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Youth symphony concert here Dec. 5

Surprise water rate increase

to be Colonos assembly topic

Condo managers to request

funding for legal opinion

By Staff
Several months ago, the recently merged ownership of the community’s private water distribution concession unilaterally and without public warning significantly changed its water rate system, causing a substantial increase in costs for private homes and condominiums and evidently decreasing costs for high-usage businesses.

This was accomplished quietly by eliminating the five-tiered rating system that charged from 10 pesos per m3 of water for the lowest users, to 28 pesos per m3 for high-end users of over 40 m3. Now, all users will pay a flat 20-peso rate per m3.

Adding to the cost, the concessionaire, for the first time, tacked on a 20 percent surcharge for the sewage treatment system use and, on top of that, added payment of a 16 percent IVA onto the 20 percent surcharge.

The change occurred even while a group of condo association administrators had forged an informal alliance to combat a previous rate change perceived as patently unfair to condo associations. In that case, the concessionaire unilaterally ended the practice of dividing the water cost of a condo building by the number of units, pushing what had been a low-rate use charge per unit to the highest rate charge for the building as one unit.

Suarez chosen spokesman

Carlos Suarez of Batt and Suarez Associates property management company, was chosen as spokesman for the informal administrators’ group and will make a request at the Colonos annual assembly on Dec.13 to have a third party determine the legality of the water concessionaire’s latest move to considerably hike its revenue on the backs of rate-payers.

He will ask the Colonos voters to approve a 50,000-peso expenditure of Colonos funds to hire the law firm of Vela Associates, which has been involved in previous water concession interpretations, to determine if the latest action by the concessionaire is legal. ($50,000 pesos is $3,658 USD). “It’s just a tiny fraction of the Colonos budget,” Suarez said.

Suarez, who incidentally is tri-lingual and a candidate for the Colonos board this year, will present charted facts showing the nearly tripled cost the new system represents for homes and condos while high-end users such as hotels (if they in fact use the local system or have their own), busy restaurants, laundries and other high business users such as a golf course will pay the same rate, meaning less cost to them compared to previous high-use tiered charges.

Suarez will present an example 38-unit condo building whose cost rose from $3,040 pesos for 305 m3 of water under the per-unit tiered system. Then, in the summer when much rain helps preserve water, consumed only 198 m3 but paid an invoice of $5,544 pesos when the concessionaire change to the single building model, or 2,500 pesos more for 107 fewer cubic meters, nearly doubled the cost.

With the recently announced 20-peso flat rate per m3 for all users and including  the 20 percent sewerage surcharge and 16 percent IVA, that particular condo building was recently charged $10,866 pesos for 441 m3 of consumption – or roughly three times last year’s costs. (Note the usage variables in this test case)

As a point of historical information, Suarez explained that private water system concessions were awarded by the government in certain cases where the government did not have the capacity to link some developments to the then-limited municipal systems. The concessions came with government imposed rules, which is what the administrators want clarified by an independent party.

Another perception

Earlier this year, PA developer Roman Rivera Torres had announced the water concession was losing money, prompting the earlier increase of condo rates, and that the concession was for sale. Instead, he entered a merger, Fusion H2O Puerto Aventuras S.A. de C.V, and announced plans to construct a desalination plant converting free salt water to potable water and avoiding future payments to the government for using non-potable groundwater as is now the case.

He believed the plant would benefit the community and could be up and running in 2016. The presumption is that added revenue via the rate system change is  needed to fund the investment in desalination and eventually turn a profit.

But is the one-size-fits-all single rate fair and within the confines of existing law? That’s the question condo administrators in league with some homeowners want answered by an independent party so that the community has solid legal ground, either way, for whatever action might be necessary to assure and sustain community input into water costs and service in the future.

Colonos grievances

Colonos general manager Armando Rincon said the Colonos has also had its grievances over the lack of transparency and absence of prior notices by the water department, which is something they have been discussing. The water concessionaire had taken unilateral steps, such as repair of leaks along Colonos roads, without warning or approved controls for guaranteed repairs within a reasonable time frame. It is negotiating with the concessionaire for corrections and attention to letting the community know what it is doing in a timely manner.

He also likened Suarez’s pending request for funds to another community problem that evolved last year when owners of waterfront property were told they had to pay an extra tax because they were encroaching on the federal zone. The Colonos paid to hire a lawyer to act for all the waterfront landowners and the situation was favorably resolved. The tax collection was not pursued by the government.

For Suarez and his committee, which includes Enrique Caballero of Fannie’s Rentals and the del Paso brothers of Club Aventuras, approval of funding for a legal interpretation of the concessionaire’s latest action would let the community know where it stands legally in future water dealings and related community input.

The funding outcome and future of cooperative negotiations concerning water will depend on voter support at the assembly, Suarez said.

 

COMING EVENTS…

 

Cancun youth symphony orchestra

to open PA’s holiday season Dec. 5

It isn’t every day that Puerto Aventuras gets to host an entire symphonic orchestra like this season’s first concert Dec.5 at the Cultural Center to open the holiday season and get the community in the spirit of the times.

The Puerto Aventuras Sailing Club and Colonos Sports and Cultural Committee are hosting the Youth Symphonic Orchestra of Cancun to perform here to lighten and brighten the festive ambiance of the season.

Don’t miss what is likely to be the concert season’s stellar event whose proceeds are shared by the Puerto Aventuras Youth Sailing Club that has already won numerous awards in national and international competition.

Tickets are currently on sale at the Colonos office between 9 a.m. -2 and 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays and also at the Bamboo Restaurant located on the new marina across from the Colegio.

The committee says this promises to be a musically pleasing evening for residents to enjoy while ushering in the holidays with the music of the classical masters.

For an extra 20 pesos music lovers will be entered in a raffle to win a Samsung iPad. Drinks and snacks will be available. Support this community effort by getting your tickets now and joining your neighbors for a pleasant evening of music provided by talented youth. Other events:

COLEGIO CHRISTMAS BAZAAR  starts Wednesday, Dec. 3 and will continue through Friday from noon to 3 p.m. daily and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6. At the bazaar you will find a variety of items including jewelry, clothes, Xmas decorations, etc. If you are interested in selling new or old items, the booth costs of $150 pesos per day Wednesday to Friday and $200 pesos for Saturday with a special cost of $550 for the four days.For more information contact the school’s office at (984) 873 5141 or by email at: info@colegiopuertoaventuras.comSPECIAL ASSEMBLY for Centro Comercial Owners’ Association slated for 9 a.m. Dec. 6 at the Colonos meeting room on a proposal to recall the Vigilance Committee…COOKING CLASS at Latitude 20, now under new ownership, begins Nov. 28 at 10 a.m…COLONOS ASSEMBLY will convene at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 13 at the Dreams Hotel Theater on Xel Ha Avenue to consider a 3 percent increase in the maintenance fee among other annual financials …CENTRO COMERCIAL annual assembly is scheduled for January 10…

 

Give a gift for Colonos

Employees’ Yule party

 

It isn’t too early for residents to open their hearts and donate a gift for employees of the Colonos, which every year conducts a Christmas party for its workers and their children under the auspices of the board of directors. The party will be held Friday, Dec. 19 in the Poblado.

The Colonos is accepting the gifts during working hours, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays.

“The party is a way to thank our workers for their efforts and support during the year, but it wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of the community at large. We ask for your help in donating a gift, for an adult or a child. It can be delivered any time during working hours at the Colonos office. Our best wishes to all for the holiday season,” the board declared.

 

A double first-night attracts

dozens to Art/Info center

For Gladis del Carmen, it was the first art show produced by her at the Puerto Aventuras Art and information Center Saturday evening and for Jayne Halle, a three-year resident here, it was the first public showing of her photographic art.

The art center, which also has Thursday evening art displays by various artists, hopes to continue offering single shows by local artists and others from Playa del Carmen and Cancun, Sra. del Carmen said.

The event, which attracted dozens of people and included wine and cheese, was billed as “Mexico Heart and Soul” and offered an eclectic photographic view of Mexico’s people and environment in black and white and color.

A nurse practitioner in the United States and former hat designer, Ms. Halle took to photography a few years ago as she took to diving along Puerto Aventuras’ colorful reefs and made the best of both. She announced that the art colony of San Miguel de Allende, which she recently visited, held an attraction for the creative mind and would be moving there next month.

The art and information center is sponsored by the Porto Bello organization of fractional living.

 

Commerce Corner…

New Tulum hotel made of metal,

plastic, efficiency and simplicity

It’s been said that simplicity is the mark of true elegance. Owners of the new, 34-suite Gaia Hotel opening Dec. 1 on Tulum’s main road near the Aguachiles Restaurant agree.

Owner-realtor Georgina Lara of Puerto Aventuras said the hotel differs from the usual block and brick buildings because it is pre-fabricated of metal and plastic, has smaller, efficient rooms with all amenities including , room service, ample parking just outside the door and a 25-meter lap pool.

The rooms have showers with a forceful water flow, a garden for lounging near the pool, on-site bicycle rentals and concierge arrangements for transportation to and from airports and the numerous area parks, ruins and other sites of interest.

She said the no-fuss, easy to handle rooms offer the comforts of a major hotel in an unpretentious atmosphere and undemanding size for on-the-go guests and individuals who want an exciting vacation nicely topped off by a sound night’s sleep.

The hotel is a mile from the center of Tulum, a 5-minute drive to the sprawling beach and 15 minutes to the Xel Ha water park. It is on the main street where public transportation comes by every 15 minutes to Tulum center and other towns along the Riviera Maya. In Greek mythology, Gaia is the goddess of the earth, giving rise to a subsequent hypothesis that organisms interact with their  inorganic surroundings to achieve simplicity in a complex system.

Click on the Gaia logo at left for more information.

Buy 10 containers of chemicals

At WeRWater and get one free

WeRWater Co., the only local business offering full service on water needs, from chemicals to construction and repairs of pools and household water systems, is currently offering one free container of any chemical for every 10 similar containers purchased.

The company, founded by Liliet Duschkin and Lucie Wedge, both bi-lingual, has established itself in a retail stall along the Dolphin Walk across from the Omni Hotel. Everything needed to maintain and repair pools and household water systems – from top grade chemicals to tile and water pumps – is available at WeRWater.

“We invite condo administrators and homeowners to stop for any information they might need about water problems and solutions without having to travel anywhere. We want to be the connecting point for all things water, from supplies, pool toys,  tiles, lights, pumps and other equipment for the purification and softening of household water to arranging, when requested, for construction, repairs and  maintenance of pools and Jacuzzis through our network of qualified and tested tradesmen and technicians,” they said. Click on the logo at left for more information on products and services.

Briefly Noted…

The sidewalk on Chemuyil next to the fence and highway has been completed, utilizing both sides of the roadway. The Colonos urges pedestrians to use them and remain out of the street for safety’s sake…Jerry and Gloria Fastrup have purchased a home in San Miguel de Allende, a city of 70,000 located an average of 1,907 meters above sea level. Jerry, a piano player and entertainer at Latitude 20 for several years and quite a dancer with his wife, Gloria, have been active in the Puerto Aventuras community. For the moment they will be splitting their time between San Miguel and Puerto Aventuras and will sell one of their two condos here in Puerto…Acapulco no – The U.S. Embassy in Mexico is advising U.S. tourists to steer clear of Acapulco and Guerrero State because of the violent demonstrations provoked by the case of the 43 kidnapped students in the city of Iguala who are missing and presumed dead…U.S. participation in Mexico’s fight against drug cartels was revealed by the Wall Street Journal, which reported that U.S. Marshal Service regularly and covertly accompany the Mexican Navy in actual raids…Mexican President Pena Nieto says President Obama’s latest immigration action to legalize an estimated 5 million Mexicans took into consideration the contributions Mexicans make in the U.S. …Also, Pena Nieto said the case of the 43 missing students underscores that Mexican society is “sick of feeling vulnerable” in the wake of violent demonstrations… Quick action by authorities prevented an outbreak of the chikungunya virus in Quintana Roo. Only two cases were reported in the state, much less than in other states, said officials…Canadian beef is finding a ready market on the Riviera Maya, reports Canadian Beef Co. officials. The firm has begun an educational program on meat quality and handling to involve Mexican chefs…The conservative PAN party in Mexico is urging the sitting federal lawmakers to quickly implement a national anti-corruption system because the Missing 43 has caused the corruption problem to rise to an alarming level…It is estimated that 30,000 Mexican youths leave school to cooperate with criminal gangs in Mexico…President Pena Nieto was expected to make an important announcement this week regarding Mexican justice in the wake of the 43 missing students of Iguala…meanwhile, he also attended the official dedication yesterday of the new roadway Playa del Carmen-El Tintal cutting about an hour from the trip to Merida…The director of the trust for tourism and promotion of the Riviera Maya said this week that the case of the missing 43 students and other such events may undermine tourist reservations next year because these events produce a negative image of Mexico abroad…

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