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Budget Issues

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Budget Issues

Post by Tim on Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:26 pm

Wow, I hope this really takes off. We could use this type of forum for information sharing. What does everyone think of the budget? I know I think it is good that we are not having our dues raised this year. Looks like the snow removal stayed the same. I do question why the legal fees are going from $4k to $10k, seems like a big increase. I also see the community manager is getting a raise of $1k. That is interesting???? The big thing is the police presents line item. Looks like they cut the social event to pay for it. I feel very uneasy about it. What does everyone else think?

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Re: Budget Issues

Post by tp7370 on Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:46 pm

I am not in favor of paying the police for a "presence"......they can not take any action anyway. As mentioned in meetings....we need to ask for them to patrol neighborhood periodically for an unpaid presence. I know I mentioned it to a sheriff and they said that they would and put it on their board for all patrol officers to see the request.
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Budget Issues

Post by Dave C. on Wed Nov 04, 2009 7:01 pm

I think that paying for police presence is a waste of money. As stated before, they can only enforce DUI and Reckless Driving. I really don't think that we have that type of driving problem in the community. We very well may have a "speeding" problem, but I really doubt that it meets the criteria of "Reckless Driving" for enforcement. I can see where it could be a "positive" should someone have a crime in progress to report that would require police response. In this case, response time would most likely be reduced, but other than that, I think it is a waste of our dues.

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Community Manager Statement of Work

Post by Tim on Wed Nov 04, 2009 7:17 pm

Does anyone need a copy of the community managers Statement of Work. This could go along way to vote on the budget because the board is proposing a pay raise for her. Let me know.

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Re: Budget Issues

Post by pamat on Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:11 am

I am willing to work with anyone who would like to build a coalition of voters that can put power behind our voice. If we can sway elections they will have to listen to us. I plan on voting no on the budget. There are too many discrepancies at least on the surface of this bill. I think some of the concerns expressed in the forum may be well founded. I usually send in proxy votes for matters concerning the H.O. board meetings. But like most of us I am busy with kids and such and Tuesday evenings never seem to work for me as far as the H.O. meetings are concerned. I received a note on my mailbox and looked at the budget proposal they sent us and my wife and I see possible problems that are not justified on the proposal. My wife works with a multi-millon dollar budget and has some experience with such things and she says she can't justify some of the proposal items and least the way it was presented. I think we should talk to everyone we know around our street and neighborhood to at least take a look and maybe help us vote this thing down or have them justify some of the apparent discrepancies.

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Re: Budget Issues

Post by Tim on Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:44 am

I agree with you. I am on board. I am the one that put the piece of paper on your mailbox this weekend. I walked to all the houses in the community and did it. Any suggestions on how to go forward? I am with you. I will be placing signs at each entrance of the community to vote NO to the budget. As for attending the meetings they actually are on Monday's not Tuesday's but if you commute then it does not matter because it is still a weekday. The next general election is in May and it is for one position.

I tried to put forward a proposal for term limits however, the board shot it down with the legal opinion of the HOA lawyer. I still think there is a way it can be done. We have to have new opinions and people on the board. Some of them have been there for way too long.

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Budget for LHUOA

Post by wlcummings on Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:42 pm

The budget is a way to estimate the cost of doing the Associations business. The numbers are estimates and a way to determine the dues of the next year. Our dues has not changed in a number of years and our reserves are being accumulated for future infrastructure repairs.

Even if the items in question were removed from the budget it would not change the bottom line much. For instance it we took out the $3,600 for police protection it would mean a reduction of $6.79. If you do not want an item in the budget then go to the meetings and suggest something better.

We elect officers from everyone in the community and when they make decisions it is their best effort for the good of the community. No one on the board is going to benefit from those decisions except to make the community better. Do they always make a decision that everyone will agree with - well no that would be utterly imposable.

Quite often when we have an election only one person steps up to run - that's one out of 530 homes. You have an opportunity soon to make a difference - RUN FOR OFFICE.

Bill Cummings 304-886-9075

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Re: Budget Issues

Post by Tim on Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:50 pm

Bill, I want to first thank you for replying to this. It just shows that this forum is not used to show a bias against the board. I hope that other homeowners that support actions by the board either join or post what they want to say. It is all about being open and communication with homeowners.

That being said I would like to reply to your posting. I go to every meeting and I sometimes speak on things and ask questions and sometimes I don't. The way the $3600 for police presense went down was this:

[center]The board was discussing options on the old fashioned topic of speeding. A homeowner talked about wanting a speed bump or hump at the bottom of the hill on Sawgrass because not long ago a car missed the turn and went right thru his front lawn. He was obviously going too fast. That transitioned to police presense. There were 7 homeowners there and 3 of them spoke up and said they did not want to pay for it right away. They wanted to send a letter to the county sheriff and ask them if they will patrol thru the community on occasion. The board took it a step further and said they were going to pay a certain amount for police presense. When the homeowners tried to speak again they were told this was a board meeting and they could not speak on the topic (this was done by the community manager). The board passed this and the homeowners there did not want it. They did not listen to the homeowners that took their time to go to the meeting.

As for running for office I am considering it. I have voted in all the elections since 2005 and for the last 4 years every ballot that I have received for a general election have always had more then one name on it. They are often shot down because certain people say "you can't vote for them or have them on the board because they have never served on the board or they would not know what to do if they were elected".

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Re: Budget Issues

Post by pamat on Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:40 pm

We should not pay anything for a police "presence". We already have at least one police officer living in locust hill. That is considered a "presence". The term is too vague and does not justify one dollar or $6.79. I am not asking for a decrease of my dues, just some common sense. The police already work for us. Why do we have to give them a monetary incentive to do what they are supposed to do? How about fixing the street lights. I know of one that has been off for over a year. How about repairing the huge depressions in some of our side streets?

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Re: Budget Issues

Post by Mrs. Secretary on Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:18 pm

Just to clarify something.....

The police DO NOT have any jurisdiction in our community because we are a "private community". So the police are NOT going to work for us-unless we have felonies/misdemeanors committed in our neighborhood.

As for street lights....I agree wholeheartedly about having them fixed. Do you know who you are supposed to contact if you notice a streetlight that is not functioning properly? Do you know that there is a number on each streetlight that is to be used when calling in about a non-functioning streetlight? According to our community manager, it takes Allegheny power several weeks to get out here to fix these streetlight issues when she contacts them. Interestingly enough, I have never seen an Allegheny power employee fixing any of the lights that have had problems. Maybe Allegheny is avoiding the issue.

With respect to the "depressions" in the streets...has our community manager been made aware of any of these imperfections? That is the number one thing that needs to be done in order for anything to get fixed around here. Contact Valerie with any and all complaints that you have.

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Re: Budget Issues

Post by Tim on Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:54 pm

Homeowners remember that we need you to vote for the budget. If you agree with it then vote yes. However if you don't agree with it vote no. Also, a friendly reminder that there is no line item veto within the HOA or for the homeowners so if you disagree with any line item then you need to vote no.

Also we need as many people at the meeting on the 16th, so please try to attend.

Hope to see you there.

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Re: Budget Issues

Post by rad6216 on Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:42 pm

This budget looks pretty much like any other budget that has been proposed since I've lived here. I get the sneaking suspicion that whether the budget is ratified or not, the result will not be a roar but a yawn.

I find it unbelievable that anybody can truly find anything in this budget to get worked up about.

Personally, there is nothing I've read in the budget that could get me to walk to 5, let alone 500 houses.

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Re: Budget Issues

Post by pamat on Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:01 am

First of all the police work for the city of Charles Town. Last time I looked at my address it says Charles Town. That means that if there is a need they respond. That means that we are under their jurisdiction. I am against paying any alternate revenue to a police force that already responds when needed. What does a "presence" mean? Too vague to warrant a revenue stream. As far as road repairs, yes the proper people have already been notified. Several months have passed and so far no results. This issue of street repairs does not effect me personally, but the people who have to be careful backing out of their driveway so they don't bottom out have been pursuing this for a while. Last time I looked at the budget there was a category for street repairs. No I am not going to lose sleep over these issues but we should not just have the attitude that "Oh well our dues have not gone up".

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Re: Budget Issues

Post by rad6216 on Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:45 am

This post highlights the fact that you don't really understand the issue.
Hopefully you'll attend homeowner meetings and have the issue of why Charles Town Police will not respond in this community addressed.

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Re: Budget Issues

Post by Metina on Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:15 pm

At the end of the day the budget may or may not pass. The whole point of the flyers and this forum is to raise awareness in the community. This effort WILL NOT die after the budget issue is resolved because there are SO MANY things to get worked up about.

We believe that the HOA board should be a true representation of the community and make decisions to benefit the community. Currently you have 3 members on the board who insist on operating independently of the other two. The 3 have secret meetings without the other 2 and even make decisions to spend money with total disregard to their opinions and/or their required approval. The same 3 have years and years experience on the board and the ONLY significant change that has happened is speed bumps. We need a board to act for the community.

Not a board that has secret meetings with Jim Surkamp without the knowledge of all 5 members of the board. (read about Surkamp’s illegal voting antics [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] )
Not a board that refuses to demand that the community manager perform her job up to the standards of the published Statement of Work and then gives her a raise.
Not a board that chooses to spend community funds to express their personal opinions without the knowledge or approval of all 5 board members.
Not a board that throws useless line items in the budget without even considering ways to lower the dues.
Not a board that wants to hold some members to a “code of ethics” but then allows others to discuss board business with a shared email address with his wife.

You may choose to sit back and yawn, and continue to let your board meet with political officials with questionable voting ethics, spend your dues to express their personal opinions and continue to employ or at least refuse to demand a better work ethic from your community manager, but I will not.

SEE YOU AT THE MEETING!

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Re: Budget Issues

Post by Metina on Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:19 pm

Pamat,

PLEASE encourage those who are dealing with road issues to come to the meeting. We need to hold this board and the community manager accountable to their inaction.

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Re: Budget Issues

Post by Mrs. Secretary on Sat Nov 14, 2009 2:30 pm

pamat wrote:First of all the police work for the city of Charles Town. Last time I looked at my address it says Charles Town. That means that if there is a need they respond. That means that we are under their jurisdiction. I am against paying any alternate revenue to a police force that already responds when needed. What does a "presence" mean? Too vague to warrant a revenue stream. As far as road repairs, yes the proper people have already been notified. Several months have passed and so far no results. This issue of street repairs does not effect me personally, but the people who have to be careful backing out of their driveway so they don't bottom out have been pursuing this for a while. Last time I looked at the budget there was a category for street repairs. No I am not going to lose sleep over these issues but we should not just have the attitude that "Oh well our dues have not gone up".

We are not in Charles Town police jurisdiction. We ARE in the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department jurisdiction however. If you were to call 911, a sheriff's deputy would respond to your call, not a Charles Town cop (since we are out of city limits). There are only 25 sheriffs deputies on their force for the entire county (about 300 square miles!). Not all 25 are working at any given time. Typically there are only about 7 deputies out on the roads at all times during busy times. So, if you do that math on that one....well, you see where I am getting at. IF police presence happens in our community, it will be the Sheriffs Departments' off duty deputies patrolling. And I think you can figure out the amount of presence that will be seen with a nominal $3600. Diddle-le-squat!

As for the road repair issues....if it has been addressed to the community manager, then the problem should be getting fixed soon. We DO have the funds in our road reserves for repairs, it is just a matter of a Board of Directors' vote to have it fixed and by whom.

Does this mean that we will see you at the Budget meeting on Monday?

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Re: Budget Issues

Post by gloriat on Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:44 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.

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Re: Budget Issues

Post by pamat on Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:26 pm

When my alarm went off the Charles Town Police responded. If they did not have jurisdiction they would not have responded. Unless the jurisdictions has changed Charles Town police along with State police have jurisdiction over this "private community". So to pay an alternate fee to have them do their job is ludicrous and does not pass a common sense test. What more is there to understand. If some want a private police force that is a totally different issue. Dial 911 and see who responds. The police and the ambulance that came to my house were based in Charles Town. This has been the facts as I see them for 8 years. Why do we need a "presence". Where are the increased crime statistics that can be independently verified.

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