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Letter From the President of HOA

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Letter From the President of HOA

Post by Metina on Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:20 pm

I feel like I have to address this since my actions are attacked in this letter.

1. This summer I contacted every member of the board and the Community Manager volunteering to run a forum on the locusthillcommunity.org website FREE of charge because I was told that they needed someone to moderate it. I got absolutely no response.

2. I paid the fees for the flyers that went out as well as the domain name for this forum. I did not use community funds to express my opinions as this letter clearly has. Your dues have been used to buy the paper, envelops, printing, postage and mailing fees for this letter. (over $200 in postage alone) Are you happy about this misuse of funds? I am not. Did our president get the other board members’ approval before spending said funds to express her personal opinion?

3. I don't need the board’s approval to run this forum for my community, but if anyone had bothered to respond to my willingness to volunteer for this project, maybe things would have been done differently.

4. Does anyone wonder how much police presence $3600 will even get us for a year? At $20 per hour, that is less than 3.5 hours a week. I agree a police presence would be good, but why waste almost $4,000 on only 3.5 hours a week? Reckless driving is defined as 20 mph over the speed limit. I agree people are speeding, but I don't think people are really going 45 mph in the community.

5. Don't you feel like you deserve to know how much in dues we can expect to gain by aggressively collecting pass due assessments through the lawyer as opposed to getting all of the dues owed once the house is sold. How many are they pursuing? How much is at stake here?

At the end of the day, you have to decide if you want to vote yes or no for the budget. Yes the dues weren’t increased, but is there really any reason why our dues cannot go down?

I think we should also demand to know how much of the community manager's time was spent on this letter instead of addressing community issues and now much community funds were spent on this mailing.

Hope to see you all at the meeting on Monday!

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by SPEAKINGWINDS on Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:52 pm

Right on Medina!

I found Ms. Barrett-Ballinger's statement that no approval was sought for this website and that it is not affiliated with the community to be comical.

Is she implying that she wants to limit our constitutional right to free speech. Apparently, the title of President is going to her head!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Believe me, change is coming-elections in May-to borrow a phrase "YES WE CAN" Shake up coming with new blood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by rad6216 on Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:51 pm

Putting flyers on every mailbox in the community warrants some kind of response.

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by Mrs. Secretary on Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:20 am

rad6216....

Yes, it does warrant a response. In fact, the Board President should have included in her mailing that all of the "solicitors" (ie/Driveway Sealing companies, Maid services, painters, landscaping companies, etc) that put advertisements on your mailbox, should also be ignored, right? So, if Mrs. Prez wants to go after a homeowner that has simply voiced their concern over the proposed budget and direction towards their new forum-then Mrs. Prez should also get on the phone and call all of the solicitors and express her disapproval of utilizing our community mailboxes for their personal financial gain (since we do have "no solicitation" signs posted on our property). And while she is at it, she should have our paid community manager make the phone calls to said companies, using her paid-for-by-the-homeowners telephone service, right?

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by angigarcia498 on Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:07 am

Just an fyi, I sent the following via email to the President because some of the issues Metina brough up I was wondering myself and I figure that as a homeowner AND one who pays their dues on time I deserved to know. Once you read it, let me know your thoughts.



Ms. Ballinger,

Thank you for your letter answering some of the questions that had been raised by the flier distributed throughout the neighborhood. I felt it was very helpful as a start however after reviewing the budget I do have some additional questions that I hope you can answer before Monday's budget vote.

1) In the letter you wrote that the increase in the budgeted expense for legal fees was because there are "a number of legal issues that need representation and counsel in the upcoming year." with specific reference to aggressive collection of pas due assessments. Can you expand on what other issues are expected??

2) If there is going to be aggressive collection of past due assessments wouldn't that be reflected as an increase in the General Assessment revenue?? It looks like what is proposed is the same as last year.

3) How much is owed to the association in past dues and how many years back does this go?

4) In looking at the interest income it appears that $3,500 was approved in last years budget but that what is projected for FY09 is less than 1/4 of the budgeted amount yet the FY10 budget has been increased by $1,300.

In reading the description of Interest Income, this makes no sense because I can tell you that interest rates on checking and savings accounts have dropped over the last year and are not likely to rise in the upcoming year so how is the number presented in the budget justified??

5) I have the same question in reverse for the Miscellaneous Expense line item. How if $1,350 was approved for FY09 and the projected expenditure is over 3x's what was budgeted, why is the FY10 proposed amount LESS than the FY09 approved amount?? Were there extraordinary items that contributed to excess?? If so, what were those expenses??

I have one additional question which has nothing to do with the budget but rather with the front entrance at Oakmont. The re-work of the monuments are beautiful but I was wondering if that was it or is the Locust Hill name going to be added so that people know (ie., visitors to the community) will know where to turn?? Also, are there plans to add lighting in the form of say spotlights??

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by rad6216 on Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:41 am

I think its slightly disingenuous to portray the flyer that was distributed as simply being "a homeowner voicing their concerns".

Regardless, I look forward to the members of this forum taking an active role in community governance because you obviously have an expertise and enthusiasm that is lacking.

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by Metina on Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:26 pm

Rad,

You are mistaken. Our efforts are totally sincere. But everyone is allowed their opinions.

I just want people to get involved and be informed. If the majority of this community thinks that the budget is fine and that the board is doing a good job, then the votes will speak.

But either way, this will not stop our efforts to raise community awareness.

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by Metina on Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:29 pm

Angi,

Please let us know if you get a response.

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by angigarcia498 on Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:40 pm

I have to admit that I am one of those people that has NEVER attended a HOA meeting and to be honest I don't really get involved in the community but I do feel that as dues paying homeowner I deserve to ask questions of the Board to better understand what my dues is being spent on and why - not just in general but specifics.

I think this forum is a good idea and I don't think it was started to cause controversy or for negative purposes but rather so that the people of the neighborhood could throw out ideas, opinions, suggestions, etc.. Look, at the end of the day, we ALL have to live in this community and I think we can ALL agree that we want Locust Hill to be the best it can be.

I would ask that all posters/residents who participate on this forum and just in general do the following: be open to new ideas, listen to what someone else is saying/posting even if you don't agree with it and perhaps gnaw on it for a while before coming back with a "witty or "snarky" response. You might surprise yourself by being able to look at the other persons position and understanding it better.

Just my two cents for what it is worth . . . .

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by angigarcia498 on Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:05 pm

I have to admit that I am one of those people that has NEVER attended a HOA meeting and to be honest I don't really get involved in the community but I do feel that as dues paying homeowner I deserve to ask questions of the Board to better understand what my dues is being spent on and why - not just in general but specifics.

I think this forum is a good idea and I don't think it was started to cause controversy or for negative purposes but rather so that the people of the neighborhood could throw out ideas, opinions, suggestions, etc.. Look, at the end of the day, we ALL have to live in this community and I think we can ALL agree that we want Locust Hill to be the best it can be.

I would ask that all posters/residents who participate on this forum and just in general do the following: be open to new ideas, listen to what someone else is saying/posting even if you don't agree with it and perhaps gnaw on it for a while before coming back with a "witty or "snarky" response. You might surprise yourself by being able to look at the other persons position and understanding it better.

Just my two cents for what it is worth . . . .

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by angigarcia498 on Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:06 pm

I have to admit that I am one of those people that has NEVER attended a HOA meeting and to be honest I don't really get involved in the community but I do feel that as dues paying homeowner I deserve to ask questions of the Board to better understand what my dues is being spent on and why - not just in general but specifics.

I think this forum is a good idea and I don't think it was started to cause controversy or for negative purposes but rather so that the people of the neighborhood could throw out ideas, opinions, suggestions, etc.. Look, at the end of the day, we ALL have to live in this community and I think we can ALL agree that we want Locust Hill to be the best it can be.

I would ask that all posters/residents who participate on this forum and just in general do the following: be open to new ideas, listen to what someone else is saying/posting even if you don't agree with it and perhaps gnaw on it for a while before coming back with a "witty or "snarky" response. You might surprise yourself by being able to look at the other persons position and understanding it better.

Just my two cents for what it is worth . . . .

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by angigarcia498 on Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:08 pm

Sorry, I didn't mean for my prior message to post 3 times . . . I'm still trying to figure out this newfangled contraption called the computer and internet geek

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by Metina on Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:18 pm

Angi,

I hear you. The budget meeting will be my first HOA meeting EVER as well. But this is how concerned I am.

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by gloriat on Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:47 pm

Can someone please advise if the letter I received in the mail today from Carolyn, the president I guess, was paid for by the board. I find it very unprofessional for the board to send out a letter at cost of the home owners association to get us to vote on the budget. I figure it is to challenge the other paper we got on the mailbox but still think it is a very very unprofessional thing to do. I'm fairly new to this neighborhood and hope that the board really doesn't run this way. All I can say is that if this is how the board runs then I will vote NO NO NO to not only this budget but to whatever else comes my way.

Dear RAD6216: When did it become illegal to put something ON a mailbox. I believe it is only IN the mailbox. Why doesn't the board watch for more prevelant things like illegal parking and boats and trailers and lights that are out and now what has been brought to my attention, unworkable fire hydrants. COME ON. ARE YOU A BOARD MEMBER?

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by Tim on Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:31 pm

After having a day and a half to read the letter and formulate what I think, I have decided to finally put something on the forum. I want to apologize that it took a flyer by me (Tim Bongiovanni) to get the board to communicate with the homeowners as to what the adjustments are with the budget. Every year this kind of letter should accompany the budget to the homeowners so that they can understand any increase or decrease in a line item. It will also shorten the time a budget meeting is held for. However, this time it should be a long meeting because of a lot of questions. These letter by the president cost the homeowners anywhere between $300 and $500 dollars to mail out. My flyer cost $20 (in ink and paper) and no labor costs. Also this response was about $0.03 because the forum (that my wife and I paid for) was only $25.00 for the year.

In the board president's:

Police presence: She mentions nothing as to what it will do for us. Her last sentence state "Officers identifying reckless driving in the community would be able to ticket offenders." OK so what does that mean, that for $3600 we will hopefully 1 ticket a year for an offender. Reckless driving is not clearly defined. The law is rather vague. Most cases it is 20MPH over the speed limit. I know that drivers go more then 25MPH however, 45MPH and over I don't think I have ever seen anyone go that fast. There are other reckless driving offenses however, in this community it would be hard to do. So again we are paying for something that is not worth it.

Community Manager: She mentions that under the contract the community manager gets 1% ($500) per year. However the budget states she will get $1000. So I guess that is a 2% raise. Why is she not stating that it is a 2% raise this year? I would like to see the office supplies receipts. Under normal business situations, the person usually buys the supplies and submits a receipt to the treasurer and gets reimburse. Is that not the case in this situation? What happens if the supplies are only $450 per year, does the rest get pocketed?

Legal Issues: Is $10000 worth getting the dues paid. Most of these houses have liens on them so that when they sell the HOA will get their money. If these dues are collected will our dues go down? They should because this is a primary reason why our dues go up.

Road Reserve: If we are able to just pick and choose as to how much we can put in the road reserve then our dues should NEVER go up. This should not be treated like a bank account. The study was done years ago and it was recommended as to how much should be placed in the reserve each year so that our roads are covered. If we keep adjusting the amount each year will we have enough years down the road to cover any expenses that may be needed, or will we have to increase our dues twice as much to cover it.

Community pool: This was asked because of the survey that went out several months ago. Why put a survey out if you were not going to look into it. As for the response the last meeting on Oct 13 nothing, I mean nothing was said about meeting with the county in regards to a pool. There should be no funds allocated unless there is a plan in place, so I do agree with that statement.

The budget is one of the most important decisions homeowners have to make (the other one is the elections) and we have every right to know how our money is being spent.

This is not an extension of the community website however, it is important to be able to communicate with other homeowners. This is the best way to do it because as a mostly commuting community it is difficult to get to meetings and to anyone outside their immediate neighbors.

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Are you a board member

Post by rad6216 on Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:46 pm

gloriat wrote:Can someone please advise if the letter I received in the mail today from Carolyn, the president I guess, was paid for by the board. I find it very unprofessional for the board to send out a letter at cost of the home owners association to get us to vote on the budget. I figure it is to challenge the other paper we got on the mailbox but still think it is a very very unprofessional thing to do. I'm fairly new to this neighborhood and hope that the board really doesn't run this way. All I can say is that if this is how the board runs then I will vote NO NO NO to not only this budget but to whatever else comes my way.

Dear RAD6216: When did it become illegal to put something ON a mailbox. I believe it is only IN the mailbox. Why doesn't the board watch for more prevelant things like illegal parking and boats and trailers and lights that are out and now what has been brought to my attention, unworkable fire hydrants. COME ON. ARE YOU A BOARD MEMBER?

Well, as to when did it become illegal to put something on a mailbox, you can excuse yourself for that one. No need for my comment.

Secondly, and far more importantly, the board consists of five people entrusted to handle the affairs of the community. The "Board" is not like the Wizard of Oz, all seeing and all knowing. It's not for the board to "watch for more prevAlent things"; that's our job.
Many of the comments I see on this forum are made out of ignorance, and I don't mean that as a perjorative. Too many take the attitude of "if I don't know, or understand, I'll assume the worst". To cajole people into voting against a budget that was worked on in a public forum and explained to those in attendance, because you can't understand why this item is here or that item is there is
unwarranted, unfair, and unfortunate. Unfortunate because it simply results in an unneccesary replication of work that was already undertaken in good faith.

As to the question of whether I am a board member, the answer is no. But unlike yourself, I have attended many board meetings, so I actually have some idea about what they do, and what the actual issues they face are. And I'll bet you a dollar to a donut, that once you've actually attended a few meetings, and understand how seemingly trivial issues can end up requiring committed effort, and diligence, you'll have a different opinion of the people you appear to be so contemptuous about.

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by Tim on Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:17 am

For those of you that don't know what perjorative (which is spelled wrong by rad6216, it is actually spelled pejorative) is, it means offensive. I know that I don't walk around with a dictionary or thesaurus.

Can you please tell me why you think it is unfair that as homeowners that foot the bill for this budget, we don't have a right to ask how our money is being spent? If you feel that strongly about it then maybe you should put forward a suggestion to the board that they send out a proxy to the homeowners to vote changing the declaration to allow only the board to ratify the budget and the homeowners have nothing to do with it.


As always I sign my name because I am not afraid to identify myself.

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by Metina on Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:54 am

For anyone who is interested, this letter cost the community over $400 to mail out. It should also be pointed out that the president could have logged onto this forum and posted her rebuttal for free. It should also be pointed out that this letter was sent without the entire board’s knowledge or approval.

Another thing to mention is that although there are numerous items throughout the year put on our doors and mailboxes, the board has chosen just now to take action against the flyer that I put on the mailboxes informing residents of some questionable items on the budget. 17 years of Locust Hill being in existence and the one flyer that is "against" the board, action is taken. WOW! I feel so famous or infamous to warrant such action.

They said that the "unit owner in question," (ME) will receive a letter and put on some "List" for mail fraud. I'll be sure and post it on here IF I get it.

Please be sure to let you community manager know of any other items you get so that they can report these folks as well.

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by gloriat on Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:47 am

Dear RAD6216

I have done my research and you are correct. You cannot put any information on or in a mailbox. I appologize for my previous statement.

I can guarantee that I will not only be at the next board meeting, but will speak my mind there.

Thank you for the information that you provided on the mailbox issue. I wonder one thing though, why did the board decided to report the homeowner when they have never made any reports on any of the companies that have left flyers. One company, a driveway paving company, has left them numerous times. I think twice a year they leave them. I heard that the property manager supposedly contacted them but then why if they continue to leave them aren't they reported? I know you don't have the answer since your not on the board but I will ask it to teh property manager.

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by Metina on Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:04 am

It just amazes me with the hydrant, culvert, budget, road issues etc...that this community has to deal with that the BOARD decided to dedicate so much time and effort for one flyer. Priorities I guess.

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by rad6216 on Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:48 pm

Tim wrote:For those of you that don't know what perjorative (which is spelled wrong by rad6216, it is actually spelled pejorative) is, it means offensive. I know that I don't walk around with a dictionary or thesaurus.

Can you please tell me why you think it is unfair that as homeowners that foot the bill for this budget, we don't have a right to ask how our money is being spent? If you feel that strongly about it then maybe you should put forward a suggestion to the board that they send out a proxy to the homeowners to vote changing the declaration to allow only the board to ratify the budget and the homeowners have nothing to do with it.


As always I sign my name because I am not afraid to identify myself.

Tim Bongiovanni

Awkwardly put, but I stand corrected on the spelling of the word PEJORATIVE. And despite my gaffe, I proudly affirm that I have never used spell check in my life.

Now, I have no objection to anyone holding our neighbors (the board) responsible for how they spend our (and their)money.
I definitely have an objection to you impugning their integrity by asking "Don't we deserve an explanation for (as to?) why our money is being spent so carelessly". That's pretty accusatory, especially when you seem to attribute decisions to whim instead of reason, contrary to the truth of the matter.

As to the President responding to the flyer, I can't say it was right or wrong, but you communicated directly with almost every member of the community through the flyer. You in effect lobbied homeowners who have very little exposure to the HOA or the affairs of the community to vote down a budget on trivial concerns, which were addressed by said letter.
As to the cost of the letter, if you were successful in having the budget voted down, another mailing of the new proposed budget would have cost the community at least as much as the $400.00 dollar mailing, and the time for another budget meeting.

As to changing the declaration so the homeowners have a proxy on the formulation of the budget, with approximately 50-60 people in the room voting, there were 86 total votes (I believe) on the budget. So if everyone who voted, (and they were prompted by mail three times) the budget would still be formulated by less than 20% of the community, and the majority of those folks would have absolutely no idea what they were voting on anyway. The process is correct. If you don't like the result it's the people implementing the process that have to change.

And lastly, I don't need to identify myself.
Those who know me, recognize me.
For those who don't know me, at some point they
will meet me, and it will be obvious.

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by rad6216 on Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:02 am

Metina wrote:It just amazes me with the hydrant, culvert, budget, road issues etc...that this community has to deal with that the BOARD decided to dedicate so much time and effort for one flyer. Priorities I guess.

In fairness, regarding the board dealing with the flyer, the vp stated that there were several complaints regarding the flyer, which was the reason the matter was dealt with. Contrary to the general mood on this forum, there were numerous people in the community who were annoyed or offended by the flyer. You can count me as one of those people( annoyed, not offended).

In all honesty, it wasn't the use of the mailbox that prompted the response, it was the content of the flyer. And that does bring into question the application of the rules, but that's the way of the world.

No solicitation should be tolerated, but be honest, which has more potential to provoke that response; a flyer for driveway sealing, that hundreds of homeowners respond to affirmatively, or a partisan attack ad?

Lastly, how bad can postal prison be? What'll they make you do, lick stamps all day? Crying or Very sad

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by Metina on Sat Nov 21, 2009 2:28 pm

I guess your are right Ray6216 in many of your statements, but it is just the continued actions of the board that resist community involvement that concern me, to refuse to hold the community manager to her statement of work even though she is being paid almost $50,000 to work from home, and that they are only seeking to "report" flyers that go against them in general.

I am not worried about postal prison myself. We have received no letter and I frankly don't expect one. I find it hard to believe that a federal institution would just take the word of one person calling in to report a flyer on their word if they didn't witness it themself.

We have no plans to discontinue our efforts, even though I have been threatened by a member of the board with libel and was told that "I was in his cross hairs." I shall not be intimidated.

And lastly, I think that the board's actions speak VOLUMES when they motioned to pass the budget without discussion. They felt no one needed an explaination for anything. So I don't think their integrity was impugned with MY flyer, they impugned themselves with the motion.

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by rad6216 on Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:41 pm

Metina,
Let's be fair. With regards to the vote without discussion, you were there, it was debated, and according to the bylaws, there shouldn't have been a discussion. Portraying that action as somehow out of order is wrong. The vote proceeded as it should.
As to resisting community involvement, you're simply incorrect. At present, on our community website, there are several posts out for community volunteers. There is never an abundance of volunteers for elected positions on the board. And several initiatives have gone by the wayside for lack of community involvement.
I would presume that ANY community involvement that is worth undertaking would be seriously welcomed. Considering the fact that there are at least four homeowners who run landscaping related businesses, and there are many people out and about on a Sunday afternoon, I think it's somewhat sad that the only people who consistently volunteer to monitor the yard waste program are our Board President and her husband, who are by many years most of our elders.
As to the community managers work ethic, I don't interact with her enough to know whether she lives up to her statement of work or not. My only interaction with her is occasionally online and in meetings, and she has always been prompt in her communications with me, and she always seems extremely knowledgeable on issues being discussed during board meetings. So I don't think she's sitting home relaxing and collecting a paycheck. And as to her salary, I've always made it a policy not to count anyone else's money.
I was actually on the board at the time the decision was made to terminate the property management firm that was handling the communities affairs at the time, and I can tell you for a fact that the service the community has received from Ms. Hockensmith has been far better than what was received by two corporate property management firms, and with a price tag which to my recollection is significantly less thanwhat was allocated previously. I'm thinking by maybe half.
Ask your husband about the previous property management firm. I recall being in a board meeting at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and a representative from the firm was seated at the back of the audience and your husband spent a good part of the meeting in a highly agitated state, berating the woman. There was no arbitrary decision to hire her. It was debated and discussed, and at the time she commenced her service with the LHUOA, we were her only responsibility. I don't know if at present she manages more than one community, but at the time I know we were her priority. Which was the point in the first place.
Lastly, the comment regarding "postal prison" was meant to be facetious. I even tried to attach a smiley face. I don't think the USPS actually maintains a prison, although it might be a great way to stamp out crime.

rad6216

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

Post by rad6216 on Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:48 pm

Oh, and by the way, if I was truly trying to hide my identity, I wouldn't make my screen name my initials. So if the misspelling was meant to "out" me, I'm sure that ship has sailed.

Sincerely,
Ray Downes
P.S. 181 Spelling Bee Champ
1977

rad6216

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Re: Letter From the President of HOA

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