Rubio Demands Action From FEMA On Panhandle Flood Assistance

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today demanded action from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regarding reimbursements for flood recovery projects completed by local governments in Northwest Florida.

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“Nearly six months have passed since these storms devastated Northwest Florida and the community has overcome many of the challenges that have followed,” wrote Rubio. “Thirty-seven of the 74 FEMA approved projects have been completed by local governments, however it has come to my attention that FEMA has not reimbursed the communities for these approved expenditures.

“The city of Pensacola, which was hit especially hard by the storms, has spent nearly $3.2 million on these projects and is still waiting for reimbursement from FEMA,” added Rubio. “I respectfully ask for an update on the 74 approved projects associated with the April storms in Northwest Florida and an explanation for the delayed reimbursements for the 37 projects that have already been completed.”

A PDF of the letter is available here. The full text is below:

October 20, 2014

Mr. W. Craig Fugate

Administrator

Federal Emergency Management Agency

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

500 C Street S.W.

Washington, DC 20472

Administrator Fugate,

I write you today regarding the status of FEMA reimbursement for several approved projects in Northwest Florida. It is my understanding that FEMA has not reimbursed the local municipalities impacted by flooding which occurred earlier this year.

As you know, in late April, Northwest Florida experienced historic storms with some areas seeing more than two feet of rain. The rainfall resulted in massive flooding with several roads and bridges being washed away and subsequently FEMA was brought in to assess the damage. FEMA officials identified 74 projects that qualified for federal assistance and the affected local governments initiated work on those projects immediately following the storm.

Nearly six months have passed since these storms devastated Northwest Florida and the community has overcome many of the challenges that have followed. Thirty-seven of the 74 FEMA approved projects have been completed by local governments, however it has come to my attention that FEMA has not reimbursed the communities for these approved expenditures. The city of Pensacola, which was hit especially hard by the storms, has spent nearly $3.2 million on these projects and is still waiting for reimbursement from FEMA. 

I respectfully ask for an update on the 74 approved projects associated with the April storms in Northwest Florida and an explanation for the delayed reimbursements for the 37 projects that have already been completed. I look forward to your timely response.

Sincerely,

Marco Rubio

United States Senator

Entries are now open for the 2015 Florida Communities of Excellence Awards

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Last year was a record-setting year and this year promises to be even bigger.  Here are this year’s categories:
  • Water Conservation (Indoor and Outdoor)–Water management and conservation programs
  • Energy Efficiency–Energy management and conservation programs
  • Florida-Friendly Landscaping™–Presented by ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance–Environmentally sound landscape, wetland, preserve, and lake management policies
  • Disaster Preparedness–Protecting lives and property, as well as restoration in the aftermath of an emergency
  • Safety & Security–Programs to deter crime and ensure the safety of residents and property within the community
  • Civic Volunteerism & Advocacy–Presented by VolunteerFlorida–Supporting local and regional non-profit and charitable causes
  • Communications & Community–Promoting positive community relations
  • Family Friendly Programs & Initiatives–Promoting family participation and well-being
  • Financial Innovation--Policies and procedures to ease financial burdens during challenging economic times
  • “The Comeback Kid”–Recognizing communities that developed and implemented successful turnaround programs by revitalizing distressed properties
  • Trendsetter Awards–Innovation in any area not covered in the existing categories
  • Community Video Showcase–This year the top three videos will be shown at the Awards gala. Like last year, the maximum length is two minutes.  And if you entered last year, when we did this as an experiment to see if you were interested–you were!–you can enter the same video, if you wish, this year.

Get started by downloading the PDF with the questions for all of the categories.

When you’ve decided what you want to enter, go online, set up an account, and enter your information.  You don’t have to do everything all at once.  You can save your work and go back and add to or edit an entry as well as enter additional categories any time up to the deadline of midnight on January 31, 2015.

There is no fee to enter.

The Communities of Excellence Awards Conference and Gala will be held Friday, May 15, 2015 at the Bonaventure Resort & Spa in Weston.

On behalf of all of the organizations supporting this year’s awards, good luck!   

Condo Craze and HOAs proudly sponsors the Best Roofing Trunk or Treat

The smell of candy is in the air again! It’s time for Best Roofing’s 2nd Annual Trunk or Treat event to benefit The Pantry of Broward on Saturday, October 18th from 4-7 pm at Best Roofing. 

Last year (Year One!) was quite a success!  They served over 15,000 pieces of candy to over 200 children. We ran out of snow cone cups, popped 100 lbs of popcorn, and gave away 250 pumpkins to children to decorate. And perhaps most importantly the event raised in food donations and cash close to $10,000 for The Pantry of Broward.

 
Best Roofing's First Annual Trunk or Treat
Best Roofing’s First Annual Trunk or Treat
Last year, Trunk or Treat was visited by over 200 families and we are expanding to accommodate larger numbers this year. Best Roofing’s Second Annual Trunk or Treat will have much more than free candy and decorated trunks.  

Once again they will be providing free kids activities such as a bounce house, pumpkin patch, free concessions and much more.

Ghouls, goblins and ghosts 
of all ages will enjoy this fun activity, so come out and join us for some freaky fun. 
 
This year’s “spooktacular” highlights include:

Prizes for the best-decorated trunks 
Costume Awards
 
NEW THIS YEAR! Jake’s Halloween Costume Drive!
 
For our trunk or treat partners,
 The Pantry of Broward and HOPE South Florida, Halloween costumes do not make the list of essentials in the budget. Therefore, Best Roofing is helping to offset costume costs by collecting new and gently used costumes. All costumes must be delivered to Best Roofing no later than Friday, October 10th.
 
 

WHEN: Saturday, October 18th 

4pm-7:00 pm

WHERE: Best Roofing, 1600 NE 12 Terrace, Fort Lauderdale 33305

WHAT IS TRUNK OR TREAT? Enjoy a unique way to trick-or-treat! Best Roofing’s Halloween Trunk-or-Treat provides a safe environment for families to enjoy an inexpensive afternoon of Halloween fun in a spooktacular atmosphere! Costumed children (age 12 & under) trick-or-treat outdoors by going from car trunk to car trunk to get their bag filled with goodies.
 
GENERAL ADMISSION: Admission is either $5 per child or 5 cans of food per child. The event is open to children ages 12 and under. Children affiliated with the following organizations are admitted at no charge – The Pantry of Broward and HOPE South Florida. Every child receives a wristband for admission. Parents may accompany children for free. Treat Bags will be handed out to children as they arrive. Unaccompanied children will not be permitted to participate.
 
It is important to create safe venues for our community’s children. Let the community know you support The Pantry of Broward by participating in this exciting event!

Concord Coalition Releases ‘Key Questions’ on Fiscal Issues for Candidates

As candidates for federal office put their fall campaigns into high gear, The Concord Coalition today released its latest “Key Questions” that voters should ask them about the nation’s fiscal challenges.

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In doing so, Concord urges all candidates — Democrats, Republicans and independents — to provide the electorate in the next few weeks with clear explanations of how they would hold down future deficits, fix the tax system, repair entitlement programs and put the country on a more responsible path.

“Key Questions Voters Should Ask Candidates About Our Fiscal Future” includes background information to help voters assess current political rhetoric on topics such as the defense budget, Social Security, Medicare, the U.S. health care system, tax policies, government waste, highway spending and the need for compromise and bipartisan cooperation.

“As in past economic recoveries, the short-term federal budget picture has been improving,” Concord says. “But deficits are projected to begin rising again in a few short years, Congress flounders over what were once considered routine decisions, and the nation remains on a long-term fiscal path that is simply unsustainable.” 

That’s why voters should expect candidates in the coming weeks to explain — clearly and specifically — how they intend to deal with the huge challenges ahead. Concord warns, however, that comprehensive fiscal reform will be difficult:

Our nation is undergoing an unprecedented demographic transformation against the backdrop of a slow economic recovery, uncertainty about future health care costs, and a $17.7 trillion federal debt that is already quite high by historical standards and expected to rise rapidly in the years ahead.”

Concord may update the “Key Questions” periodically to reflect new fiscal estimates and address specific claims and arguments that emerge as Election Day approaches. The document can be found here.

Local law firm kicks off seminar series in Tamarac

Leading Florida community association law Firm Kaye Bender Rembaum has announced it will be kicking off the seventh season of its annual free town hall meetings on Wednesday, November 5th at 6:30 p.m. at the Tamarac Community Center. Kaye Bender Rembaum attorneys will discuss industry hot topics, including the 2014 legislative changes and assistance animal issues, as well as answer community association-related questions from board members, residents and property managers of condominium, homeowner and cooperative associations.

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“For the past six years, we have hosted these town hall meetings throughout Broward, Miami Dade and Palm Beach Counties in an effort to help answer questions from local community association leaders in an informal setting. They need this pertinent information to effectively and efficiently run their communities,” said Robert L. Kaye, Esq., Managing Firm Member of Kaye Bender Rembaum.

The Tamarac Community Center is located at 8601 W. Commercial Blvd. Interested attendees should RSVP and send questions or topics for discussion to KBRLegalSeminar@piersongrant.com or call 954-776-1999, ext. 255.

Kaye Bender Rembaum is a full-service commercial law firm concentrating on the representation of more than 800 community associations throughout Florida. With offices in Broward and Palm Beach counties, the Firm is ranked ninth in South Florida and 62nd in the South among “Top 300 Small Businesses” by Business Leader magazine, and was awarded the 2014 Readers’ Choice Award for Legal Services by the Florida Community Association Journal. For more information, visit www.KBRLegal.com or call 954-928-0680.

Associa Making Remarkable Progress with Relief Efforts in Los Cabos

Associa, the nation’s largest community association management firm, is making a dramatic impact with its humanitarian and restoration efforts in the hardest hit regions of Los Cabos, Mexico in the aftermath of Hurricane Odile.

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It’s been only two weeks since the Category 3 hurricane came ashore, and thanks in part to Associa’s quick response, the region is already showing signs of resurgence as survival supplies have arrived and reconstruction within communities is underway.  The company’s non-profit agency, Associa Cares, gave more than $100,000 to families in need and so far Associa is one of the only organizations able to bring construction supplies into the country via ground and air.

“We just received our third airfreight shipment of supplies and have been working non-stop for almost a week with our restoration experts on the ground,” says Associa Senior Vice President Chris Harrison, who is personally assisting with the efforts in Mexico.

The majority of all properties in the area suffered moderate to severe damage, including the Associa Mexico office and 15 Associa-managed communities. More than half of those communities have been fully restored throughout the common areas including debris clean-up, pool restoration, landscaping remodeling and safety and security measures taken to board-up broken out windows and doors.

“I’m extremely impressed with how quickly our Associa teams put the crisis plans into action and worked tirelessly to face any and all issues that arose,” says Associa Executive Vice President & COO Joey Carona. “You have plans for things like this, but until it happens you just don’t know how you’ll truly react.  I’ve got to say the Associa family has shown its true spirit and commitment to taking care of its employees and communities, and I couldn’t be more proud.”

Building successful communities for 35 years, Associa is North America’s largest community association management firm and serves its clients with local knowledge, national resources and comprehensive expertise. Based in Dallas, Associa and its 8,000 employees operate more than 150 branch offices in the United States, Mexico and Canada. To learn more about Associa and its charitable organization, Associa Cares, go to www.associaonline.com or www.associacares.com.

Attend the L&L South Florida Condo and HOA Expo

A great day lies in store this Thursday, October 2nd, starting at 9:00 a.m. at the South Florida Condo and HOA Expo at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

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Start the day with the Board Certification Course that has now certified over 8,000 Floridians all across the state.  Ask questions, leave with a certificate and a summary of everything you just learned.  
 
The Expo presents an unparalleled opportunity to make valuable connections and speak directly with local and national experts about the topics that are relevant to you and your property. 

Get legal insights, financial advice, communication tips, proactive management solutions and much more from some of the region’s top professionals. This one-day event will also give you a sneak peek at the latest design trends gracing today’s most prestigious developments, plus innovations in building and remodeling and the newest energy efficiency options. 

In addition, there will be lots of other educational courses throughout the day.

And best of all……it’s all free.

To register for the Board Certification Course, just click here.