The following message is from Level 1 President Alan Burge and provided a nice overview of whats been happening this year under his presidency.
Firstly, about me. I am currently the Level 1 president and took on the role initially as L2 vice president 2 years back as I could see that that there were a number of things I thought could have been done better. I am an Associate at Arup based in London and for the last 13 years worked as a consultant engineer focusing on Facilities Management, Estate management and maintenance. In my day to day life I advise clients such as Sony, Toyota, the NHS and other larger institutions how best to manage their estates and assets. So it would seem sensible I could have a valid input into the running of Condado de Alhama which runs on a much smaller scale.
I had never imagined that there was so much work. Myself and some of the other presidents spend in excess of 30-40 hours a week working on projects, issues and replying to residents and in meetings. It is clearly an unending task because, in my opinion, there has been so much neglect over the past years. Condado de Alhama has been getting by and functioning, but not moving forward. I don’t mean the front face of the resort as that is generally good and properties are being sold and its getting busier year on year, but more that the infrastructure is getting old and failing. We have not invested in technology, our debts are growing and most importantly we don’t have records or assets of what we own or that need replacement or investment. This coupled this the contracts the community has historically signed for long durations places us in a position we would rather not be in. Poorly drafted contract clauses, extended scopes we do not always need and such long durations without break clauses. All good for the contractors but not always the resort.
The obvious examples to this are the painting contract, which once awarded was Sub-contracted as we have no clause covering this, and the STV contract for gardening and cleaning, signed for many many years with a scope including road sweeping on 60% of the outer-ring we do not even use. I often have residents moaning about these contracts, but the community has signed a contract and in most cases, we are stuck with the affects and conditions. If we break these contracts there will be financial implications. So in future better ‘Due Diligence’ is needed before contracts are signed unchecked.
What we have managed to do though is agree between the board standard terms and conditions for any future contracts covering liability, design responsibility, sub-contracting and many STANDARD clauses you would expect to see. We have also recently set up a committee reviewing each of the contracts in detail and involve residents in doing this. And in a further step which did not meet the agreement of all board members, we have agreed the community WILL NOT contract any of the presidents at level 1,2 or 3 for any paid work which was happening previously.
As a community though, and compared to others in Spain, I think Condado de Alhama is doing well. We have debt, and we must tackle this, but it is currently running at about 6-7% annually. The Debt itself though has accumulated and as we said in our communication that owner’s debt including Polaris debt is at about 1.6m euros. We must also consider the delay in payments that the previous administrators set up, estimated at around another 600-700k. This was necessary at the time, but was hidden in such a way that only a few spotted that we owed supplier a great deal. In reality we will continue to pay supplier in arrears, but must start to reconcile the amounts that we actually owe, challenge the contracts and consider raising community fees where we have no other option.
The board are looking at options to better manage debt as you would have read from my note a few weeks back. One step taken by some of the L2 communities this week was to NAME the debtors for the first time rather than just list the property address, which provides better transparency of who these debtors are. We are limited by Spanish law on what we can do and many residents would like us to be harder, by blocking access to their properties and turning those renting debtors apartments away from Condado. We will do whatever we can, but within the law.
As I said though, as a community, Condado de Alhama had its best summer and I am informed of new owners each week. There are also un-built plots, which in the coming years and with the right economic conditions will be developed.
The town hall of Alhama we must work with closer and push harder to get better services. We get forgotten as many residents and owners are not registered on the Padron and therefore, are just not counted. Everyone should register, regardless if you are permanent or just like to visit a lot, even those renting need to register. (The Padron office is located at the town hall adjacent to the underground carpark)
Trying to improve communication is key this year and we are setting up the new website. Currently the L3 presidents are road-testing it and we hope by December that it will be live in a basic format. This is a website set up by the community of owners for owners to understand what is going on and have access to rules, meeting mins, accounts and contracts. You will also be able to pay your community fee online. The website will also provide a facility for the L3 presidents to communicate direct with all owners in their L3 community. Direct, unaltered communication.
We set the dates for the AGM as February 9th, 10th & 11th which was communicated to al owners in the EGM mins issued recently. By this time, we hope to have electronic voting in place and we are also intending to provide a live video feed for residents not able to attend in person. An AGM committee is set up looking at options and will provide more detail closer to the date. What we have agreed though is that we will have a site-wide information meeting once he AGM notifications are issued, around 1-2 weeks before the date of the AGM itself.
I should mention administration. Following the departure of the previous administrators Admiburgos were appointed as interim administrator. We did not just pick them out of a hat, myself and Neil Simpson drove to resorts in Murcia seeking out a suitable replacement and carrying out Due Diligence in the short time we had along with Ian Whyte. In a matter of weeks, we had interviewed 3 of the best administrators and finally it was clear that only Admiburgos was able to mobilise and provide the level of service we needed. Currently we are going through the process to inviting Administrators registered in the Murcia area to register their interest and tender for the Administration. This will either result in a goo benchmarking exercise to keep Admiburgos or we will discover a new administrator. Either way, by the AGM the Admin tender committee combined with the current board of presidents will present the findings at the AGM and ask residents to vote.
For the meantime I believe we are very well served by Admiburgos.
It is important that residents provide feedback to your L3 president and get them involved in your issues or queries. We have a long list of 49 Level 3 presidents many of which also have vice presidents too, each representing a garden or block. Some are good, some are fantastic, many we never hear from. These are the residents you or your L3 community voted to represent you. Email them, ask them questions and if you never hear from them, don’t vote for them next year.
Lastly I just wish to thank, Ian Whyte, Mark Ambridge, Fede Mesa and Neil Simpson for all the hard work being put in and for each chairing one of the new committees set-up. These people spend many hours each week, unpaid, to better the community of Condado de Alhama. They are not presidents that just attend a monthly meeting, they are managing committes and are actively involved in finances and solving problems, asking questions about contracts and questioning what has previously been agreed or thought to be set in stone.
Alan Burge – L1 President
Or contact the administrator direct – email Alhama@admiburgos.com
You can email each president using the email address below: –
The level 1 board is made up of Level 2 and Level 2 vice presidents as well as representatives from the gold course, Al Kazar, Condado club and other plots.
The level 2 presidents and vice presidents are:
Naranjos 1 – Ian Whyte President (Vice President Javier Sanchez)
Naranjos 2 – Alan Burge President (Vice President Mark Ambridge)
Jardin 1 – Neil Simpson President (Vice President Jeff Hodge
Jardin 2 – Fede Mesa Suarez President (Vice President Maria Vanesa zapata )
La Isla – Carmon Cordon President (Vice President – Lisbeth Pentelius)