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Assessments draw protests at Coral Lakes Community

By Staff | Dec 17, 2008

It was standing room only Tuesday night at the Coral Lakes Community Association clubhouse as residents vented their frustration over the addition of a $650 special assessment to their homeowners’ association fees.
Residents of the community, which lies north of Kismet Parkway on Del Prado Boulevard, said they were already assessed $250 last month on top of the $800 they pay every three months.
“We’re getting assessed every time we turn around,” said Mike Marcinkiewicz, a Coral Lakes homeowner for the past two years.
Jay Coughlin, vice president of Engle Homes, the developer of Coral Lakes, said the assessment will cover shortfalls resulting from foreclosures and people who have not paid their dues.
“Unfortunately we’re behind the eight ball in getting revenues. I think it’s tough times for everyone right now and we’re all in it together,” Coughlin said before the meeting.
Many residents, however, disagree with Coughlin. They said they were told the developer would make up any shortfall out of its own pocket.
“If homeowners do not pay the fees, then the developer does not have to make up the shortfall,” Coughlin said.
Coral Lakes encompasses about 300 single-family homes and 66 townhouses. There are about 40 residences in some stage of foreclosure or in the process of a short sale. According to the Coral Lakes Community Association’s budget numbers, there was a $184,000 deficit this year.
Residents said those numbers do not add up.
“They claim it’s for delinquent houses, foreclosures, which some of it is, but not what they’re asking,” said Dave Mitchinson, a two-year Coral Lakes resident.
After hearing multiple complaints about the lack of feedback from the property management company, the Naples-based Family Property Services, and frustration over the assessment, Coughlin announced that the Coral Lakes Community Association Board of Directors will have a residents majority. The board currently is run by developers.
Residents were pleased with the concession Tuesday, but said the association should be more frugal in a tight economy instead of asking for more.
“They don’t cut back on anything,” Marcinkiewicz said.
Most residents said they enjoy the Coral Lakes neighborhood, but think the assessments are unfair.
“This place looks like a million bucks, but if you’re broke, what good is it?” asked Charles Aery, a Coral Lakes resident.