Paradise Found

Paradise Found
Hacia el mar

Monday, January 31, 2011

Money Matters - to some at least

At our residents meeting on Saturday 29th January we approved an increase in our monthly contribution of 10%. All but four residentes backed the increase. I voted for the increase even though I spend less than two months of the year. I am happy to show solidarity with those who live full time on the complex. To the credit of all the part timers like myself we all voted in favour of the increase which I think reflects well on the expat community. I am proud of our track record in supporting the community.

The increase was defended by the management on the basis that it does not really represent an increase on the costs we are presently meeting - and I took the management at their word on this. Two criticisms - which I think were fair - were made of the figures presented - firstly that they were provided very late - just the day before the meeting - and secondly that it was not easy to extrapolate the budget from the historic figures. For example, the figure of 20,000 is shown as income (in Spanish - 'derrama')- being the figure requested as a special amount to fund the pool, the gate etc - it turns out that Solterra has not paid its share being 9,000 and it appears that most of the 11,000 was spent during the period covered. It was not easy to compare figures. We tried to comparfe apples with pears and got grapefruits...It was suggested and agreed that in future we should get figures well ahead of the residents meetings.

Most pepole feel instinctively that we are getting good value for money when we compare what other communities are paying. Additonally we have an excepttional complex both in terms of beauty, extent and the level of services we request and have delivered.

Unfortuantely up to an hour was spent by a small number of people enquiring about the payment to the staff and no time was given to looking at the other figures we recevied - the first casualty of this kind of meeting is that some areas get a huge amount of time and others none.

The pools are a problem and a puzzle. We are going to get some figures over the next few weeks from the committee and Anabel is doing great work in this field. The top pool is leaking into the community room. The pool will have to be drained and the problem fixed. I think I heard the figure of 8,000 but I am not sure.

The lower pool is a bigger problem in every sense. It apears that we are wasting 2,000 to 3,000 a year on water needelssly because apparently we have another leak. I am anxious that we do our sums before we empty the large pool. I calculate that the pool may hold up to 8,000 m3 of water - at if water costs say 20cent per M3 that would cost 2,000. I am sure my figures may be wrong but it gives you the scope of the problem. I would not exmpty it lightly!! Aanabel is getting quotesforfr the work excluding the water and the current quote is 18,000, if I understand correctly.

The complex will have to be repainted over the next year and so the committee is getting quotes in this regards also.

All in all we might be looking at 40,000 or more whihc divided among 200 is not bad, but if Solterra does not pay it's share, the sum is then is divided among 100 approx. Does anyone have the exact figures??!!

Solterra is the elephant in the room. Or not quite in the room - they were not present for the meeting. Residents have heard that 'Solterra' - as in the special purpose company set up to build out complex (not the parent) may be forced into administration in the next few weeks. I am not an expert on Spanish Law but I believe we would have no recourse to other companies in the group. I asked at the meeting that we should get independent legal advice as to what are the possible consequences of such an action - to cover issues such as the payment of community fees, the payment of the derrama, recourse for builders faults etc. Separately Victor asked for a copy of the insurance that we hold as a community. It is not clear to say the very least why some residents have been able to claim under this insurance for construction faults and others have not.

At the start of the meeting I had suggested that we should build up a reserve precisely for needs such as the above. The comment was well received, but nothing was done about it. I leave it to posterity!!

I am a great believer in reinvesting in our property. A freind suggested that because he had spent a huge amount of money in buying the property that he did not want to have to spend any more. My logic is the exact opposite - apart from the love of the complex for all its health and spiritual values, precisely necause I have invested money I want to see my invesment protected and grown. The only way to accumulate is to invest - according to Mr Buffet anyway.

Finally the only ambition of this blog is to improve the quality of life on the complex for every family, regardless of langauge or provenance. It is not intended to be magnet for complaints, but rather for positive suggestions to see how we can all make a difference.

Paz y luz!


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