MEET THE CANDIDATES OFFERED AT THE CLUBHOUSE!

One of our HOA candidates has made the effort to put together an opportunity for property owners to “Meet-the-Candidates” at the Timberwood Park Clubhouse!  Please mark your calendars and plan to attend to learn more about the candidates running for office for your HOA!

From Paul Rutkowski, Candidate for the Board:

Hi Everyone,

You are cordially invited to participate in a “Meet-the-Candidates” meeting/forum at the TWP Clubhouse on Tues. Oct. 30th starting at 7 PM. I have reserved the clubhouse and the overall plan for the evening is to allow each candidate 12-15 minutes to present our platforms and answer questions from the HOA members.  The idea is to provide an opportunity for HOA members to be better informed about who we are as well as learn our positions, thus providing an opportunity to make better decisions on whom they want to vote for. There are nine candidates and my hope is that each candidate will be able to attend! And of course, we all want YOU to attend as the property owners casting votes!!!

In an effort to allow the process to be random and objective, I suggest that we candidates draw names from a hat to see who presents, 1st, 2nd, etc.. I hope you all can make time in your schedules to participate.

Also, I am working on a 2nd “Meet-the-Candidates meeting in Nov. to allow more residents to get to know us all, but at this time it appears the clubhouse may be in the process of being torn down so I am seeking other possible locations and dates available to send out to the neighborhood once they are secured.  I’m looking at Timberwood Elementary as a potential site to keep the meeting in our neighborhood for easy access to all. I’ll work thru Jacob Fey at Spectrum to communicate that info  to you or you may send me your e-mail address.  I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks,

Paul Rutkowski

A fellow TWP HOA Board candidate

210-827-0299

paul.rski68@gmail.com

 

THIS IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR CANDIDATES!!!  PLAN TIME IN YOUR SCHEDULES TO ATTEND THIS CASUAL OPPORTUNITY TO MEET THE CANDIDATES!!!

CORRECTIONS TO CANDIDATES NAMES!

I stated in the last blog the names of the candidates running for a position with the HOA board.  While I apologized in advance for any errors made with names and their correct spelling, I wanted to correct the names I had incorrect last time.  Here are the candidates one more time:

David Kanter

Paul Rutkowski

Abbey Lehner

Don Hays

Alethea Arnold

Chris Martinez

Linda Killman

Shawna Klein

 

CANDIDATE FORUM OPPORTUNITY:  The opportunity exists for the current board to provide a candidate forum where any and all candidates could attend and allow property owners the opportunity to ask questions about them, learn more about them and get to know those candidates they may not know already.  If the board sets it up there won’t be a charge to use the facilities.  And, one of the candidates, Paul Rutkowski, has indicated he would be willing to organize and set up the opportunities.

Can we get a green light from the board to use the park without having to pay a rental fee, etc. and make it happen?

The Clubhouse and/or pavilion could be used, 2 -3 opportunities could be set up on differing days of the week and differing time slots to allow as many interested Timberwood Park Property owners to be able to meet the candidates and here more about them.  Further, property owners would have an opportunity to ask questions of any candidate they wished and get answers to learn more about the candidate positions for what matters to the property owner.

In this upcoming election, property owners will be replacing up to three incumbents if Mr. Martinez is unsuccessful in his bid for re-election, and otherwise 2 new members will be joining the board.  This is an important election and meeting the candidates allows for assisting in making informed voting decisions.

Let’s get these forums set up sooner rather than later…especially since proxies and the other absentee ballot methods to cast your vote will be underway in the near future.  Remember, your vote matters!!

 

 

ALL THINGS TIMBERWOOD….

Did you know the building going up across from Timberwood Elementary off Glenrose will be a 16 unit assisted living facility?  The fire Marshall contacted the neighborhood to remind us all that we need to seek permits to meet county standards for fire, etc. when building.  While this is not technically in the Timberwood Park “proper” development, it does skirt our development much like the developments/homes which surround our development.

Did you know the building site for the new fire station is well underway on Canyon Golf?  If you travel that way on a regular basis you have probably noticed the construction work at the site which is between the Overlook Parkway intersection and the Wilderness Oaks intersection on Canyon Golf.  We’ll have a new state of the art facility right outside the back door of Timberwood to enhance our volunteer firefighters already located on Borgfeld Road.

In HOA news:

The October board meeting was scheduled once again to be the same night as National night Out is in our neighborhood.  Because of that, the board meeting was moved to an earlier start time which was confusing for some of our regular attendees who thought the meeting time was same as always.  This meeting is important to the neighborhood, especially since we only hold every other month meetings.  It’s the meeting where candidates introduce themselves to the audience and talk about their interest in running for a position on the board and serving our community.

I’ve often wondered why the October meeting couldn’t be scheduled for a different night and time so as not to conflict with National Night Out, especially since it is the ONLY opportunity for candidates to introduce themselves to the neighborhood prior to the election held in December.  Barring attending the remaining neighborhood activities and events up to election time, there isn’t any other face time scheduled for candidates to answer community questions and concerns and learn more about them.

Finally, this year the board indicated they would no longer hold the meeting the same night as National Night Out beginning next year.  Whether that holds as the new plan or not remains to be seen since the current President, Greg Matula and Vice President, Scott Myles are not running for re-election.  Greg made the announcement that the change would be made beginning next year.  Hopefully, the board will adopt the decision to hold the meeting on another night to allow better opportunity for neighbors to meet the candidates.

Running for office this year for 2-year positions are the following candidates (and I apologize in advance if I have misspelled your name):

David Kanter

Paul Rutkowski

Linda Gillman

Shawna Klein

Alethea Arnold

Abby Lanier (or Lane was not sure of name)

Chris Martinez (incumbent running for re-election)

Laura Clark (or possibly Clarkson, again was unable to determine her name fully)

Again, I apologize in advance if I got anyone’s name incorrect.  Send me a message and I’ll correct and resend the information to our neighbors.  Once I have the names fully correct I’ll send out updated blog information to ensure you all have the names correct going forward.  There was little documentation provided at the meeting, with the exception of a 3 minutes speech each candidate who was able to attend the meeting gave, and bios provided by Paul Rutkowski and David Kanter, about the candidates.

Wouldn’t it be great if the board set up an opportunity for the neighborhood to be able to stop by and meet and greet the potential candidates between now and election time in December?  It would be a simple matter to use the clubhouse and/or pavilion and schedule a couple of opportunities for the candidates to be available to the neighborhood to meet and ask questions of.  What do you think neighbors?  Would you like to have the ability to meet, speak to, ask questions of and learn more about your candidates?

It’s a difficult process to make a decision on a proxy or absentee ballot when you have no working knowledge of most or all of the candidates.  This should be a part of running for office and allowing candidates an opportunity to be seen and heard by the community!

Let’s see some social media feedback about that potential and see if the board will respond to the request!

This year there is an opportunity to fill two spaces for certain with new members to our Board of Directors and potentially three if voters decide to make term limits a reality and vote all new candidates in to sit on our board.  Diversity of thought is a good thing and new faces will allow for a difference of opinion and hopefully better overall representation in the coming 2-year session each of these candidates chosen will represent us for.  Be sure to cast your vote, it really does matter!

I also find it interesting that the board decides to approve the coming year’s budget (2019) at the October meeting rather than the annual meeting where property owners are supposed to be able to review the financials, see the proposed budget and vote on same.  The annual meeting is typically supposed to be the opportunity for property owners to participate not only in elections, but also in business of the association, like approving the coming year’s budget.

There were line item changes to the budget which are worth note.  We amazingly went from previous year’s budgets reflecting $68,000 in fining income for example to $1,000 proposed for 2019.  Why would that be occurring?  Question was asked, and the answer provided was “we are no longer looking at the fines as income and will be accounting for them differently next year” – Huh?  How does that work and where did those dollars actually go if they are still in the financials?   Just one of several questions asked during the discussion of the treasurer’s report which was presented by Scott Myles due to our treasurer not being able to attend this meeting.  Some of the other items discussed by the board was the fact that Spectrum hadn’t received a raise on their basic contract for 7 years and would be receiving one this coming year, with the board citing they had taken over a lot of the ACC flow of project approvals and builds, as well as other obligations the board has.  A question about how it could only cost $1000.00 to maintain the golf course for the year was answered by a new mower was purchased which allowed for greens mowing and other measures and they had re-seeded it last year, so they didn’t feel it would take much maintenance.  The budget was approved solely by the board, no vote from the members in attendance.

Local Community News published an article which appears in this month’s issue regarding the clubhouse and some of our neighbors concerns regarding the approval process, the voting process, the price tag and more.  The investigative reporter found traffic about our neighborhood and the clubhouse issue by surfing the web on social media and subsequently on the Timberwood Park neighborhood page.  He reached out to me and asked for comment and content for the article which he was writing.  The link can be found here if you are interested in reading the content of the article.

The update on the clubhouse project is summarized as:  board members met with COSA for preliminary project plan review and indicated it was a success, so the contractor is now underway making actual construction drawings and documents to submit for the necessary permitting.  They completed an Asbestos survey and found the old building has none of significance.  Demolition permitting will be submitted in late November with early December approval anticipated.  Construction is expected to begin sometime in mid-December after the annual meeting.  Timberwood Elementary will be the designated meeting place once demolition takes place and until construction is completed.  Construction should begin sometime in early January with the current timeline.  It will be about 9 months construction time.  The loan is being done through Pacific Premier Bank, the same bank that holds the reserve funds.  Loan interest rate is 5.68% according to the board.

Looks like a brush and bulky waste pick-up is in the works for the first week in November.  Karen indicated that she thought Tiger was doing a door-to-door for small brush tied-up bunches and bulky items and also indicated that whether or not you were a Tiger customer they would be stopping.  They are still working on bulky brush but didn’t have specifics for that yet since the county is no longer assisting with that. They will not take paint, tires, etc. and a list of non-accepted items will be posted in the coming weeks.

GERFER’S CEMETERY

This past month I was delighted to see the final steps for the Gerfers’ Cemetery to be recognized formally as a Historical Cemetery in Texas in a dedication ceremony held September 22.  Here is the article link.

The ceremony which officially unveiled the cemetery’s historical marker which is now installed at the site.  After the 5-year process I undertook to see the cemetery be recognized and therefore preserved into the future it was rewarding to see the cemetery acknowledged and the plaque and marker be the final step in the process!

VOTING FOR BOARD MEMBERS

There should be information about the candidates in the October and November issue of the newsletter according to the current board.  Ask for an opportunity to meet the candidates and learn more about them.  Look for candidates at the upcoming neighborhood events like Music in the Park and Halloween around the Lake to learn more about them.  Be an informed voter and cast your vote to elect a new wave of board members who may offer a different perspective and an opportunity for more inclusion of property owners in the process of governing our neighborhood and how your money is spent!

SHUCKS — YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE ON HOW YOUR MONEY IS SPENT UNLESS THE BOARD “DECIDES” A VOTE IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO……

Thanks to the many property owners who have willingly put themselves out there to provide comment, content, suggestions and questions for the board both in favor of and against the current clubhouse vote discussion.  We all know that in-spite of the current board not commenting directly to the public-at-large, they do follow all the content posted from NextDoor, the many Facebook neighborhood pages, and more to gauge what’s on property owner’s minds.

Most elected officials provide direct access to themselves for their constituents to provide comment, compliment and complaint to communicate directly with their constituents.  Not our board.  Spectrum provides all public commentary and if you wish to speak to a board of director, good luck.  As a result, the board has put together a question and answer sheet, sent out by Spectrum yesterday via e-mail.  It is this authors opinion questions and answers should have been part of the original message, mail, etc. sent out to property owners to provide them with a full picture of what is about to be decided in our community with OUR money not as an afterthought as we near completion of the voting opportunities provided.

NOTE:  The first item in the Q&A lists $1.5 million construction ESTIMATE. An estimate is just that, fuzzy numbers.  What is the bottom line?  In the “special meeting” held July 24th, the board clearly stated the project would cost between $1.5 and $1.7 million to build and that DID NOT INCLUDE INTEREST FOR THE LOAN THEY WANT TO TAKE OUT IN OUR NAMES.  Therefore the $2-million-dollar figure is a far more accurate representation of costs associated with this proposed build. It’s nice to know that the ESTIMATED figure does include furnishings, fixtures and equipment (FF&E).

Another question from the Q&A sent out by the board about borrowing to build the clubhouse:

“Why is the board taking out a loan instead of saving the money and paying cash?

o This would take several years, and in that time construction costs would continue to increase as would interest rates, and the total cost would highly likely exceed the current estimate by a very wide margin. “

The Board currently banks with WELLS FARGO — Yep THAT Wells Fargo that has made countless apologies in the news of late for misleading customers, setting customers up fraudulently with accounts and fees they did not sign up for, causing some 400,000 homes to be foreclosed due to an “Error” in how they presented information to the borrowers and so on.  If Wells Fargo is the bank that will be handling our clubhouse loan what assurances do we have that we won’t fall prey to the same tactics?  So, far Wells Fargo has merely apologized to the public and said we’ll do better and we won’t do it again…4th time’s a charm?  

And one more note here, according to board projections provided at the meeting we have an abundance of cash available —why wouldn’t we save the remaining and not borrow if we have so much cash already available to spend on a new clubhouse? Debt vs. cash?

 

Another point from the Q&A board paper sent out via e-mail yesterday:

“According to the TPOA bylaws, a vote isn’t even required, why did it go to a vote?

o While the Board could have proceeded on the project without a vote, based on the size, scope and cost of this project, the Board felt that giving the community the opportunity to vote was the right thing to do.”

Do we live in a democracy or do we live in a form of socialism where the government (board) pats us all on the heads and says don’t worry we’ll take care of you and your money?  We’ll spend it as we see fit.

Did you vote for our board to make large scale decisions without vote and input from you the property owner? Especially one of this size and magnitude?  Voting should be something applauded instead of making it sound like “shucks…we don’t have to let you vote because we can do whatever we want but we are going to LET you vote”! Is this how our elected governing body really thinks stewardship takes place with OUR money?

IMPORTANT NOTE:  The second of two lawsuits against the board has been settled through mediation.  Anyone who has been through mediation (and I have personal experience from participating in the mediation that took place to turn our assessment account over to the property owners of Timberwood Park from the developer) knows that neither party gets everything on their list of demands, but it would be fair to guess the property owner didn’t walk away without some or possibly even most of their demands met. Since I do not know the particulars of the settlement that was reached, with most settlements being confidential, I am providing comment from the position of having been through a non-confidential mediation where you were all provided the results as property owners.  Each side benefits in some way and each side does not totally win.  Therefore, the board also got something out of the settlement — among other things I’m guessing it would be helpful to the board for the case go away and not be a public nuisance anymore, especially since they are trying to get a $2-Million clubhouse approved at the moment.   And, of course it can be said that only $5,000.00 for deductible on the insurance policy was spent as a result.  That sounds like a bargain until you consider this is now 2 lawsuits which have been settled back-to-back and at some point there will be a review by our HOA insurance company to decide whether to continue to insure our HOA, to raise rates, or drop us.

The spin from this settlement by the board will no doubt include “it only cost us our deductible of $5,000.00 from our insurance policy/coverage”.  Is that how we want to treat property owners continually who are at odds with the board?  Go to court, settle and then claim victory because our insurance coverage paid whatever other costs were associated with it? What did it cost our insurance company? $250,000, $500,000 or maybe even $750,000 to settle? If this is the case, chances are high that our annual premiums will increase more than the $3400 per year for the new clubhouse and we may stand an even stronger chance of being dropped by our current carrier.

It took the 1st property owner who sued the board taking their case all the way to the Texas Supreme Court to win it.  Imagine how their legal bills look?  I understand the 1st property owner is still being run back through the lower court by our HOA legal team.  Do you want to have to fight that hard to use and keep your property in the manner to which your deed restrictions allowed you to when you bought your property should the board disagree with you and interpret deed restrictions as they see fit?

Even though “they apparently don’t have to”, if the board were actually ready to take on this HUGE project, they should be more than willing to hold substantial public meetings at varying times, days and places to allow everyone an opportunity to hear the entire project from start to finish, provide feedback, listen to complaints, compliments and anything that their shareholders might want to provide.  This all BEFORE ANY VOTE TAKES PLACE.  Why the rush since this project is one that will live with our neighborhood for years to come if it is approved?  In light of the countless questions, confusion, and utter lack of full disclosure with hard facts and numbers not fuzzy math, why not stall the vote until the board can meet with property owners on a larger scale? It appears we have access to other larger spaces to hold meetings should we need them. Maybe setup committees, not just members who always agree with the board, but with a mix of members from both sides to provide feedback and inclusion for all.

After-all, isn’t this OUR neighborhood/community and not just as the board sees fit?

 

THE CLUBHOUSE CIRCUS CONTINUES………….

One might think since the original launch of the “Clubhouse Vote Yes or No” e-blast following the meeting held on July 24th, 2018 at the clubhouse along with the subsequent fallout from property owners engaging in discussion about the project on various social media sites, the lack of documented preparation by the board, the lack of official community-wide notification, the lack of  actual written financial projections and budgets presented by the board to property owners to provide usable information with which to make an informed decision, and in general looking like there is no documented viable plan (or at least not one which has been shared with the stakeholders of this project) on the table to approve a $2 million dollar clubhouse build the board might consider it important to take some big steps back and rethink what is in the best interest of the community they serve. Big steps back like postponing the project until several benchmarks can be addressed.

Instead, today the property owners of Timberwood Park, at least those who belong to the Spectrum e-mail list for all things Timberwood, received a revised set of numbers, not full financials, with caveats listed at the bottom of the page.  Where is an actual written current financial for Timberwood Park which includes year-to-date revenue and expenditures, annual budgeted revenue and expenditures that has been sent out to every property owner in Timberwood Park as a means for property owners to establish a benchmark for informed decision making?

Do you remember receiving a notice earlier this week suspending voting because ….

Dear Residents:

In reviewing the financial summary related to the proposed new clubhouse so we could answer questions, the TPOA Board discovered an error in the summary that caused the association’s projected gross income to be overstated. This error was the result of including fine income (fines issued for deed restriction violations) in the projections when it is not applicable to TPOA’s budget forecasting. Fine income is not accounted for in TPOA’s annual budgets, but because the association’s books are kept using the accrual accounting method, it is accounted for in income statements whether or not it is collected.

With regard to the summary, the original number presented to the community was $760,000 annually, but that number has been adjusted to $690,000 annually. ”

What was provided as a solution today was a sheet from the power point presented 7-24-18 which has been revised to “correct” the misstatement on income which the board was made aware of by a property owner.  Read that last line again…..the misstatement on income — which the board was made aware of by a property owner…..shouldn’t the board have known what was “real income” versus what was pass through or not included in our operating income? If that was a misstatement, why would you believe the numbers now being floated as accurate?

Shouldn’t we expect the board to have the details of the financials well understood and already correctly calculated thus far this year, especially if they are considering such a large expenditure?  Shouldn’t a board who has done their research, sought 3 bids, researched this project for 2 years, and so on know this inside and out and be able to confidently present any and all detail to ensure property owners are confident their money is in good hands?

Why would anyone now believe — hey problem solved — it was just a miscalculation of income and we are good to go????   Let’s invest $2 million dollars and see what it gets us….after-all it was just a simple mistake. Do you have confidence in this board at this time given what you’ve seen thus far?

The entire process to vote is so confusing, so purposely left without documentation and supporting information to provide to the property owners in order to make an informed decision that EVERY property owner should be wondering why they would trust their money and its management to this board under any circumstances at this point.

Restart the vote? Hmm.  Let’s see….. so if I have voted and I decide to vote again will that cancel my vote because we were told that if we voted more than once that would be the case.  Hmm.  Let’s see…. so if I vote now and my vote before was different, how can I be ensured that the new vote is counted rather than the old vote?  Hmm.  Let’s see…who’s counting these votes, the old votes and the new votes coming forward?  Hmm. Let’s see…who’s the independent oversight to ensure that this is being done fairly and allows ALL property owners the opportunity to vote?

We still have folks who are not on the Spectrum e-blast list.  Do they even have a clue what’s going on? Are we ensuring that EVERY property owner has the same opportunity to provide their informed vote on this matter? Someone mentioned this looked like a circus on social media….I hear the calliope now………..

Neighbors!  You are entitled to better, more documented information and full transparency on this huge project.  It’s time to vote no and put this to rest until every property owner has had the opportunity to be fully informed.