FMO Newsletter October 2020 Print

    President's Report

    Greetings Everyone,

    I trust you are all remaining to be safe.  I believe our residents have done a great job in protecting themselves and others during this pandemic.  FMO, like other entities, has been affected by the virus and we have had to address our fiscal issues.  We were fortunate enough to qualify for the Payroll Protection Program and expect the loan will be forgiven.

    As most of you know FMO’s income occurs between October and April of each year and that has to carry us through the summer.  Our primary source of income is our membership dues. Membership needs to grow for us to continue to protect and advocate for Manufactured Home Owners.  Thanks to our membership drive we were off to a record setting year in January and February.  Then came March 13th and you know the rest of the story.

    At this point I want to make it clear that FMO is solvent and can survive this year and beyond no matter what happens.  Two years ago, we sold our Headquarters building in Largo and moved into a smaller leased office space.  This created a significant increase in capital.  We have funds in an investment account, a money market and our operating fund.  With that being said, we still look for ways to increase our revenue especially during this unprecedented time. 

    I invite you to look at the Cross County Motor Club Membership that FMO offers its members.  We are able to offer this competitive plan at a discounted rate as well as making a small profit.   It was also suggested that we initiate a GoFundMe site to help defray some of the costs for our planned educational webinars.  This only reflects our attempt to provide more opportunities to manufactured home owners.

    We will launch our new membership management program at the end of September.  Park Reps and every level of leadership will have live access to up to date data.  This will be followed by our webinar series in October beginning with ‘Park Rep Training’ and ‘Negotiating with your Park Owner’.  In November we will offer our first ‘HOA Board Training’ webinar, and a second to be scheduled in January.  You will find the links to register for these in this Newsletter.  They will be free except for the HOA Board Training as course materials will be furnished.

    Stay safe, Jerry Durham

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    Legislative Briefs - Nancy Black Stewart

    October 2020 Newsletter

    Hurricane Season continues to be active and the following information may be helpful.

    Price Gouging issues should be reported to the Florida Attorney General’s Hotline:

    1-866-9NO-SCAM     (1-866-966-7226)

    Citizens Property Insurance Corporation: 24/7 Claims Assistance:

    1-866-411-2742

    Citizens Special Investigations to report Suspected Fraud:

    1-855-748-9596

    Department of Financial Services Consumer Helpline for Insurance Fraud Investigations:

    1-877-693-5236

    Florida General Election:  November 3, 2020       VOTE!!  VOTE!!  VOTE!!  VOTE!!  VOTE!!

    Florida Deadline to Vote in General Election:  October 5, 2020

    Florida Residents may register to vote:  www.RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov

    Please support the FMO Endorsed Candidates listed in your September-October FMO Magazine

    The following information may be helpful as you consider the Six Florida Constitutional Amendments.  These proposed Amendments must pass by 60% of those voting.

    Amendment 1

    Amendment 1 attempts to clarify who can vote in Florida.  Section 2, Article VI, reads:  “Every citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered."  The amendment would change the word “Every” to “Only a”.

    Amendment 2

    Amendment 2 will raise the minimum wage in Florida to $15/hour by 2026. On September 30, 2021, the minimum wage will be $10/hour and increase $1 a year until it reaches $15.  Cost of living increase will resume in 2027.

    Amendment 3

    Upon passage there would be two elections.  All qualified candidates, regardless of party affiliation, would be listed on the first (primary) ballot and all Florida registered voters would be able to vote for any candidate.  The two candidates receiving the most votes, regardless of party affiliation, will be on the general election ballot.  It is being called: “Open Primary” and “All Voters Vote”.

    Amendment 4

    Amendment 4 requires that proposed changes to the Florida Constitution must be approved by the voters twice, in two successive general elections, with 60% of the votes each time.

    Amendment 5

    Amendment 5 gives a person an additional year to transfer the “Save Our Home” homestead exemption to his/her “new homestead”.  Upon passage the homeowner would have 3 years to transfer the benefits.

    Amendment 6

    Amendment 6 transfers to the surviving spouse of a veteran with permanent combat-related disabilities the Homestead Property Tax discount.  The discount applies until the spouse remarries, dies, sells, or disposes of the property.

     

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    Committee Reports

    MEMBERSHIP REPORT

    The Committee continues to meet monthly to discuss various membership issues. Due to the COVID shutdown, the Board has approved extending our membership promotion campaign through 2021. The next FMO Magazine will reflect the changes made to the brochure. Our monthly winner for the newest members recruited for August was Karen Price. She received $100 for bringing in 9 new members. As of the end of September, the promotion has seen only 653 new members added to our roles since Jan. 1st. Our total membership stands at 10,276 overall members. The major contributing factor for our declining membership tends to be attributed to people failing to renew their membership.

    Any resident of your community may sign up for our new Webinar. Park Rep training has been an ongoing discussion for many years. You are urged to attend the free webinar to find out more about how to best represent FMO. Please visit our website at www.fmo.org to stay up to date.

    Jesse James,Chairman,

    Membership Committee

    727-271-9565

     

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    Communications Committee

    Buying Frenzy
    by Patricia Keough-Wilson, FMO Communications Chair


    “Affordable Housing” is a popular phrase in governing circles at all levels from community Mayors to state Governors to federal level agencies and elected officials, even to the White House.
    Manufactured and mobile homes are affordable housing but the description affordable is in the eyes of the beholder. To corporate park owners, increased rents still leave that term applicable. To a widow on Social Security, that increased rent means having to move out as her income can no longer meet the rent that goes up annually. She must leave her home and get from it what a sale will bring. Buyers may still consider even market rent affordable compared to buying a home in a development or renting an apartment; rent in a manufactured-mobile home park is affordable.
    Currently, with only one park being built in Florida, the thousands of parks in this state present an opportunity for guaranteed profits to corporate buyers of parks we call home. And there is a buying frenzy on. Recently, Aberdeen in Ormond Beach, Volusia County sold for $96 million, the biggest real estate sale in Volusia County history per a front page article in the Daytona News-Journal. Homeowners in that park and in every park where homeowners rent the land have little or no say in park sales. This purchase means an automatic increase in property taxes and those taxes, known as ad valorem taxes, are passed on to the homeowners. The buyer gets an increased value on his asset sheet; homeowners get a higher monthly payment.
    Several other purchases of parks have happened since then and more purchases are in the rumor mill, likely true.
    A bidding war for 40 mobile homes was reported in business related media. A firm bid $550 million for 40 mobile parks in Florida. No final conclusion as this article is written.
    These purchases will impact the lives of every resident in a purchased park; it might mean improved management, needed upgrades, and more. It will mean increased costs to homeowners. It might be minimal costs and it might be burdensome costs.
    Tom Gwin, HOA President of Aberdeen at Ormond Beach, was quoted in that newspaper article. His quote sums up the reality for every homeowner in a park being purchased. He said of the new owners, “The message I gave to them is this may be a business for them, but it is my home.”
    All of us echo that.

     

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    Did you know?

    Fifty four years ago, while many of our current park residents were fighting in Vietnam or pioneering our race to the moon, the Supreme Court of Florida affirmed the right of cities and counties to tax mobile homes as real property. A hue & cry was heard across the state and on Nov 2, 1965 Amendment 5 to the Florida Constitution was passed. The Florida Constitution, Article VII, Section 1(b) states:  “Motor vehicles, boats, airplanes, trailers, trailer coaches and mobile homes, as defined by law, shall be subject to a license tax for their operation in the amounts and for the purposes prescribed by law, but shall not be subject to ad valorem taxes”

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