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!

TPOA CANDIDATE FORUM TUES OCT 22 7 PM at PAVILION – TONIGHT!

Reminder for any property owner interested and ALL candidates running for an open position on the HOA board to attend this evening’s Open Forum for Candidates at the Pavilion 7 pm. Every candidate running for office has been invited and current board Treasurer Paul Rutkowski will be moderating this event. Come meet and greet and ask questions! Light refreshments and drinks will be served!

OCTOBER HOA MEETING NOTES

Please note these are not the official meeting minutes but rather a summary of notes I took during this meeting. A summary of the HOA meeting for October 2019 follows:

The meeting was brought to order with board members Karen O’Neill, Paula Dimmitt, Chris Martinez, Paul Rutkowski and Shawna Klein in attendance.  Chris Zenner and Ricky Gonzales were absent.

Previous minutes were approved unanimously by the board.

A thorough financial report was discussed by Paul Rutkowski which outlined our current financial status and included income received through 8/30/2019 totaling $512,751.31 and operating expenses for the same timeframe $396,024.04.  Keep in mind this time period includes only one interest payment made against the $1.5 million dollar loan for the clubhouse.  Budget for interest only in 2019 for the loan is set at $113,400.00 to be paid. We currently show a net loss year end projected to be ($73,900.00) based on our current budget trajectory.

Following the discussion of the budget, the board unanimously approved the 2020 budget.

There was a board discussion about the budget and the need to raise the assessments to provide additional income for the upcoming changes in operating overhead due to the loan repayment.  The board voted and unanimously approved an assessment fee increase for 2020 of the maximum 10% allowed according to our deed restrictions which amounts to an additional $21.70 per assessed property owner. An audience member suggested potentially raising the assessments for the next three years at 10% per annum in order to cover the current budget constraints stating assessment fees are low compared to other developments throughout San Antonio.  The increase provides an estimated additional $62,000 in operating funds annually and moves our current $218.00 fee to $238.70.

NOTE:  Many of you probably recall board President Greg Matula making the promise in previous meetings where costs for the new clubhouse were included and the board insisted they would NOT raise assessment fees citing the budget could handle the clubhouse build and it would NOT cost property owners more out-of-pocket expenses.

The collection policy was the next item for discussion with a board discussion of a revised policy which was necessary to match incoming property management company Lifetime’s policy for collections which lowers the present collection fees to $20.00 and changes the costs for attorney involvement in the collection process.  Those changes were unanimously voted approved by the board.  A question from the audience was asked about there being no fines for not paying assessments on time.  The board response was that administrative fees are levied each year at 10% if you are late paying your assessment fees.

Discussion regarding Villas repayment Agreement took place.  Apparently, there was an accounting error in 2014 which was caught by the CPA who reviewed the TPOA books, where $26,000 was not transferred into the TPOA operating fund from TPOA assessments received from the villas.  The TPOA board and the Villas board have agreed to accept $8100.00 in repayment of the monies due which was unanimously approved as well.  If I understood the discussion correctly, there was currently $9100.00 on the books to be repaid (not sure I have that note correct but it’s what I jotted down!).

SAWS representatives were in attendance for the meeting and held a discussion about rate structures, water usage, how to detect leaks, the fact that our area had seen  33% increase in usage mostly due to new construction and irrigation systems, and other things which might impact your bill in response to the overwhelming displeasure over the much higher than usual August-September water usage bills recently received.  SAWS will begin installing Smart meters like the CPS Smart Meters in 2020.  There will be a pilot program to initiate the installation and once the kinks are worked out on that program it will be system wide and is expected to take 4-5 years to complete.

At one point an audience member suggested that SAWS allow questions from the audience rather than continuing to discuss rate structures, etc. and a question and answer session was opened.  The board noted the necessity to move the meeting along and asked for SAWS to continue discussion following the meeting for anyone interested.  SAWS held a raffle and awarded the winning audience member with a flow meter valued at $199.00!  This gadget tests for leaks and helps isolate water usage and is available for purchase.  SAWS provides a $150.00 rebate on your water bill for installing it.

The next item on the agenda was meet the candidates.  Two candidates –Abbey Lehner and Edward Romero were absent from this process.

The remaining candidates Nette Werling, Jim Burdine, David Barkalow, Cindy Griffin, Joe Alvarez and Warren Mutz were each given 3-minutes to present an overview of experience and their potential goals if elected.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  THERE WILL BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ANY AND ALL PROPERTY OWNERS IN TIMBERWOOD PARK TO MEET AND QUESTION POTENTIAL CANDIDATES ON OCTOBER 22, 2019 AT THE PAVILLION 7 PM.  PAUL RUTKOWSKI, CURRENT BOARD TREASURER WILL BE THE MODERATOR FOR THIS EVENT AND ALL CANDIDATES HAVE BEEN INVITED TO ATTEND.  PLEASE COME MEET THOSE CANDIDATES YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW, LEARN MORE ABOUT THEIR CANDIDACY, ASK QUESTIONS AND ENJOY LIGHT REFRESHMENTS WITH THE CANDIDATES!

The board made comment following that announcement that this was not a “board sanctioned” event but rather sponsored by Jim Burdine, one of the candidates running for office.  My question—why isn’t a Candidate Forum a “board sanctioned” event?  It would seem to be a good opportunity for property owners to meet candidates and learn more about them.  There aren’t many opportunities for that to occur from the time candidates announce their intention to run for election.

Old Business included a clubhouse project update.  Note was made of a picture which had surfaced on NextDoor citing potential mold issues which had been addressed with the contractor but also noted that the trusses involved were not moldy but rather weather discolored much like cedar board become when exposed to the air and environment.  Next steps in the build process include the roof being installed and then HVAC and Electric will follow. 

Reserve Projects Updates – Capital Improvement Bids & Votes

Board President, Karen O’Neill reported that the current balance of $255,000 in the reserve account was accomplished by saving consistently each year for the last 8 years.  Because there was a substantial balance and we need to repair and improve some of our assets, the following improvements were approved from the reserve account:

  1. Pool chairs and tables were approved last meeting for about $20,000.00
  2. Pool decking repair and resurface was approved for $27,775.00

An audience question followed this approval whether the pool fees cover the operational costs or not and the board answered that this repair was coming from the reserve account rather than operational costs, which fees generally cover (this would be life guards, pool service, supplies, maintenance, etc.).  Pool fees are approximately 10% of the budget according to board discussion.

  • Pathway bids have been underway for a while now with difficulty finding contractors willing to take the job on.  After 3 bids, one was selected for the fee of $44,400 and it was agreed that the project would be split in two with the first half being approved for $22,200 which will take it from the parking lot back to the last bridge area at this time. Pathway will be taken up completely with new being installed in its place.  Second half will be scheduled following.
  • Caretaker home roof needs to be replaced and was approved for replacement at $6595.00 as a shingle roof matching the clubhouse as closely as possible.
  • Splash pad repair was previously approved as well but I don’t have the figure for that project (I seem to recall it was somewhere around $60k but I didn’t catch the figure this time at the meeting).

These approvals bring our reserve account down to an approximate $95,000 according to the board (I think I’m missing something I didn’t jot down here that was additionally approved which makes the balance drop to that amount). The board stated it plans to add $38,000 into the reserves by year’s end.  Paul Rutkowski mentioned the need for a new reserve study to ensure we were funding the account properly going forward.

Lighting around the park was discussed but it is a new capital project and cannot be funded under the reserve account since it is not currently an existing asset.  Bids are currently running around $75k for that project and an audience member suggested that while the pathway was being dug up a trench was also provided for future electrical and other which might be needed for the lighting project once it is approved.

Halloween around the park was discussed.  See your flyers for about that event.

New Board Election Voting process was briefly discussed citing that since Lifetime Management will be officially fully on board by November 30, they will be managing this year’s electoral process.  They can manage the voting on-line to improve some of our past processes.  More on that coming soon.

Craig Johnson donated a bench to the 5th hole of the golf course in memory of his father.  He is also interested in establishing a golf course committee to begin caring for the course in a more consistent manner.

Brush drop off for property owners only will be November 23rd in the park.  Times appear to be set 8 am to 12 pm.  More on that soon as well.

Bulk drop off will be for Tiger Waste customers only and will be door to door on December 7th.  Please be sure to follow the instructions provided by Tiger or your bulk waste will not be picked up!

The annual meeting will be held at Piper Middle School on Borgfeld Drive December 17th at 7 pm.  Please be sure to attend and vote!!!

REMINDER TO ATTEND HOA MEETING, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15TH!

Just a quick reminder for all property owners to attend the HOA meeting October 15th at the Timberwood Park Elementary School 26715 S Glenrose Drive. Meeting begins at 7 pm. This is your opportunity to meet all the candidates for a brief introduction. Last year, each candidate was given about 2 minutes to speak before the audience in attendance so I am guessing it will be similarly handled this year. Please come meet the candidates!

ALSO SAVE THE DATE: CANDIDATE FORUM Q&A October 22 at 7 pm located in the pavilion in the park. Our moderator will be current HOA Treasurer, Paul Rutkowski. There will be light snacks and beverages and all candidates have been invited to attend an opportunity to visit with property owners about their platforms as well as answer audience questions. Everyone interested please attend!