By Lee Shlafer
I thought I’d begin my message by recognizing the enormous contribution that technology has made to this past year. It is hard to believe that a year ago most of us thought of Zoom as a catchy word for going fast or a way to describe a lens on a camera. It has now become the go-to way to communicate and I am sure that post-pandemic, it will continue to be part of our lives.
Zoom has made it possible to continue the open governing process in our Village … it is difficult to imagine how we would have managed without this invaluable communications tool. For that, despite the trials we have sometimes encountered, I am appreciative of this resource because it has allowed residents to continue to be part of OVCA meetings.
We’ve had snow, actually quite a lot of snow. Some years we win, some years not so much. The Maintenance staff did an outstanding job of dealing with multiple snowfalls, working late, working early and keeping us safe. I am not sure if we all appreciate what a really difficult place Oronoque Village is to plow. We have cul de sacs, many of them, narrow streets and cars, lots and lots of cars, that make the plowing process an enormous challenge.
I want to express to Mark Rhatigan, who is here tonight, how much the efforts of the Maintenance Staff are appreciated. I also want to acknowledge the Maintenance Representatives who participated in an effort to channel calls from residents in their districts to the Maintenance Dept. to control the level of calls the administrative staff in Maintenance had to handle. Finally, I would like to thank those residents who practice patience and understanding that not every road, driveway and secondary space can be cleared immediately. And to those residents who have the ability and desire to do some snow removal themselves, thank you.
I am happy to announce to Villagers that the Spring Cleanup will be held this year. The date will be announced soon. Fred has indicated it will be on a Saturday in middle to late May. Since we have all been cooped up, I imagine everyone spent their time cleaning their homes from top to bottom, or not, so now there will be an opportunity to really do a clean sweep.
In an upcoming issue of The Villager, there will be a brief procedure to be followed to contact Optimum if there is a problem with cable, Internet or the phone. This information also will be posted on the OV website (www.oronoquevillage.com).
I have been in contact with the director of sales and retention at Altice about the inconsistent level of customer service. I am being kind. I was encouraged by two things: one, there is a recognition that the situation is not good and, two, the management person I spoke to seemed genuinely committed to changing the status quo. I am told there are plans to have a special bulk account representative assigned to handle customer service issues. That has not yet happened, and I was not given a date when it will be in place. However, in the short-term, the procedure that will be published will, I believe, improve the level of service that has so far been available to us.
On a very positive note, insurance claims for the year 2020 for property and liability were zero. This is the time of the year when our insurance agent begins the process of obtaining renewal quotes for our coverages. We are hopeful that our excellent performance will have a favorable impact on the quotes which are submitted.
For the convenience of residents, the Compliance Committee has arranged for a Complaint Box to be installed at the North Clubhouse under the portico near the mail slot used for OVCA and OVTD payments. Forms are available on the OV website. The box is checked regularly by a committee member.
Fred and I have both observed, and discussed, the appearance of siding planks on our units that appear to be discolored. Last fall, I stated that I would ask Fred and Mark to plan a presentation to residents about the PM program. Our recent observations about the planks have made the value of understanding this program, how it is managed and what changes might be made, even more worthwhile.
Once the budget process is concluded, Fred has agreed to work with Mark to prepare this presentation, which will be very informative for all members of this community. We hope to be able to do this by the end of June.
We are all aware of the significant issues the Board will be dealing with this evening. This matter has involved, I believe, the most difficult decision an OVCA Board member has been required to make. Residents should know that their representatives have been open to hearing the advice of legal and insurance experts as well as listening to the concerns and desires of their fellow Villagers. The seriousness with which they have approached this subject reflects a board that has listened, questioned, has shown respect to one another and acted responsibly. I will take a moment to address one question that did arise as board members have deliberated about reopening.
On the subject of COVID vaccinations, our legal counsel was asked if the Association could require that residents prove they had the vaccination before being allowed to use our amenities, effectively denying their use to anyone not vaccinated. After researching the question, our attorneys have found that vaccine records are protected health information subject to HIPPA. OVCA would have to comply with HIPPA, which is an onerous task, and would have HIPPA liability for any unauthorized disclosure or use of the data. Additionally, the Association would assume the burden of verification, which would need to be done with complete accuracy and may well be an administrative challenge. Lastly, to do this would require a revision to our governing documents. For these reasons, this is not seen as a viable option, and I will share with you that during a recent roundtable discussion, which I attended with three other condominium associations, they are also not pursuing this approach.
The OVCA Board voted on two motions regarding the opening of facilities. A motion was made to open the outdoor facilities of the Oronoque Village Condominium Association — with the exception of the pools — effective May 1, 2021, and a second motion was made to open the indoor facilities, with the exception of the gym, June 1, 2021. According to both motions, operation of the facilities will be in accordance with any, and all, State of Connecticut and CDC regulations and protocols as well as the policies and procedures developed by the Oronoque Village committees responsible for each facility. Should the State of CT change regulations either by reverting to an earlier phase of the Reopening Connecticut Process or by relaxing regulations, the Association will operate in compliance with the changes. Both motions passed by a vote of 11 in favor and 2 opposed (V.P., Dist. 11).
The subject of opening the pool facilities will be addressed at the April 20, 2021 OVCA meeting.
Beginning with the approved March meeting minutes, the reports of all standing committees will be attached and available to be read on the Oronoque Village website. A link to these reports is also provided below in this eblast.