Dear Oakridge Homeowner,
We continue to receive questions about information that is being disseminated regarding Oakridge matters. Most of the information being circulated is incorrect. For this reason, the Board believes it is important to address the issues and correct the inaccuracies regarding: (1) Oakridge finances, (2) the lake project, (3) robberies in the community; and (4) street lighting.
(1) Oakridge Finances. The finances of the Association are in very good order. We encourage you to review the budget for 2019. The budget shows that:
(a) There will not be an increase in the maintenance dues in 2019. The maintenance fee in 2018 was $135 per month; and the budget for 2019 clearly shows that the maintenance fee will be the same in 2019.
(b) There is not a deficit in the budget. In fact, the budget shows that the Association has reserves in the amount of $753,877, set aside to pay for specific projects that inevitably need restoration. One example of this is the maintenance and resurfacing of the basketball and tennis courts. These two common areas get restored every 8, or so, years, in accordance to industry standards. The cost for this is nearly $40,000. But, because the Board includes reserves for expenses like this, when the time comes to do the projects, the funds are available. For this reason, there should never be an assessment for matters that are foreseeable.
Having reserves is not just a matter of adopting a fiscally responsible budget. Doing so also improves our property values because both, buyers and lenders, look at the budget to determine how secure of an investment a property is. Hence, you should be very pleased to know that the Oakridge budget is in very good standing.
With respect to Oakridge’s finances, you should also know that:
(a) The members of the Board all serve on a volunteer basis. None of the Board members receive any compensation.
(b) The Association’s finances are audited by an independent firm every year, to further ensure the integrity of all financial matters.
(c) A financial report is presented at every Board meeting. Homeowners who attend the Board meetings, are aware and informed of how the Association is operated.
(d) The Association’s budget, and the Board minutes are on the Association’s website. All members have access to these records.
(2) The Lakes Project and the Community Development District (the “CDD”). The Oakridge CDD is a quasi-governmental entity, created to monitor and manage infrastructure and community-wide issues for Oakridge and Hollywood Oaks. The CDD owns the lakes in Oakridge. When the community was developed the agreement was that although the lakes are owned by the CDD, Oakridge had the obligation to maintain the lakes, which we have been doing.
It is important to note that, in addition to the beautification the lakes add to our community, the lakes have a dual function, and are essential for the drainage of the entire community. Over the past 20 years the lake front properties have experienced significant erosion – up to 4 feet for some properties. The erosion threatens not only the property, but the drainage system for the entire community as well. Hence, the time has come to undertake a major restoration of the lakes. The CDD will take charge of this project.
The work required will be financed by special Non-Ad Valorem assessments, that will be collected as part of each property’s annual property tax bill. The amount due by each property is based on lot size. The CDD (not the Oakridge Board) at an open public meeting set the budget, which follows the same criteria originally set when the community was developed.
In the recent weeks some homeowners have expressed disagreement with this project, because there is no urgent need. However, the community is 20 years old; the erosion is real; and engineers have warned that the continued pressure caused by the erosion will create greater damage. Clearly, maintenance and restoration has to be done. And ignoring the issue would be reckless and result in way greater damage to everyone in Oakridge.
A very important fact that you should all know is that the issue of the lake repairs and the CDD has been discussed at most of Board meetings over that last 2-3 years. And that all Board meetings are announced and open to all homeowners. So this is not a new development. For more information on the Community Development District please visit http://www.cddsites.com/oakridge.htm
(3) Robberies in The Community. Yes, there have been robberies in the community. But Oakridge is actually a safer community than our neighboring communities. The Association has a rover that patrols the community to check on our homes during the night. We share this rover all night with Hollywood Oaks and Mapleridge.
Additionally, the Board has asked the City for more Police presence in our neighborhood, and the police has responded.
In fact, several weeks ago Oakridge and the surrounding communities organized a meeting with the police, so that the police could answer directly to homeowners what is going on, and what they are doing to correct the issues. At that meeting the police told everyone in attendance, and the community was emailed, to download an app called “Neighbors”. If any homeowner sees any crime they should report it on that app, which the police monitors, as can each of us, all in real time. This system is a “digital crime watch” system. Since that meeting there have been zero reports of crime made by homeowners through the app.
(4) Street Lighting. Street lighting is provided by FPL, and had to meet the City of Hollywood’s requirements when the community was built. However, homeowners are not trimming their trees properly, making some streets darker than others. If a tree is not allowing the light to penetrate through to the street, we ask that you let the property manager know, so that the homeowner can be instructed to trim their trees.
Also, the Association has requested LED lighting be placed throughout the community, to replace our current ones. This might be done by FPL within the next year. When this happens, Oakridge will be one of the first communities in the area to get these new fixtures.
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As you can see, the Board is continuously working on many issues that affect the community.
Please Attend Board Meetings: We encourage you to attend the Board meetings, so that you can be informed of all that is happening in Oakridge.
Please Go To Our Website: If you cannot attend the Board meetings, you can still become informed by getting information from our website www.oakridgefl.com
Your Proxy Vote: If you receive information from homeowners in the community, you should first ask that person how frequently they attend Board meetings, before trusting or believing what they say. In similar fashion, before you sign away your proxy vote, you should make sure that the people to whom you are assigning your vote are aware of the matters affecting Oakridge, have attended Board meetings frequently, and have Oakridge’s best interest in mind.
Our homes are our biggest investment. The only way to preserve and enhance the value of our homes is by making sure that the community is run by individuals who care and who are qualified to serve.
If you cannot attend the annual election on Monday, you can drop off your proxy to the guardhouse with Oakridge Manager, Heather Blank.