It's been almost one year since I became President of our HOA, and I recognized fairly early that there were going to be two ways to have the community utilize our singular most expensive asset, the Clubhouse.
Provide events and entertainment, clubs and groups that would bring you all in your droves to our neighborhood happy place. -OR-
Make decisions that some might find contentious and drive you to meetings wielding your torches and pitchforks.
To satisfy the first, we removed furnishings, pictures and plastic flowers that were making the clubhouse appear dated. I added (as a personal gift) a bluetooth amplifier and connected it to existing speakers and we have cleared trash out of cupboards and closets so that the clubhouse can take on a new lease of life. All low cost modernization efforts. There's still more to come, but we are respectful of the budget.
We transformed the website from being a static online document store to a dynamic and useful tool for our community. We added an events calendar, bi-directional feedback, online payments for pool fobs, clubs and groups, an FAQ section, a forum to discuss any topics, searchable deed restrictions and by-laws and contact information for Board members and a host of useful information and links to our broader environment.
We brought a social committee to life to help arrange and organize a full calendar of events and we have gone to great lengths to promote the activities on all popular digital channels. In fact, everything short of going door to door or leafletting your homes.
I still maintain a vision of a thriving clubhouse, packed with friendly neighbors, greeting old and making new, friends. A place that is always open and welcoming and a huge value add for both your free time and the value of our properties. In essence, to make it so appealing, so desirable that this is the neighborhood that people wish to live in and would pay a premium to do so.
For the second, we have spent this last year, righting the ship, getting familiar with our new positions, understanding the roles we occupy and getting to grips with striking the balance between living our lives and serving the community. We have made no contentious decisions or bought forth contentious motions.
We have mostly maintained the status quo: We have clarified things that were ambiguous or unclear, we have conducted day to day and month to month business as usual and, besides some much needed and overdue landscaping at our entrance, we have not rocked the boat.
As a Board, as a singular unit, we have worked together for a year. We know our roles, what the job entails and how to work with one another and with Sentry. We have learned from one another and from prior Board members and active neighbors. We know what to expect of one another. We are now confident and knowledgeable with the day to day operations of our neighborhood.
That covers the daily, weekly and monthly ongoing operations of our Board, but things are changing around us. The world is modernizing, our demographic in the neighborhood has changed, people's availability is different (age, income, ethnicity, religion, income and more have all changed), the area is growing up around us. If we are to serve you appropriately, we will need to make changes, to modernize, to update and to adapt.
This year I will be encouraging the Board (and volunteers, possibly you?) to:
Modernize, disambiguate and clarify our Deed Restrictions
Modernize and update our By-Laws
Produce and maintain a usable, current and trusted Policy Reference Manual
Set aside budget or look into one-time assessments for long term planning purposes
Update, simplify and shorten our violation-fining-foreclosure process, making it more rapidly enforceable
Overhaul our current reserves process
Introduce minimum acceptable homebuyer standards
Introduce stiffer penalties for repeat violators and slow payers
Make this the most 'attractive to purchase in' neighborhood in a 10 mile radius, to those with money.
There are likely some contentious items coming out of this list. Some that will affect you directly or indirectly. If you didn't think you cared about what your Board does, this year you should.
For the educated and aware amongst you, yes, there are items on that list that will absolutely require a neighborhood vote and not just the machinations of the Board members. I'm aware and we will be thoroughly prepared when the time comes.
I look forward to seeing you all at the upcoming events and discussing any of these or other items with you. I'm equally excited to see new faces at the regular Board meetings (next one is March 1st at 6.30pm) that's TONIGHT, and most especially the Annual Meeting (March 29th at 6.30pm), where I hope to meet prospective Board candidates and other keen volunteers.
Thanks for reading.