River Oaks HOA Board
Newsletter from your HOA Board November 2022
To All River Oaks Homeowner Association Members,
Hurricane Ian brought destruction to most of Collier County, and River Oaks was not spared. The entire
River Oaks Community was affected, and it was just sickening to see the devastating effects of the storm
surge when fellow community members living quarters and garages were flooded. Many lost their
personal possessions. Many of us are now forced to rethink flood insurance, as if it happened once, it
could always happen again. While it may take months for a full recovery, hopefully all members families
are now safe and healthy.
The storm obviously has had an impact on the community and the affairs of our community association,
but while meetings and notices may have been delayed, your Board Members felt that it was important
to let you know that significant action is ongoing that should benefit all of the Association. Here are just a
few of the steps we have initiated that are in progress now:
The Board held an Open Budget Discussion Meeting on October 17th. This format was simply to allow two‐way dialogue on various ideas contained in a draft budget plan that was strictly presented for discussion purposes. This was a meeting conducted only with the Board and its members, without any outside representation, such as property managers, simply because the Board felt the need to discuss openly among neighbors and not simply allow the previous strategy of avoiding open discussion and simply holding a Board Meeting for a procedural vote. The minutes of the meeting are being reviewed and approved and will be posted on this website.
There is a requirement for a Board Meeting to approve the budget, which will tentatively take place the week after Thanksgiving. The timing is due to Florida Statues that require the annual budget to be fully distributed 30 days before any Board action on the budget, thus the mailing function is ongoing.
C. Board Members and a few homeowner representatives meet with Collier County officials to discuss many matters, some which took on extra meaningful urgency after Hurricane Ian. These include the following:
Upon the selection of the seated Board, Tony Ruberto, our treasurer reviewed an audit conducted of the River Oaks and agreed with the finding that there was a lot, owned by the County, that is subject to fees and assessments that has not paid since acquiring the property since 2003. The fees are legally owed, as we are a deed restricted community and therefore demand was presented for payment, including interest and late fees. While we expect to be paid fully what is legally owed, the County is reviewing and if it is deemed to be accurate, the Association expects a financial windfall to help support our Reserves.
As the Community has known, the past actions of purchasing signage and having customized signs on traffic signs is prohibited. Traffic signs are governed by Department of Transportation Guidelines and further required compliance is necessary for Collier County to offer continued maintenance of those signs and posts. In the past thousands of dollars was spent on street signs and poles that do not meet height requirements, are not in compliance with current reflective standards, street name labels that do not meet the size or color standards, and even some signs are considered outlawed in Collier County. The practice of having River Oaks HOA to bear the financial responsibility of $500 to $700 every time a sign needs repaired or replaced is unjustifiable. Therefore, the Board has reached a preliminary agreement with the County in which the County will now bear all future expense and will replace signage as needed with the correct lawful signs. With the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, the timing of this handoff will not be a quick overnight handoff, but discussions will continue in the coming months to determine when this task can be totally completed. Relieving the financial waste of money for signs that are already paid for in our tax dollars will lessen the burden and free up certain reserves for lake management required action.
The Board also discussed with the County the overall condition and repairs necessary on the cul‐de‐sacs. The Association has five (5) cul‐de‐sacs, of which four (4) have curbs in disarray. With River Oaks pointing out that the property underlying the cul‐de‐sacs are untitled property and considered improvements donated by the Developer to the County, it was the Association’s position that the County is fully responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of these cul‐de‐sacs. While discussions will continue, it is generally agreed that while the County may be forced to step up, the landscaping that they would provide may not be beneficial, as the offered sod will not be sufficient without irrigation. Therefore to maintain the mulch appearance, there are discussions about a shared arrangement in which the Association may elect to continue the landscaping currently existing under a Landscaping Agreement with the County.
Canal and Waterways‐ Unfortunately, no discussion could be entertained in person, but confirmation was received that the State of Florida South Florida Water Management Department will be meeting with Collier County officials to review the weirs and waterways in and surrounding River Oaks. The message was delivered and received that while our Association is responsible for water management limited to the lakes, water management must include others to do their part as well, and we are looking for an action plan and timetable that may evolve from our initial efforts.
With that said, let’s look for what the Board, with the help of its members are addressing in
addition to following up on the above:
I) We are in the active process of attempting to send out requests to update everyone’s email address so that we can communicate much easier than trying to read signs blowing in the wind. Within this website we encourage you to address the authorization form so that you can receive electronic communications in a timely manner.
II) We are looking to actively seek members who want to participate in selected committees. At this time, we do not want to limit any committee and simply want those that can and want to become involved to do so. Currently the Board has identified three strong needs’ A) Finance and Legal Governance Committee; B) River and Lake Water Management Committee; and C) Communication and Welcoming Committee. Participation is not limited to one committee, and everyone is welcomed to express to any Committee Member or Board Member their willingness to be involved.
It is the Board’s goal to be open and fully transparent in all of our dealings, so feel free to attend our Board Meeting upcoming and to be assured that we want to hear from you.
Board Members, Secretary Faith Siwiec
Board Member, Treasurer Tony Ruberto
Board Member. President Terry Wayland