POINCIANA – The board of directors for a homeowner’s association representing more than 50,000 residents across two counties has voted to hire a management firm to oversee its operations in the future.
On Monday, the board of director for the Association of Poinciana Villages voted 5-2 to hire Continental Group as a new management firm to take over management of the APV.
Continental, based in Altamonte Springs, is a property management firm that has specialized in homeowners association communities.
Keith Laytham, president of the local civic group Poinciana Residents for Smart Change, called Continental a “fine” company, and one that previously had a contract to oversee management of the Solivita development, which is not a part of the APV.
Continental, Laytham noted, has experience managing HOAs, and this is significant because Poinciana has 10 villages cutting across Polk and Osceola counties, and outside of the county governments, the APV is the “only local government for the 16,377 families and 63,875 residents living with the Poinciana villages.”
Jeanette Coughenour, manager of the APV, said the contract with Continental is still being drafted, and it’s not clear yet when it will be signed and when Continental will start managing APV operations.
“They’re now in the mode of, ‘We’ve got to work out a contract,’ ” she said.
But the APV board welcomed the change, Coughenour said, because it brings professional property managers to oversee the operations of an HOA that represents the main governing board for the entire community.
“This is a new management model,” she said. “They’re looking for a fresh approach — new ideas, and evaluating how we deliver services. We want to see if they have suggestions on how we can do it more efficiently and effectively, and with cost savings.”
Continental notes on its web site that its aim is to make life better for residents of the HOA community, no matter how big it is.
“Our Promise: Lower fees. Enhanced value. Better services,” Continental notes. “At The Continental Group, we bring the industry’s top professionals and finest resources together for one purpose – to deliver exactly what your association and residents need to thrive. Continental is the only property management company in Florida able to leverage our strong relationships on your behalf to elevate property values, enhance resident services, lower costs and make your community an even happier place to call home.”
“They’re very reputable,” Coughenour said, adding that this move was not intended as merely a long-term cost-savings measure. Poinciana rode a building boom between 2000 and 2007, when the local housing market was soaring, but was hard hit by the collapse of the housing market and the national recession, which left the community with a very high unemployment rate and home foreclosure rate.
“I don’t know that this is about the economy,” Coughenour said, so much as the fact that Poinciana has grown so rapidly – now more than 80,000 residents, although not all of them live under the authority of APV. As the community has grown, so has APV’s overall responsibilities.
“It’s part of an evolution,” Coughenour said. “We’re so big and so complex in what we do. These companies, they deal in this market and they don’t just deal in a single dimension, they deal in multiple communities. They are tried and tested in multiple areas.”
The APV board wanted to know if Continental could bring practical solutions to the increasing pressures facing the association for improved roads, recreational programs, shopping options, schools and other amenities.
“It’s taking a new approach,” Coughenour said. “It’s not anything that is a negative for this community at all. It’s just fresh ideas and a new approach, and a new model to look at what we are doing and if it can be done better.”
She expects Continental to come on board “as soon as the contract can be finalized.”
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