By Brett Funderburg
With the 3rd quarter of 2020 behind us, I wanted to give an update on several items that may be of interest to Members.
Vikram Shah, one of our newly elected directors from this year’s Annual Meeting has had to resign from the board due to unforeseen work commitments. We wish him well but this is disappointing news as Vikram was shaping up to be a valuable asset to the community. Hopefully he will be willing and able to serve at some point in the future. In the meantime, the Association’s Governing Documents empower the remaining board members to fill the open seat so there will be a fresh call for candidates going out and we’ll be reaching out to the other candidates from this year’s meeting to gauge interest and try to set up some interviews.
You may have noticed that the pace of repairs and maintenance has slowed considerably in recent months. We made the decision to cut back on our planned capital spending while we waited to see what impact COVID-19 would have on our cash position. Thus far, it appears that Member delinquency is only slightly higher than usual so we plan to gradually resume our planned maintenance and repair spending. If your household’s finances have been negatively impacted by the pandemic and you are unable to stay current with your HOA assessments, please reach out to Spectrum to work out a payment plan. This will allow you to avoid expenses related to collection on a delinquent account.
The last major project for this year is to rebuild the dumpster enclosure located in the community center parking lot. This project is currently out for bid and we are not expecting it to impact the use of any amenities at the community center complex. The basketball court remains closed due to coronavirus restrictions and we have identified a handful of repairs to the gate and fencing that we would like to undertake at some point but this may get pushed to next year. The tennis courts were resurfaced the week of July 20 following the installation of a retaining wall to address erosion and washout issues that were degrading the court surface sooner than expected and we hope our tennis players are enjoying the refreshed surface The pool will be closing for the season on October 31 and we want to thank everyone for cooperating with us on complying with the various and changing restrictions we were forced to implement due to the pandemic. We also want to especially thank our lifeguards this year, many of whom are from within the neighborhood. We do appreciate you all.
The Board did conclude its 2021 budget planning and adopted the new budget at the September meeting. In terms of direct operating expense, it looks very similar to the 2020 budget with a couple of exceptions. We did achieve a significant reduction in our property and casualty insurance premiums by switching carriers and in recent years, have placed a high priority on aggressive management and repair and maintenance of our irrigation system. This has resulted in big reductions in our water expense to the point that we are comfortable reducing the budgeted amount by about $10,000 heading into 2021. The big capital expenses for next year were identified by the independent reserve study and are primarily focused on some much needed repair and renovation around the pool including coping, tile, deck repairs and repairs to the plaster. In addition, we’re continuing to invest in overdue maintenance and upkeep of our landscaping, beds, trees, sod and hardscape including the concrete fence along Boulder Lane. The board welcomes input from Members at any time on other spending priorities which we may not have considered.
Our two primary management targets are: 1) an 80% or better operating expense ratio; and 2) capital expenses and reserve balances driven by the independent, triennial reserve study. With the series of assessment increases these last few years, we finally hit our target OpEx ratio of just under 80%. This has put us in a position to scale back assessment increases to a level in line with our annual 1.5 – 2% operating expense increases. I discussed this at the annual meeting and the feedback from members present was that having to remember to update auto-pay balances annually would be a source of error and likely lead to many unintended delinquencies and late fee expenses. In recognition of this, the board has elected to apply an approximately 8% increase to the annual assessment, bringing it to $526 annually. With this increase, we are aiming to avoid further increases until the 2024 timeframe assuming current trends hold and nothing dramatic affects our ongoing operations.
Finally, allow me to recognize a few individuals for their service to the community. First up is Sohum Sharma, shown here, who, as part of his Eagle Scout project, has done a very nice job constructing a new Gaga Ball pit at the community center. We are certainly grateful for his efforts and look forward to being able to use it when covid restrictions are lifted and this is possible. Congratulations to you, Mr. Sharma on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout!
Next up is current HOA member of the Board and licensed electrician, Mark Weaver, who, this year, has donated countless hours and literally tens of thousands of dollars worth of electrical work personally repairing and installing numerous security cameras, LED fixtures, wiring, conduit, breakers and all manner of gadgets; going so far as to even rent a scissor lift to replace a handful of lights at the pool parking lot with energy efficient LED lighting. Mark, thank you so much for your time and talent donated for our benefit – we appreciate you!
On behalf of the Board,