. 2 July 20
Aug. 16 Aug. 3
Sept. 1 Aug. 19
Sept. 15 Sept. 2
Oct. 1 Sept. 20
Oct. 15 Oct. 1
Nov. 1 Oct. 19
Nov. 15 Nov. 2
Dec. 1 Nov. 16
Dec. 15 Dec. 2
Dennis Ford, 15C Algonquin Lane
Nicholas & Gail Sostilio, 777B Quinnipiac Lane
Trash & Recycling Collection Holiday Pickup Schedule for 2021:
New Year’s Day, Friday, January 1 – No change in pickup schedule
Memorial Day, Monday, May 31 – Pickup will occur on Thursday, June 3
Independence Day, Sunday, July 4 & Monday, July 5 – Pickup will occur on Thursday, July 8
Labor Day, Monday, September 6 – Pickup will occur on Thursday, September 9
Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 25 – No change in pickup schedule
Christmas, Friday, December 24 – No change in pickup schedule
Oronoque Village allows its residents to own pets, with a limit of one pet per unit. However, there are specific guidelines that pet owners must follow. Below is a clarification of the Village rules that must be followed by dog owners.
1. One pet is permitted per unit.
2. Pets must be leashed when outside.
3. Pet waste must be picked up.
4. Pets may not be left unattended when outside.
5. Pet owners must maintain control of their pets.
6. Pets are not permitted to cause an ongoing disturbance.
7. Pets (excluding properly identified service dogs) are not permitted in the clubhouses, swimming pools, gym, racquet sports courts or other facilities.
8. Pets (animals) may not be raised or bred in or out of any unit in the Village.
9. Cats may not be let out to roam.
10. Pet owners must not permit dogs to walk on plants and should be mindful of other residents’ privacy when walking near units.
1. Residents who have issues with pet behavior or with animal cruelty should contact the Town of Stratford Animal Control Department. Residents should also alert the Business Office that this action has been taken.
2. Dog owners who use expandable leashes should insure that their pet does not cause a problem to an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian.