IT’S ALL ABOUT TIMBERWOOD PARK!

My main purpose in writing this blog, which is written for the property owners of the Timberwood Park development, is for a means to keep my neighbors informed and apprised of things in and around our development that might be of interest or concern.

I’ve heard the new HOA board is asking to be given a chance when discussing plans to potentially shift culture and perhaps take on changing some neighborhood operations.  I hope that this proves to be true going forward.

To see that change might be brewing look to the first neighborhood HOA meeting this year where some of the highlights included replacing the attorney who has represented the HOA since turnover forward. 

If you know the history of lawsuits and other issues which have faced our development this was a good move.  With the replacement comes the potential to correct and move past some of the troubling decisions which were made by previous boards that have impacted all property owners in Timberwood Park. 

Concerns for property owners to ponder going forward:

The rise in vandalism in our private park and the lack of onsite security patrols and/or staffing to address this problem continues to be a concern for our assets, property and our park.  As owners, we should all be paying attention to the social media posts which are showing up regarding recent destruction of our common area property by individuals in the park without regard for any repercussions or the fear they might be held accountable.  There have been several since the 1st of the year.

Most recently, the NextDoor post about individuals destroying one of the tables in the park who then left the park without ever being confronted by either our park manager or any security. 

No security?  That’s probably because we haven’t hired any and our park manager does not seem to have the responsibility to patrol the park with any regularity.  Is this how you want your park and its amenities to be taken care of?

Without exception, I receive inquiries almost daily through the same website from which this blog comes – timberwoodparksa.org – from surrounding developments, people who do not own property in Timberwood Park, and/or organizations who have heard about the clubhouse or seen it under construction, and are interested in the possibility of “using” the clubhouse for events, activities, meetings, etc.  While I’m sure at least some of these inquiries would be willing to pay for the opportunity to use the facilities that’s not the point. 

Here’s the rub…we are a private park that commonly belongs to the property owners of Timberwood Park.  If we start renting out the facilities outside Timberwood Park property owners, we risk losing our private park status.  This in turn could affect our tax status as an organization as well as our property tax valuations for the park. 

Even if that didn’t happen, the costs to maintain our private park and its amenities, the additional wear and tear and the additional liability we will incur from public usage will increase our overhead accordingly.  Who benefits from this?  Not the property owners of Timberwood Park who are footing the bill for these costs.  And for those property owners who say “we only pay blah blah blah a year so who cares?”……you should!

It is more and more apparent that growth in surrounding developments is making the case for tightening how our park is accessed, how our private social events are advertised and how access is granted for those events.  This in turn aids in ensuring that our assets will continue to be maintained in the best interest of the property owners of Timberwood Park, not the greater public at-large.

Ask your board members to seriously work on changing the culture that has been allowed for the last 8+ years.

  1. Gate access should be monitored and ID controlled
  2. The park should be patrolled regularly, after-all we have an on-site manager living in our park.  This should be part of that individual’s responsibilities in the very least.
  3. Events should not be advertised outside Timberwood Park. As an example those bands we contract with are contracted to provide a “private event” not an opportunity to advertise to their followers they can attend a “free” concert in our private park.
  4. Food trucks should adhere to the same policy.  Advertising for their foodies to enjoy a meal and a free concert at our private events is not in the best interest of the property owners of Timberwood Park.
  5. This should apply to all our private social events in the same manner.

It’s a private park for a reason.  It is an amenity we each purchased a “common” interest in when we bought property in the Timberwood Park Development.  As such, having an open gate policy and an “anyone who wants to attend in our park can” attitude for the many social activities sponsored by our HOA diminishes the unique amenity that should be a crowning asset for the property owners of Timberwood Park.  Otherwise the case is made for why buy in Timberwood Park when we can use the park and attend the great activities put on there anytime we want. We don’t have to own there.

Especially when we are building a $1.2 million dollar clubhouse and counting!

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NEW BOARD MEMBERS

Last evening, the property owners voted Nettie Werling, Warren Mutz, Abbey Lehner, David Barkalow to fill the 4 vacancies the board has at the end of this year. Congratulations and wishing you each success representing the neighborhood!

A quick note to all my friends and neighbors — thank you for your support during this past election season. I was touched by not only your support but all the kind things you each had to say! To those of you who offered or allowed me to place a sign on your property thank you additionally for the extra show of support for the campaign and if I haven’t picked up my signs by Friday, please feel free to remove them and dispose of them as you see fit. I am going around the neighborhood picking them up as I get to the streets they were placed and should have the job done by Friday.

Look for upcoming blogs about subjects property owners may find interesting down the road. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each of you!

ANNUAL HOA MEETING – REMINDER DEC 17, 2019

Our annual meeting for the Timberwood Park Owners Association (TPOA) is about to take place. Meeting date is December 17, 2019 at 7:00 pm and located this year, due to the clubhouse build, at Piper Middle School. For those of you who don’t know where that is, it is off Borgfeld directly across from the Borgfeld Storage Units. The entrance to the school is actually the Kinder Ranch main entrance road there, not the delivery and truck entrance located a bit farther down.

If you didn’t get an opportunity to cast your vote during the on-line voting option which was provided, you can still vote for your favorite candidates! You can attend the annual meeting and vote in person or you can give one of your fellow property owner neighbors that you know are attending your vote to turn in that night. If you need help with filling out the form, let me know and I’ll be happy to assist. If you need someone to come by and pick up your ballot, please let me know as well and we’ll be sure to get it there for you. Send a message to me at cgriff2011@gmail.com.

Looking forward to seeing you at the annual meeting!

Important – On-Line Voting Has Begun for the HOA Board 2020

Have you registered for your new account with Lifetime Management?

Beginning November 10, 2019, Lifetime Management, our new management company, has provided the opportunity for on-line voting to begin for 4 positions open to be filled by candidates running for HOA office this year.  This is the first time in our neighborhood history we have had the opportunity to vote on-line and just one of many new features Lifetime Management brings to our neighborhood.

You should have received a packet in the mail within the last few weeks with instructions about how to register and set up your account.  If you have not yet received your packet, please visit https://lifetimehoamanagement.com/homeowner-log-in/ to set up your account or call Lifetime HOA Management at 210-504-8484 for assistance.

There are 8 candidates running for the 4 positions available.  Please participate in the electoral process by voting for 4 candidates to fill the positions which are being vacated by retiring incumbents.  This is a great way to participate — your vote your voice! 

Sidebar:  I’ve been asked by many in the neighborhood to provide commentary regarding who might be the best candidates.  Here’s my take for those of you interested:

For those of you who have already expressed your support for my election to the board, thank you!  I appreciate your confidence that I am one of the right people to elect to the board currently in our neighborhood’s history. In the 14 years I have lived here I’ve witnessed us come from a volunteer organization who had little say in anything pertaining to operations, asset management, or rules which governed how and what was allowed in the park and common areas when our developers were in control to a turnover allowing all property owners a seat at the table to decide how our money was spent.  Trouble is, there wasn’t much property owner participation allowed during these last 8 years as we moved into self-rule with a governing style of this board being they were elected and had final say on how money was spent in most cases. 

The incumbent board has hand-picked 4 candidates they wish to replace them as they exit the board who are running as an all-for-one group interested in keeping the status quo. That should be a concern when considering who to vote for. 

Jim Burdine and Joe Alvarez will bring new vitality and experience to the board.  All three of us are running separately and have solid backgrounds and experience that support fiscal/financial responsibility as well as representing Timberwood Park Property Owners fairly and equally across the board. 

Two of us, myself and Jim, have prior experience serving on the Timberwood Park HOA board – Jim as the first ever TPPOA President and myself as the President who oversaw along with my board the necessary steps and negotiations to get us to turnover of our assets and finances from our developer to the property owners control.  Those positions gave us unique perspective to add along-side our other business experience.  Joe Alvarez, while new to the neighborhood, brings a wealth of previous business experience and is a retiree who has openly stated he has the time to give and wants to work hard on behalf of our neighborhood to continue to improve and maintain it. 

At the top of the list of priorities when elected will be working to ensure financial solvency and accountability as well as taking a serious look at the upkeep and maintenance of our existing assets.  That means, among other things, each of us will be looking at our operating budget to determine where we have opportunities to save money, how to prioritize expenses to stay on budget and how to effectively continue to save for the future maintenance that will be coming as our assets age. 

That doesn’t mean the social fabric of the neighborhood will disappear which I am aware has been being circulated as a means to deter support for those candidates who are more focused on the business of the neighborhood  – it simply means the HOA must be able to live within a budget and ensure we can manage the business of the neighborhood as our first priority.  That’s no different than what each of us must do in our personal life when we live within a budget to be able to meet expenses.

Each of us believes in property owner participation, property owner voting rights on capital expenditures, property owner voting rights for operational and guiding documents for the HOA and most important, listening to property owners.  It’s your money!!! 

Call your neighbors and friends, text them, e-mail them, but ask them to vote for change.  Jim, myself and Joe Alvarez will represent you fairly and honestly without exception.

Transparency, honesty, open communication and property owner participation shouldn’t be buzz words for a campaign, they should just be the standard of operation for any member of an HOA board. We have lots of heavy lifting ahead to ensure we can service the debt we have taken on with the new clubhouse build as well as maintain our other current assets properly.  Take a chance on change rather than the status quo.  Vote in new differing opinions to the table not just group think.  Vote for your voice to be heard.  Vote to strengthen the Timberwood Park HOA in 2020 with solid business and management experience and skills by voting for Jim Burdine, Cindy Griffin and Joe Alvarez. Let your voice be heard! 

FROM A BIRDSEYE VIEW…..

On Saturday evening our neighborhood hosted the always popular annual Halloween Around the Lake event in our private park. While I didn’t do an actual census count, it appeared from the crowd gathered in the park we might be nearing the 1,000 or more mark in attendance — or at least several hundred anyway (seemed like a 1,000 😊).  The event always provides a great opportunity for neighbors and friends to gather for a social opportunity in our wonderful private park. It was a great success as it is every year and lots of fun for those who attended who saw a great neighborhood party take place in our park!

I went with the purpose of wanting to hand out candy, as I have done in years past.  And, yes to hand out “vote for Cindy” cards as a promotion for the upcoming HOA election.  Jim Burdine was also at the gate doing the same thing.  I’ve witnessed this event become a sort of “kick-off” event for candidates who are running for office for several years now. Other candidates were also campaigning inside the park with signs and such.

Behind the scenes, I was struck by the number of people who kept coming as I stood at the gate beginning at about 5:15 pm handing out candy to the revelers who were walking and driving in.  It was wave after wave after wave.  I was surprised that there was no security, no volunteer(s) who had been given the task to manage the flow, no board member in place to assist with the flow of people and vehicles who were entering the park.

There were 3 of us standing at the gate, and from time to time, 4 of us.  None of us an actual volunteer who was scheduled to work the event, but we were nonetheless working to aid as best we could the constant flow into the park moving safely and generally checking for fobs and/or wristbands in accordance with the policy listed as part of the event.  Vehicles, golf carts, pedestrians all kept coming on a regular basis.  As the parking lot continued to fill, we wondered how to tell when the lot was full and turn vehicles away.  Mind you the event had not yet officially begun, but with the open gates people had been entering throughout the day doing set-up, getting their spot/booth to hand out candy, etc. and attendees were already coming for the night’s activities.  We were approached by a gentleman in a golf cart who was irritated the back gate was not open for him to go in and out with his golf cart.  He was insistent that someone correct that problem. He continued his insistence and distraction which was starting to impact the gate operation, so we suggested he speak to a board member about the matter.  He approached the board member in charge of security for this event and as a result the back gate was not only opened for golf carts but left open unattended for the entire event. To my knowledge, there was no-one checking for wristbands or fobs at the back gate.

At the same time a board member asked if we could check wristbands and fobs officially as volunteers for the event since we were handing out candy at the entrance and we were given vests to do so.  The four of us working the gate of course agreed readily to assist, but I think we were all surprised there were no other scheduled volunteers at the gate to regulate entrance into the event. 

While we experienced a variety of responses from neighbors and other attendees coming in that evening, we also heard “thanks for checking and verifying attendance, great to see it being done”. And likewise, we heard from those who were turned away stating “we have never been checked before, they didn’t do this last year”.  We also learned from some attendees there were flyers out at the local Spirit of Halloween store off 281 and the comment was “how do you expect to control attendance if you have flyers out in public announcing the event?”

The hired security arrived as scheduled at 6 pm and began taking over the large crowds.  They were extremely professional and were helpful in directing safe passage for pedestrians as well as keeping vehicles from entering the full park while also aiding those vehicles leaving the park to safely navigate the crowd coming in.

We ran the front gate from 5:15 until about 7:45 when we handed in our volunteer vests and as we left there was one paid guard at the gate.  The paid guard was given instructions to no longer monitor the gate but walk in the park instead following our departure from the gate.

Here’s what I believe is important for all property owners to understand. This is one of the cornerstone events for our neighborhood. It was started as a neighborhood activity and has grown over the years due to word of mouth, the open gate, neighborhood growth surrounding Timberwood Park, and the great fun the activity is each year. We are at a point where we seriously need to manage all events we hold in our park to ensure our property owners and their guests can attend successfully while not producing events for the larger population of San Antonio or wherever they may be coming from.

To do that, we need to start thinking proactively about how the manage events so as not to become so overwhelming they cannot be controlled effectively. The HOA is ultimately liable for any “accidents or incidents” which might occur during one of our events. In the current sue happy environment today, don’t think for a minute that someone who has an issue at one of these events won’t look for compensation via a lawsuit that impacts the solvency of our HOA. Our insurance can only do so much.  It has already been not renewed & new insurance was purchased at triple the old rates due to our current insurability rating.

This is but one factor which impacts our bottom line and what annual funds are available for operations.  Couple that with the increased SAWS bills headed our way (22% increase in our park water bills is coming in 2020 that has yet to be budgeted for), the principal and interest payments we will need to make on our clubhouse business loan, add other increases in costs, and our budget is going to be extremely tight, if not upside down, even with an assessment increase. 

Please consider the future solvency of the neighborhood when making your choice voting this year for board members. The first job of any board member is to protect and maintain our existing assets. Whether you like the word amazing, awesome, or any other buzz word being used as a slogan for electoral purposes — to be any of those we must remain solvent and we must take care of our assets and investments. 

I believe we need far more volunteers in place working events to manage them effectively in the future.  There were not enough people to man the gates, check for attendance, help with traffic flow and pedestrian flow, etc. at this event.  Not enough people to volunteer for the event? Do we need to hire more paid personnel to aid management of the event? Do we need to rethink how to do the event?

Look at the candidates and their platforms, look at their experience, talk to them and see what they know about the business of the association and how it works.  Business operations and the business of the neighborhood will be essential in the coming years in order to keep Timberwood Park and its awesome private park well cared for, maintained and solvent. 

I’ve asked for your vote and will continue to ask.  I have a wealth of information and experience when it comes to Timberwood Park having been the TPPOA President for 5 years during one of our biggest undertakings – turnover from the developer which ultimately gave us the ability to manage, maintain and control our assets and what we do with the funds we collect to manage our neighborhood.  Couple that with my other community involvement during and after my board tenure on various committees and activities, my business experience and my desire for Timberwood Park to remain a great place to live and I am a candidate who will work hard for the best for Timberwood Park on your behalf! 

If you’d like to visit directly with me, please don’t hesitate to send me a private message at cgriff2011@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog and I’ll respond there!