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 or leave a comment on the blog and I’ll respond there!


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!


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.


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!!!


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!


As most of you who read this blog with any regularity know, I have over the years provided facts, details and information which among other things involve problem areas in our association management.  Along with the facts and information provided, you the reader have always been given the opportunity to make your own informed decision whether you felt the management was adequate, above average, superior, or failed our neighborhood.  As a result of this reporting, I was not in sync with the board in it’s steadfast support of Spectrum Property Management over the years.

One of our current POA board members, Paul Rutkowski, approached me and asked me if I would be interested in being a part of the solution and not just present issues as I have on the blog in the past and I said yes.  The task was to sit on a committee he would chair along with Jim Burdine to review association management companies in hopes that eventually presenting our findings to the board would be a catalyst for discussion and possibly changing management companies. 

Our task was complex and included many different moving parts.  Part of the process included reviewing as many management companies we could and then start narrowing down those we felt could possibly handle a neighborhood the size and stature of Timberwood Park.  Jim and I actively sought initial proposals from POA management companies who might be interested in pursuing a contract with Timberwood Park and vetted those candidates we felt were potentials as well as weed out those we felt were either not capable or were not a good fit with our neighborhood.  We spent several months vetting 12+ companies with phone calls, meetings in person, and eventually subsequent group meetings for which Paul was present, where we whittled down the general group to a set of finalists to present to the board for review.

As the process continued we held group meetings where we challenged each company with a series of questions and concerns for them to provide answers back to get a better feel for responses and handling our neighborhood.  At the end of that process we came up with 4 finalists who were given an opportunity to meet once more with our committee and then we narrowed the finalists to 3. At this time, the full board then reviewed the finalists in session. Once again on-site demonstrations were set up for each of the finalists by the committee to provide live operational capabilities as they applied to Timberwood Park.

Today, a new page has been turned for Timberwood Park.  I am delighted to post that the hard work put in by the committee has paid off and the board this week signed a new contract with Lifetime Management. They will become our new management company!

Working on behalf of the property owners of Timberwood Park to become part of the solution, Jim and I are excited about this new chapter and look forward to the new opportunity Lifetime appears to offer property owners with fully integrated systems allowing you access to almost everything at your fingertips.  The technology this firm possesses which allows property owners to be much more involved on an individual basis, find information at their fingertips, and be proactive in the management of their property when it comes to ACC improvement requests, etc. is far and above anything we have ever had in the past. We are encouraged that this company will bring a new level of customer service and involvement with property owners and the board and as a result bring us better management. Best of all, their costs to manage were lower than our current management company so it is hoped we will be saving operating dollars as well!

Paul Rutkowski has endorsed both Jim Burdine and myself in the upcoming HOA election and I thank him for that vote of confidence and endorsement.

We, both myself (Cindy Griffin) and Jim Burdine hear the property owners of Timberwood Park and both of us are looking forward to the opportunity to serve the community in a board position.  We have been able to actively and successfully approach positive change in the community without being on the board at this time…think what we might be able to accomplish as new board members!