September 8, 2016 meeting attendees: Cindi & Charlie Bowman, Lori Bulla, Rodonda Cox, Felipe Dominguez, Sandy Ericksen, Wendy Gonzalez, Marilyn Harper, Trenton Kelley, AD Koen, Lori Perjak
The meeting began at 7:40pm. SEAL executive director Rodonda Cox reported first. She is only allowed to give board members a copy of the SEAL report, but the report is available for those who attend the open board meeting. She recommends that SEAL be added to your alarm system contacts and SEAL will come and visit the property if your alarm goes off. She states that HPD would charge to do this but SEAL does not. She recommends using the SEAL “Vacation Watch Form” which can be found at http://sealsecuritytexas.com/vacation-watch-form.php Rodonda reviewed the highlights of the printed report in detail. She reminded residents not to leave valuables in vehicles and to lock doors. She discourages residents from making a personal contact with suspicious persons but instead to report incidents to SEAL and allow them to handle. Marilyn reported that some SEAL officers have been mistakenly filing Candlelight Oaks SEAL reports on the Candlelight Oaks Village website and vice versa. She says it happened over a 3 week period. Rodonda will look into this. An email notification was provided to Brian H. of SEAL concerning this. Rodonda says the SEAL reports are provided to our neighborhood as soon as SEAL receives them. The reports are sent by their phone and filed as the SEAL officer goes off patrol. Rodonda says that it is absolutely ok to bring discrepancies to SEAL’s attention. She states that some HOA’s notice these mistakes and other HOA’s do not monitor their reporting. The Candlelight Oaks Village report only goes to the President of the HOA whereas our Candlelight Oaks report goes to the entire board which is one email address. Rodonda asked if there were any more questions and exited the meeting. AD offered that there is a link on the HPD website to read the beat reports for our area. The reporting is one or two months behind. Wendy will provide the link on the upcoming Acorn distribution. AD says that Marilyn summarizes the daily SEAL reports on social media. Marilyn offered to write up a description of how to use the HPD beat site to be provided and provide it to be published in the Acorn.
Wendy and the board welcomed new resident Felipe. Meeting minutes for August were approved. Wendy let us know there is no news with the President’s report.
Trenton provided a financial report of a balance of $155,930.48. Trenton will provide a budget draft and distribute to the board by email over the weekend. He questioned whether 2 or 3 people should get together to approve the budget or whether the board will approve via email. Charlie has discussed the HOA reserve balance. Since Candlelight Oaks is self managed, Trenton does not feel the reserve balance must be higher. He says if the board makes the reserve balance higher, then the budget must be cut. Charlie has been reading about the realtor’s view of sustainability of HOA’s. As expenses go up realtors view of the neighborhood is that the reserve should go up. Realtors recommend a reserve budget of 10%, but Charlie believes 5% is fine for Candlelight Oaks. The discussion came up again on the need to raise HOA dues. There is a need to raise the HOA dues to meet the increasing costs of inflation. Residents have asked for more services within the past 2 years than has been requested for over the past 5 years. Trenton has been able to collect more overdue HOA assessments which had helped the budget. If there were 100% HOA dues payment on time, there would not be an immediate need to raise annual dues for everyone. There is a clear financial need to raise the annual dues. The bi-laws state that there is an 80% approval needed from residents to raise HOA dues. It is difficult to get 80% participation from residents. Marilyn brought up her previous HOA fund raising for the neighborhood and that there are 4 different territories for Candlelight Oaks. Her past experience was that a team of people were needed with printed booklets showing everyone’s name and address and each resident’s home was approached in person with the information to receive a signature from residents in regard to raising the HOA dues. It was a several weeks process. Wendy questioned whether this is something we need to think about as board members or if it is actually needed now. Trenton requests a plan to do it and there is not currently a plan to move forward. He will analyze the trend over the past few years. The HOA dues have been $360/year for at least 9 years. The costs of maintaining the pool, mowing Tidwell and security have all continued to increase. These are the three major costs in the budget. The playground and pool maintenance costs have stayed somewhat the same as well as water, electricity and insurance have remained somewhat the same. There is no request from Lori B to raise the budget for pool maintenance costs which have remained about the same for the past 3 years. It is agreed that there is a general cost of living which has continued to increase. Lori B states there is a maintenance expense for the pool coming in 2017 or the next year for painting and resurfacing the bottom of the community pool. This would be an expense that would use up the budget reserve. Marilyn described a similar expensive pool expense that she was aware of. AD asked how much of a HOA increase would be required. Trenton suggested a 10% increase which would be $35. A rounded amount of $400/year is recommended. Then the question came up concerning those who already don’t pay the HOA dues and will they never pay anything toward their past due balances. Also those who are already delinquent in unpaid dues might stop paying toward the current unpaid balances altogether if the HOA dues are raised. There has been some improvement in payment of past due HOA dues and some balance paid due to homeowners selling or refinancing their homes. Letters of past due HOA dues will be sent again in October. Sometimes there are payments when the letters go out. The group of residents who never pay HOA dues continue to never pay HOA dues. Some residents try to pay on overdue HOA dues when the letters go out. There is a group of delinquent payments for more than 2 years. It is a smaller group than was discussed this past April. There is avoidance to turn people over to a collection agency because a lawyer will treat them badly. The list of overdue residents will be pulled again for review. The list will be ready right away. Trenton asked for help when it is time to fill envelopes and mail the past due notices. Sandy offered to help review the budget with Trenton. The board wants the budget to go in the Acorn before elections. Charlie is helping with treasury as well. He is helping with long range and co-chair of treasury. There are no volunteers for treasury at this time, but the board is seeking a volunteer.
No report on deed restrictions. There is discussion of reassigning the position due to Nathan’s being unavailable to volunteer more time. Deed restrictions is drive by’s and sending out letters along with taking pictures. Lori P volunteered to help with a group drive by and sending out deed restriction letters. There is a form letter that will be used. Marilyn has sent digital copies of bi-laws to Wendy. Wendy transcribed some of the old deed restrictions and placed them on the Candlelight Oaks website. Marilyn may have some old deed restriction letters to help as a template toward following the bi-laws.
Landscape – Sandy stated the tree was trimmed in the Bayou Vista cul-de-sac. Lori B states that the trees over the pool probably need to be trimmed in the near future. The palm trees would look nicer if they were trimmed. There is a tree in the pool area that appears diseased. It doesn’t appear that some of the trees can be trimmed without the limbs falling into the pool. The work might be done before Oaks Fest.
Sandy states records are being stored.
Social – Lori B reports the success of the Labor Day party at the pool. With a rainy start to the day, there were approximately 30 residents who enjoyed the party and all of the fried chicken was eaten. The next social event is the Oaks Fest event.
Wendy requests any news information that needs to be reported in the Acorn. There is a due date of Tuesday. Wendy will seek volunteers to help distribute the Acorn on the South side of Tidwell. Sandy has been taking care of distribution on the North side of Tidwell.
Long-range planning – The board has discussed the lighting improvement at the pool/playground area. The playground has 3 missing pickets. It is believed that the pickets are being vandalized. A request for metal pickets was made. For lighting, it has been recommended that a new pole be put up. The restroom electrical location will not provide enough lighting to the back of the pool area. Another consideration before placing a new light pole is how it will affect the nearby homes and their privacy. The strength of the lighting is being considered. Both AD and Lori P have interim terms coming to an end on the board, but each says they would like to continue running for another term. Lori B says a special edition within the Acorn should be made to include the voting ballots being provided at Oaks Fest. Remember you don’t have to be a board member to assist in area of your interest for the neighborhood and you won’t be on your own handling it. Please come forward to assist. Sandy is running for another term. Nathan will not be running again.
The meeting adjourned at 8:32pm.