BYE BYE BIRDIES….
Every year I try to give you some reminders of things you should do before you “go north” for the summer (discontinue your newspapers; clean our the refrigerator and freezer; removing caustic blue agents from toilet tanks; do NOT turn off the air conditioner but set the thermostat at approximately 80 degrees and set the switch to “automatic”). This year there is one simple thing you can do to get security to check the perimeter of your residence in addition to their regular drive by patrols.
The gate access system has an updated website that is much more “user friendly” than the old version. This new program not only allows you to update your guest list but there is a section for you to enter dates when you plan to be away. If you put your “vacation information” in the system, it will automatically generate a form for perimeter checks. This will allow security to walk around the outside of your home periodically to check for broken windows or other evidence of a problem (note; we do NOT check door handles).
To get this service (and to update your resident and guest information), you need internet access. Go to www.GateAccess.net (which you obviously have if you are reading this post). You must log in by using PGA as the “community code”; your home (or main contact) phone number with area code but no hyphens, parenthesis or spaces as the “user name”; and your 5-digit access code for your “password”. Please note that some residents have used their cell phone or other number as the main contact so if you can’t open the program, call the POA with your access code and we will tell you which phone number you gave us for contact.
The other nice feature of this program is that you can register your pet(s) and even post a photo of them! If they get out we can literally look up “brown dog” or a specific species and get a list of every brown dog or specific species in PGA. Recently an owner’s sixteen year old dog managed to get out and security saw the dog at about midnight and was able to reunite dog and owner.
One final request for exiting “snow birds”: It is very important that you take a good look at your home. If the roof or driveway needs to be cleaned or plants need to be replaced, it should be done before you leave. It isn’t fair to your neighbors to leave your home in disrepair for months until you return. In addition, your absence cannot be used as a reason to ignore or delay responding to requests from your HOA or POA if something needs attention while you are away.
SAVING YOU MONEY – IMPROVING SECURITY
As I reported last month, there were some burglaries and the Board worked diligently with Wackenhut (and continues to do so) to improve service. One of the recent contract revisions allowed the addition of an additional patrol – and they still saved you almost $35,000. per year! The new patrol is going to be walking around homes and keeping a close eye on perimeters so if you see someone in a different uniform with a baseball cap instead of the hats Wackenhut usually uses, it is probably the new patrol officer. Many residents have met him when he entered their yard (and congratulations to them for being observant) but if there is any question about someone you see walking around, please be cautious and call security!
The POA has an annual assessment that is due by July 1st. Assessment notices are mailed on June 1st and it is your responsibility to ensure timely payment is made (whether you receive the notice and coupon on not). What is the money being used for? The budget with footnotes explaining every line item in the budget is mailed with the assessment coupon. Because of the economy, many owners put off paying then forget completely, resulting in their account being referred to the attorney for collection. Unfortunately, if you are already having financial difficulties, adding legal fees and costs to your balance is counter-productive! Please contact my office if you cannot meet the July 1st payment deadline. Despite what some people say about the POA, the Board really is very helpful and will work with residents to resolve these problems but they cannot forgive assessments or interest and once an account goes to collection there is nothing the POA can do so don’t wait to call!
FINALLY….THE FUN STUFF:
In closing, let me remind everyone that the 24th Annual Children’s Party in the Park will be held Saturday, April 24th at Masters Park from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. This event is for PGA residents and their guests. An advertisement is on the homepage and a post card is in the mail – but in summary, there will be tons of fun! Carnival rides, games and prizes; face painting; clowns; and, if you purchase a $1.00 food pass in advance, you can get a hotdog or hamburger and a soda. If you don’t want to buy a food pass, popcorn, snow cones, cotton candy and other treats are also available. Kids of all ages enjoy this event so we hope to see you there!